Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MY SON, MY BROTHER

Compared to his two siblings, Ian is the least exposed to the ways of the Masonic Fraternity. His sister, after all, joined the Job’s Daughters during her teens while his youngest brother fully exhausted seven years of his life in the DeMolay movement until the time he became a Senior DeMolay.

But it was understandable; he was already in his second year at Los Banos when his Dad joined the Craft and to confound matters, he got himself employed, got married and thereafter established residence in his adopted place. Except for some fleeting moments, like attending his father’s installation as Worshipful Master of his mother lodge in 1995 and acting as surrogate brother to the fraternal brod of his kid brother, Ivan, when the DeMolays tangled with a college fraternity, his link with the organization the aging puma has embraced was indeed rare. Suffice it to say that it came as a mild shock to the rest of the family when he said in late 2005 that he wants to knock at the Craft’s proverbial door timing his entry at the time he will reach the age of thirty five.

The aging lion was of course silently pleased at learning of his son’s decision but nonetheless was guarded in his reactions. The only question that he posed was: “Have you discussed this with your wife, Vicky?” and got a nod in reply. It turned out it was her employer at the farm where she works as an animal nutritionist that prodded her to allow her husband to follow the footsteps of his Dad because her boss is a mason in good standing at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 and it was from the latter that she consciously noticed the sterling qualities of a member of the Craft.

But knocking at the proverbial door was not easy. The cub’s first obstacle was that he was informed it will cost him some twenty grand to join and admittedly the sum was not peanuts. Another difficult problem to hurdle was that the lodge was forty two kilometers away from their residence and therefore will entail considerable travel time to attend meetings.

The prospects of knocking at the door of other lodges were considered. Nearby stood two other lodges, namely Makiling Lodge No. 77 and Pinagsabitan Lodge No. 26 in neighboring Sta. Cruz, but he knew of no one in these two lodges. He also contemplated submitting his petition form in any of the lodges at the Capitol Masonic Temple where his Dad once used to roam, but the distance was even more problematic than what it would entail him should he decide to join any of the lodges in Laguna. He also broached the idea of joining Jacques DeMolay 305 because he has an acquaintance there, but the same problem on travel time exists. Not only that, its stated meeting was on a Friday at six P.M. and reasonably, getting home after each meeting would pose a problem.

His big break came in January 2007 when he excitedly called his Dad long distance in Bohol saying he has already submitted his duly-accomplished petition form at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 and was asking what to do next. He received a reply saying: “Well, all you do is wait until your name is circularized by the Grand Lodge in what is called as “Circular No. 12. What he did not know was that his Dad emailed Elo at the GL office and learned that the his petition for membership was already circulated to the brethren by the end of the month of January.

Still a petitioner, his sponsor gradually exposed him and his wife to the public ceremonies of the Fraternity. They were invited to the installation ceremonies of Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181, Pinagsabitan Lodge No. 26 Malinao Lodge No. 25 and Makiling Lodge No. 77, and attended all of them.

Sierra Madre’s March stated meeting saw him and two other petitioners eagerly awaiting being balloted and at closing time were informed that the results were favorable. This made him send a text message to his Dad saying: “Tay, yelocrap na ako”. His Dad, feigning ignorance shot back: “Just what is that supposed to mean?” and received the epic reply: “yelocrap, the one who distributes ice during the fellowship!”

The three petitioners were initiated on March 30 and the lodge forthwith made plans for their second-degree passing and the third degree raising to the sublime degree. April 14 was tentatively set for the second-degree conferral while the third degree was set for the month of May.

Meanwhile the aging cat formulated plans of his own. He and the lion tamer were already scheduled to visit the kids at the metropolis and it would be a nice idea if he can request that he be the Conferral Master of the third degree, portraying the role of King Solomon, and thus symbolically raise his son to the sublime degree. That idea would indeed, be nice.

But like many dreams, there are some that regretfully vanish in the air, with the amputation of his right leg reducing that dream to wishful thinking. For how could one execute the strong grip of the lion’s paw and the five points of fellowship when the limping and aging lion could not even arise from bed with but one leg to stand on?!

