Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Mind and Heart of Patriot Ahn

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Ahn Jung-geun's assassination of the first Japanese resident-general of Korea, Hirobumi Ito, on Oct. 26, 1909, in China.There is an exhibition in Seoul commemorating the 100th anniversary of Korean patriot Ahn's death.

The works of calligraphy patriot Ahn has left us have been collected and are being exhibited. They show the spirit and the spirituality of a man who loved his country and his God. This is reflected in the topics that he selected for his calligraphy and show why he did what he did. I will list below the English translations of a few that are being exhibited. The first one listed is the translation of the calligraphy on the left.

If I do not read every day I will have thorns in my mouth

If poor not to flatter, if rich not to be proud

A mature person even facing death his heart will be strong as iron, a just person in danger will have the strength of clouds.

One has nothing to discuss with a person who is embarrassed about the rough cloths he wears and the poor food he eats,

Loneliness comes from pride

Be a person of much reading and control the body with proper conduct

Without vision it will be difficult to do great things.

It is the duty of a soldier to give his life for his country

Do not pass your time idly your youthful years will not return

Love yourself like a precious jewel

Be concerned and anxious about the nation and its security

The joy of heaven is forever

The flowers of the field stay the same every year but we change

We have peace in the home with the practice of continual patience

Having all the money in the world is not worth having one disciple

If we do not accept what heaven is giving us we will be open to misfortunes

The ideas contained in the above sayings are part of the wisdom of the East which became part of Ahn's Catholicism. God speaks to us in many different ways and many cultures. "...the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason." (Catechism of Catholic Church #36) Confucianism was a great preparation for Catholicism in Korea.

The translation of the above are free translations of the writings; translators often can be considered traitors to the intention of the writers but hopefully these do not deviate that much.


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