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.