And snags stood in the way. The “passing” was consummated only on May 19 while the “raising” was done on June 16. These two events were partially witnessed by the aging lion although he chose to be outside of the lodge while the second section of the third degree conferral was going on. Once the smoke has vanished he noted that compared with the two others, the cub was roasted “well done” that even showed visible signs of burnt residues on his breast while the two were only broiled medium rare. Which made the aging lion quip: “Well, like the sides of a coin, there are two sides of looking at a given experience, it either turns you into a ferocious lion to get even, or become a judicious sphinx because you believe that the manhandling was despicably wrong. Looking back, it appeared some lodge members did not look with favor his reply on the query why he wanted to join the Craft that “he wanted to follow the Masonic footsteps of his Dad” a dream many old timers wish but never could realize.

As a memento of his joining the Craft, the aging lion gave him the golden ring that he has proudly worn the past eighteen years saying:

“I have worn that ring proudly the past eighteen years and have always reminded me of three things, the Square, the extended Compasses and the letter G at the middle... May it also always remind you that the Square is an emblem of Truth and Morality, that the extended Compasses remind you to circumscribe your desires, and that the letter G means that the GAOTU watches over your actions”.

Monday, August 13, 2007

BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH- A personal experience

Short talk delivered to Laong Laan Lodge No. 185 on June 2, 2007

You have listened to the Entered Apprentice degree lecture earlier this afternoon where the three principal tenets Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, three of Masonry’s greatest teachings, were taught. So simply worded, easily understood, yet oftentimes difficult to internalize and apply in our daily lives. Curiously however, without these tenets, this aging lion would not be alive today. So let me tell you this story.

For a start, allow me to apologize for my inability to strictly comply with the rules on proper attire. It is true I am impeccably dressed in white barong and matching black pants but I am not properly shod. Instead, I am wearing a sandal same as what Boaz must have worn in ancient times. Also, my right leg is missing from the knee down. Which reminds me of the answer that I gave to the question “What happened to your right foot?” that was asked by a brother last Saturday, May 26, on the occasion of the passing of our eldest son at Sierra Madre Lodge No. 181 to which I replied: “I accidentally entered a first degree conferral and inadvertently advanced my right foot first instead of my left as required!”

But seriously, the loss of my shoe is not without reason. In the ensuing confusion when we boarded the plane bound for Manila last April 11, I inadvertently left it at home at our den in Guindulman, Bohol. I was then already seriously ill such that when we saw Kuya Billy at St. Luke’s Hospital the next day, he said, “Kuya Jun, we need to amputate your right leg soonest possible. Gangrene has already seriously affected it and any delay and can easily cause your death!”

But before he can do that, a number of medical tests were needed. There was the CBC, to the Echo, Doffler, fasting blood sugar and many others. And the combined cost of these preparatory tests already exceeded P10,000 and soon drained our pockets.When the tests were over my niece who was an expert Endocrinologist and Diabetes specialist estimated that the total cost of the amputation will be in the vicinity of about P300,000. Whew!.

Naturally, it worried me greatly. Where will we get that money? I reckon, wrestling with the Grim Reaper may even prove a more viable alternative! As a result, I even considered having the amputation done in Cebu under Dr. Felix Vicuna, Jr. who said over the phone that the under the circumstances, it will only cost us some P50,000 as a charity patient! But the danger of my soul separating from the body because of the thin atmosphere while the plane is airborne was ominous. My weak heart and lungs may not withstand the rigors of air travel even the trip from Tagbilaran to Manila that was done previously was considered a wonder I escaped death unscathed.

I therefore reluctantly agreed to have my leg amputated at St. Luke’s with Doc Billy orchestrating the event and so checked-in at the hospital on Monday, April 16. But the amputation was done only on Thursday evening as the cardiologist was adamant in giving her go-signal because my lungs were full of water any miscue could trigger my weak heart to collapse. To lessen the risk, the anesthesiologist arranged that the operation be conducted while I was in sitting position so that I don’t drown while Doc Billy was ceremoniously separating my right leg from the rest of my body.

I was then returned to my room the next day, Friday, but no more than twelve hours later, was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit or ICU gasping for precious breath. Doc Billy and the cardiologist were giving medical instructions to the point, the life of the aging lion was at stake. Doc Billy even overruled the form signed by the lion tamer that the various attachments usually attached to patients during extreme emergencies and thus precluded the Grim Reaper from claiming the old cat for his prize.

And wonder of wonders, I stayed at the ICU for no more than a day which made the attending male nurse quip: “You are an exceptional patient. In my stay here at the hospital, I have not seen a patient get out of this room in less than twenty four hours alive! Bad grass, one might say, but I was given another chance to stay alive.


To sum it all up, the amputation was performed on Thursday, April 19, and exactly a week later the patient was discharged from the hospital The lion tamer who was accompanied by her daughter settled the bills but would not her pet to even have a look. He will surely wonder how the heck they managed to foot their bills to pay the foot that Doc Billy amputated!

This incident is being narrated because clearly, “brotherly love and relief” are divine attributes that motivated Kuya Billy to render his services for free and also goaded him to organize the medical team and thus enabled him to perform the amputation. In addition, he cajoled the brethren to take notice of the aging lion’s dire need for financial help by posting via the Internet my miserable plight, and in addition also sent text messages to brethren who knew me.

In so doing a good number answered the call, among them, WBs Benjie de los Santos, Bong Fajardo, Ka Albert, our Worshipful Master who was accompanied by Bro. Danny Gutierrez and VW John Teng. From out of the lodge those who responded include VW Pong Lustre who was accompanied by Sis. Del and their triplets, VW Nanding Pascua accompanied by Sis Shiela, the four Gabionza ladies of Quezon City Lodge No. 122, two of whom were accompanied by their respective hubbies VWs Jerome and Joe, VW Alex Fabian who hand-carried the contribution of Quezon City Bodies and VW Mike Maraan who gave the contribution of Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169. and VW Rommel Corra.l. In all, their financial assistance totaled no less than P50, 000.

For her part the lion tamer called up relatives and friends and from the family of the late Bro. Eduardo Palac (he is the subject of a previous article titled “Requiem for a Departing Brother) accumulated about P170,000 cash. The children of the nonagenarian Bro. Antonio Maputol, her cousins, also sent P50,000. So did the aging lion’s youngest sister who also sent through the wire an equal amount. And many other relatives and friends who contributed in varying sums.

These are not all, even those who were unable to send money sent in word that they do care. The families of fishermen at our backyard and our neighbors called saying they hope for the aging lion’s early recovery.

But while the love and concern of those who helped clearly demonstrated the sterling values of both brotherly love and relief, the third tenet called “truth” at first glance, seems unconnected. On critical analysis however, truth was found to have buried itself in another virtue called “Charity” for in the second degree parambulation that was copied verbatim in the Book of Corinthians where it wisely said:

“Charity suffereth long and is kind
charity envieth not
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own
doth not rejoice in inequity but rejoiceth in the TRUTH.

I guess this is how this short talk should now end. These three principal tenets are intertwined, after all.

Thank you for your attention!

(Note: This article was originally delivered in Taglish but was rehashed to conform to standard English presentation.)

Friday, March 02, 2007

LIFE, DEATH, THE SOUL AND THE BODY

Death be not proud though you ultimately will succeed in separating the soul from its body,
But let it not be on piecemeal basis,
Like the throat being torn out of its roots and buried in the rough sands of the seas.
Or the heart given as prey to the beasts of the fields or the vultures of the air,
Or more especially its bowels taken thence and burned to ashes and the ashes cast to the four winds of heavens that no more remembrance may be had among men or Masons forever.

So let the soul soar up to the heavens, there to receive judgment for its deeds while in the body.

But let the decomposed particles merge the earth from whence it came, pulverized like dust to dust, earth to earth, or ashes to ashes, there to serve another soul and repeated into innumerable cycles till time shall be no more.

So in what manner shall decomposition be?
Will it follow that of Hiram Abif whose body was laid to rest three times, first in the rubbish of the Temple by the ruffians, next at the brow of a hill of Mount Moriah by the same, and lastly at the Sanctus Sancturum or the Holy of Holies where a marble monument, etcetera, etcetera, was said to immortalize his name?

Or would it undergo the process of cremation like the Indians, both of the near East and those of the Americans, who dutifully perform to the bodies of their departed as they soar upwards to that place they have not gone before?

Or simply be contained in a coffin and thereafter placed in a tomb to rot, but how the dust will recombine with the rest of the earth is a puzzle this chronicler is hard put to analyze and solve!



Note: Serious adherents of the Craft will realize that the above composition is neither novel nor new and is sent via the Internet by the aging lion for lack of anything to do.

Comments are welcome. The writer also will appreciate if you can pass this to other readers.

Monday, February 26, 2007

REQUIEM FOR A DEPARTING BROTHER

REQUIEM FOR A DEPARTING BROTHER


It was, no doubt, the most unforgettable wake and burial the town of Guindulman ever witnessed. But let the aging lion narrate the events that transpired from the start..

Last Sunday, February 18, the lioness arose early at four in the morning and after applying mascara on her face and donning on her Sunday wear, left for the church but not after saying she will be home late in the afternoon as she, Baby and Arlene Palac, the last-named of whom just arrived from the States, are bound for Tagbilaran to do some grocery shopping. They will also be accompanied by Manny, Arlene’s husband and therefore may return home late as ladies’ talk will surely occupy their time. The aging lion can only meekly nod his head.

By seven, however, she was back teary-eyed, saying Tio Dadong Palac has just died and that while they will still proceed to Tagbilaran, it will be for another purpose- they will attend to all matters that will prepare the old man’s wake and burial after the four other daughters of the deceased and their respective husbands would have arrived from the States. Again, her aging pet could but nod his salt-and-peppery head.

Wires burned. Calling the four sisters overseas, they were informed they can only return home Thursday evening at the latest as Monday was President’s day at the other side of the hemisphere. It was fortunate Tante has a friend who owned a travel bureau and so the needed tickets were secured without difficulty. The two sisters and the lion tamer for their part, attended to the needs of the wake that will last the whole week that will culminate at two in the afternoon of Saturday.

Knowing that the deceased was a Mason, the lion tamer asked her pet what the aging lion’s plans are for the old man and received a curt one-word reply: “Nothing!” When asked why, he simply said “Unless of course the spokesperson of the family manifests that a Masonic Last Rite should be performed in this deeply parochial community as holding one would surely stir the hornet’s nest. “And what about the brethren of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84?” she barked back, and received this reply: “The old man’s death was already announced via the Internet and three lodge officers were furnished copies. As the three are second or third generation Masons of the lodge, that data sent via the Internet should suffice, and should there be no reaction on their part, then the death of the old man should be as good as the passing of the wind.

Relatives, friends and town-mates trove to the town’s most beautiful and definitely imposing house especially during the evening when the traditional prayers for the dead are regularly held. When one asked whether gambling should be held especially during the night as is the custom during wakes, the sisters curtly said no as the percentage of the pot (in local parlance, tong) is not needed. An announcement that flower offerings be omitted and in its stead money intended be given as donation for the ongoing church improvement be made instead But a few still could not help it, they wanted their names seen beside the coffin and ignored the announcement and sent in their condolences through wreaths of flowers anyway.

The folks from the States arrived Thursday evening with Tante, the eldest son-in-law, leading the pack in two sleek vans from Tagbilaran. Tante for his part, narrated their 36 hour arduous trip home but not after saying he again brought with him two books titled “The Gnostic Gospels” and “Inside Secret Societies”, the former with an eye-catching phrase that says The Complete Idiot’s Guide to, and the latter with the mystic skull and crossbones drawn inside a triangle that can easily mislead Freemasons that the book is about the Masonic Fraternity.


Then Saturday came. The well-attended mass at the at the church was held at one o’clock in the afternoon with the town’s parish priest officiating and with three other priests playing supporting roles as singers (The grapevine says the former was given P10,000 for his stipend and the three priests P500 each for their efforts.). During the homily, the priest extolled the virtues of the old man’s family and mentioned the valuable assistance that the family did in renovating the church (the roof, the attic, and now the sacristy) the last-mentioned of which is still ongoing. Four melodious, albeit sentimental songs were sang by the three men of the cloth before the coffin was brought to the funeral car to the cemetery and was followed by a motor caravan that saw for the first time the largest number of vehicles that trooped to the town’s cemetery atop the hill in living memory.

The final burial rites were likewise as imposing. The old man, being a war veteran during World War II with the rank of captain, was accorded the 21 gun salute and more than a hundred white balloons were let loose in the mid-afternoon air when the coffin was placed inside the tomb as if as if to signify that these balloons are to accompany the soul as it soars up the heavens. The family also saw to it that the accompanying mourners are well-cared for what with the abundant supply of sandwiches and tetra packed soft drinks that were distributed to quench their hunger and thirst.

For his part, the aging lion can just silently watch the entire proceedings at the sidelines. Never mind if he was unable to find a sprig of acacia to place atop the coffin, and never mind if no Last Rite was held; he fully knew that although in the end no one extolled his Masonic virtues during his wake and burial, he well knew that deep inside he was a good man the Craft has made better!

Note: This article is the final sequel to the article “Qoheleth at the Edge of the Earth!” Reactions from readers are welcome!

Friday, January 26, 2007

REPLY TO A 2007 ANCOM INVITATION

Brethren:

Here is a reply to an invitation to join the 2007 ANCOM worth reading, but to achieve anonymity of the one who made it, his email was deleted and so was his name on the salutary portion of the lion’s email.
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Dear Brother:

That makes you the fourth brother who openly declared (all three are also out of the country and are timing the ANCOM for their homecoming) they hope to see the aging lion at the 2007 ANCOM and have extended similar invitations.

Curiously, those who wish the aging lion set forth his two feet in Luzon are not limited to brethren, his niece to whom he acted as a godfather thirty five years ago is getting married in May wish he play the same role as godfather during her wedding, his daughter is again sojourning to Japan in April and has already convinced her mother to serve as amah for her grandchildren and therefore wished the old cat tags along, to no avail. All things considered the pros of staying still outweigh the cons of leaving, and there’s no need to enumerate the reasons, it may just confuse the issue further.

But who knows? His eldest cub has just submitted his petition form to join one of our lodges in Laguna and if the date of his joining (whether initiation, passing or raising) coincides with the date of the ANCOM and other gatherings, then the balance may just tilt in favor of going. So far as the present is concerned, he has already instructed the lion tamer to take along with her the symbolic ring that he has proudly worn the past seventeen years and give it to their son, not on the time the aging lion is dead but on the occasion the first of his two sons joins the Fraternity. Using the local parlance “kung di ko man siya mabugbog sa bahay, baka pwede sa lohiya!”

In so far as the present is concerned however, fraternizing with the brethren through this 17 inch square contraption called “monitor” is as acceptable as watching the sun sets daily in the west unmindful of the drudgeries of life as the earth rotates upon its own axis from day to day.

But thanks for you very kind invitation.

With my kindest fraternal regards.

Leon

THE PRUNED MAILNG LIST

Brethren:

It would not be right if the results of pruning the mailing list is not explained. And so here it is. Incidentally, this will also be the first email on the new mailing list.

Of the eighty two (82) email addresses in the original list, thirty three (33) signified their desire to continue receiving the lion’s articles; this represent 40 percent of the total number. Not a bad score!

Of those who did not reply:

Five were rejected (through Mailer Daemon) by supposed recipients, indicating that they have already discontinued use of their email addresses. For what reason, only they knew.

Most of those who did not reply were carry over from those who were registered two years ago under the Glphils@yahoogroups.com and are not really familiar with the aging lion. No wonder!

A few were, in one way or another, acquainted with the cat but for some reasons failed to communicate. It can be that they are quite busy or have simply lost their interest to read. Should they desire to do so later, they can always submit their confirmation and their email addresses will be added to the list.

The recipients of this email now comprise the 33 respondents and members of laonglaanlodge185@ yahoogroups. com because Kuya Billy insisted that this group where the aging cat holds honorary membership is entitled to receive the articles that he distribute to the brethren. And how the heck can he decline? Without Kuya Billy the pink panther would now be limping but with his right foot no longer planted on the ground as must have already returned ahead of his body as organic fertilizer to the earth where it belongs...

To the magic thirty three (same as the age of Jesus Christ and the number of degrees in the Scottish Rite, eh?!) please accept my sincerest thanks for your perseverance to read and indulgence! Rest assured that the aim to amuse and to please will be his objective. And there will be no ifs nor buts about this!

You may also refer or forward these to friends you knew but they are required to send their desire to receive copies so that they can be registered. Forwarding, of course, is a perfectly good alternative, although the aging lion is not required to answer questions of unregistered senders.

With my kindest fraternal regards!

Leon

Saturday, January 13, 2007

THE ENIGMATIC SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

So you think you know St. John the Baptist! How about reading a short catechism on this mysterious patron saint, then?

I. SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AS MENTIONED IN THE FIRST DEGREE LECTURE.

“This circle is supported by two perpendicular parallel lines representing St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist and on its top rests the Holy Writings. In tracing its circumference, we necessarily touch upon the parallel lines and also upon the Holy Bible; and while a Mason keeps himself circumscribed, it is impossible that he can materially err.”

As the reader will note, the paragraph merely likened the two saints to two perpendicular parallel lines and presto, he can live the life of a Mason free from the temptations of the flesh!

II. JOHN THE BAPTIST AS TOLD IN THE HOLY BIBLE

In contrast, the life of St. John the Baptist is ably chronicled in all the four Gospels and if likened to a singing quartet, Luke provided the role of soloist who crooned most of the lyrics while Matthew and Mark offered the echoing refrain by singing the Baptist’s ministry at the river Jordan and the closing hymn that marked his gruesome death. John the Evangelist (also called John the Beloved), for his part, simply reverberated the fading refrain by citing a testimony for the Baptist and for Jesus proclaiming the latter as the Lamb of God, totally ignoring the baptism aspect that the three synoptic gospels succinctly heralded. Which is curiously mysterious because John’s Gospel is supposed to be a first-hand account or direct testimony of his namesake’s Baptist’s ministry. But let us leave that curious puzzle unresolved to enable the writer to expound the gist of his story.

So let’s try to assemble the supposed opera in one whole piece as chronicled in all the Four Gospels.

Luke foretold the birth of John the Baptist when archangel Gabriel announced to Zechariah that the latter’s wife, Elizabeth, will bear him a son and he should name him John. As both Zechariah and his wife were already advanced in years and with the wife already barren, the husband naturally doubted Gabriel’s angelic tidings, and because of this, Zechariah was made speechless until the time John was born and his name ready to be announced. Incidentally, Elizabeth is the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and in like manner Gabriel also announced to Mary the glad news that Jesus will also be born to her and should be named Immanuel.

John was next seen at the river Jordan proclaiming baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins as it was written by the prophet Isaiah. Clad in cloth made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist and subsisting in food consisting mainly of locust and honey, he would roundly castigate the Sadducees and the Pharisees who came to be baptized by him. Until later when Jesus, his cousin, came and was thereafter baptized and where John saw the spirit of God descending like a dove coming down upon Jesus of Nazareth.

The next scene narrated John being imprisoned by King Herod and there the former sent messengers to Jesus asking if the latter was already the one they are waiting for or whether they still have to wait for another deliverer. Jesus, in his typical answer of an indirect response simply said to report what the messengers have witnessed, that he “healed the sick and brought the dead back to life”, and the final scene being consummated when John’s head was presented to Salome on a silver platter and with the body later given to his disciples to be buried in a spot that was no longer narrated.

In fine therefore, the life of St. John the Baptist was narrated merely as a forerunner to the ministry of Jesus Christ and nothing more.

III.THE BAPTIST AS TOLD IN THE PAGES OF ALBERT PIKE’S “MORALS AND DOGMA”

Now, how many of the readers are aware that the immortal Albert Pike wrote in page 817 of his monumental book “Morals and Dogma” the following scathing words?

“The Johannites ascribed to St. John (the Baptist) the foundation of their secret church, and the Grand Pontiffs of the Sect assumed the title of Christos, Anointed or Consecrated and claimed to have succeeded one another from Saint John by an interrupted succession of pontifical powers.”

And another sentence on the same page that says:

“For Saint John himself was the Father of the Gnostics, and this current translation of this polemic against the heretical of this sect and the pagans who denied that Christ was the Word, is throughout the misrepresentation, or misunderstanding at least, of the whole spirit of the Evangel.”

And how come these teachings were not incorporated in Blue Masonry?

As Albert Pike later explained, the Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. The true explanations are reserved to the Adepts and Princes of Masonry. But let the reader (meaning you!) do some research of his own by browsing upon the book Morals and Dogma to understand what Albert Pike is hinting at.

In addition, here’s another intriguing thought ascribed to Albert Pike as shown on page 816 of the same book.

The secret thought of Hugues de Payens in founding his Order (meaning the Knights Templar)was not exactly to serve the ambitions of the Patriarchs of Constantinople. There existed at that period in the East a sect of Johannite Christians, who claimed to be the only true initiates in the true religion of the Saviour.
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IV. SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AS TOLD IN THE BOOK “TEMPLAR REVELATION”

If there is a book that can be considered as having dealt with the life of John the Baptist in considerable depth, the one written by Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince that was published in 1997 would be it. It not only eloquently portrayed in vivid form the Last Supper painting what Muslim traders describe playfully as “a drinking spree of Jesus Christ with his apostles” (in local lingo, ang inyong Ginoo na nakipaghubugan sa iyang mga barkada) but a real dinner that also included a woman which tradition thought was an all male gathering.. Leonardo Da Vinci, who was born in 1452, by the way, is listed as having assumed the post of Grand Master in 1510-19 of the Priory of Sion the acknowledged progenitor of the Knights Templar.

But The Last Supper was not his only artwork that he left for posterity to behold. He also painted Mona Lisa with the enigmatic smile, and also the other masterpieces that showed the young Jesus Christ and John the Baptist but with the latter apparently portraying a superior stance on canvas. Why the great Leonardo painted those themes contrary to traditional views (that the Last Supper is previously thought to be an all male scene, and the young Jesus that was portrayed looked more inferior in stature when compared with his cousin John) was not explained by Leonardo himself. But the authors of Templar Revelation offered several interesting hypothesis. The reader is therefore advised to buy the book and read Item 1- The Secret Code of Leonardo da Vinci to understand what this paragraph is all about.

And to spice the tale of Saint John the Baptist further, Sections 14 and 15 of the same book with sub-titles John Christ and Followers of the King of Light narrates the life of John.

Let this writer now summarize what these two sections are all about.

Chapter 14- John Christ

This section of the book in sum retells the life of John the Baptist basically as told in the Holy Bible. In addition it also narrated additional information made by the Josephus (the 1st century Jewish historian that was mentioned in the third degree monitor) that John already had a sizable following of his own when he was baptizing and preaching at the river Jordan and also explained lengthily John’s complex interaction with Herod Antipas that ultimately led to his death. In this section was coined the phrase “Johannite Christians.

Chapter 15- Followers of the King of Light.

In this chapter the authors narrate that sometime in the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries narrate that somewhere in the heartland of what is now Iraq, are found people who call themselves St. John Christians. Their religious rites centered on baptism and adhered to a unique form of Christianity in which St. John the Baptist is preeminent in their beliefs.

But the authors narrate that the use of the word “Christian” as modern day readers understand it is a misnomer because while it is claimed that they do venerate John the Baptist, in reality they cannot be called Christians at all for they regard Jesus as a false prophet and that their leaders are also called “Christos” the Greek translation of the word Messiah. They have their own sacred book which they call “Ginza”. They are called Mandeans, and in the Holy Koran as Sabeans Sometime in 1978 it is estimated that they count to about 15,000 but the ruthless campaign of Saddam Hussein to eradicate them virtually insured that they are wiped out from the face of the earth. How many are left now, nobody can tell.

Oral tradition says that they left their homeland and moved to the Euphrates sometime in 50 CE at the height of the Roman campaign against the Jews and the Palestinians that lived in Perea in the east and Aeonon in the north two places in Jordan from where St. John was active in his ministry. Coincidentally, these people also claim that oral tradition has it that their rituals that comprise of the breaking of the bread and the baptism of repentance was taught to them by their ancestors and that it came from ancient Egypt. This hypothesis could not however be verified but the 14th degree conferral of the Scottish Rite degree in the Philippine jurisdiction has a striking resemblance.

So let the book “Templar Revelation” tell you more about this enigmatic patron saint of our Fraternity! It will also tell you many more interesting data about the Knights Templar! But you’ll have to get hold of a copy first!

And as a hindsight, this writer can but wonder whether the mysterious life of John the Baptist has been thoroughly discussed by Freenasons in the other Grand Jurisdictions!

Sources:

The Craft’s Monitor
The Holy Bible
Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma
Templar Revelation
Holy Blood Holy Grail

Note:

The second jet pump that was the subject of the article “Water for the Rural Poor” was delivered by Darin Goertzen for installation at the site where it was intended. The third water facility that involved the installation of the connecting pipe from the reservoir was held in abeyance because the weather that has not abated since the aging lion and his tamer left for the big city last December.

Also, the clubfoot patient has temporarily returned home to allow Father time to heal the cemented portion of his legs and arms and will be back in about a month’s time.