(Short talk delivered to the brethren of Laong Laan Lodge No. 185 on October 4, 2008
Worshipful Master Danny Gutierrez, VW Reuben Ganaden, other dignitarties in the East, brethren. First allow me to sit before I deliver this short speech this task that was assigned to me.
Immediately after the start of this stated meeting, our Worshipful Master called my attention requesting me to deliver a short talk on the topic “Obligations” for the benefit of the members and that I can do it after the balloting of a candidate to give me time to think of what I have to say to you.
Quite frankly, I can only nod my head for as we all know, the word of the master is law and that even if it was said in the guise of a request, it is still an order in itself and none but a stubborn brother would dare refuse this kind of assignment..
Which makes this limping cat wonder. What specific topic on obligation would the brethren probably like to hear? I figure it cannot refer to the obligations that are contained in the conferral of the three degrees because everybody has memorized these before they graduated to become master masons. And so I reckon that perhaps the topic that our Worshipful Master desired are the obligations that Freemasonry seeks to inculcate upon its votaries for as any discerning brother will realize “duties” and “obligations” are synonymous. Getting deeper into the matter therefore, I supposed that obligations that each and everyone of you may like to listen to pertain to the obligations that we owe to God, our neighbor and ourselves, especially those that apply to our daily lives, our families and those within our circles of activity. In short, it is those obligations that we owe to ourselves, our loved ones and those around us that we have to perform daily in the meantime we are still able to savor the breath of life.
And so here goes.
Two months ago at our adopted residence in Guindulman, Bohol, your sister and her ailing pet were figuring out how they will balance their budget. Their meager savings were already exhausted and the monthly pension of the aging cat can only buy eighty percent of the maintenance medicines of her ailing cat.. Good that the farm produce can support their subsistence, electrical and water bills but the deficit of his medical budget must be resolved one way or the other.
The lion tamer was understandably distraught. Having worked in a medical clinic, she knows the importance of sustained medical care, else the lack of it could be disastrous. She therefore suggested that we seek bailout from their three children in much the same way the flagging U. S. economy sought relief from the Bush Administration.. She surmised that surely, their three kids will undoubtedly be glad but the idea was vetoed by the aging cat right away. If he must live, he should manage to do it with determined resolve in the same manner he has always insisted that minimal help should be given him every time he moves around. He added that if doing it his way will not suffice, then it may well be his final trip to kingdom come. He also added that despite the difficulty, they should still consider themselves lucky for they are not part of the twenty million Filipinos who live way beyond the poverty line, are not living in the hinterlands playing a suspenseful cat and mouse game with the MILF renegades led by Kumanders Cato and Bravo in faraway Mindanao, nor have migrated to the famed land of milk and honey only to worry whether it is now high time to pack their bags and lead for home because of the recession that now plagues their countryside.
Which made the lion tamer sigh and at the same time shake her head. She knew that when her aging cat has already made up his mind especially when the issue pertains to his own health, then there is no way his decision can be changed.
Two months passed and it was time for his periodic checkup and gamely, he commented that he is still alive. The trip to the metropolis was two-pronged because their daughter sent them their plane ticket and their eldest son promised to meet them at the airport. It will also enable her to undergo her doctoral studies and expects to be back in a month automatically making her parents as “house dogs” or in local parlance, “taong bahay” meantime she is in the land of the Rising Sun. She must, the aging lion mused, complete her doctoral degree in Engineering for it is the most pressing obligation she owe herself and her family especially at this time when the JPEPA has already been ratified.
She is now there three days and at this very moment a transatlantic flight bound for Canada has just jetted off the NAIA runway with our youngest son on board that jetliner. He will be there for about ten days to attend a familiarization tour with the mother company of his employer. Our eldest has likewise just sent a text message saying that a 3rd degree conferral has been performed by his mother lodge and that he is now preparing to memorize the 2nd degree lecture called the 3, 5, 7 to prepare him for more important tasks in the Fraternity. All these tasks done by the three mind you are preparations to hone themselves for later duties and obligations either in the Craft or in their respective places of work..
But let’s get back to the aging lion’s decision to trim his medicines. What will happen next if he erred in omitting those that are more needed than what has been left behind?
But of course! VW “Pong” Lustre will just have to refresh himself in delivering the famous “Last Rites”.
(Note: At the time this is being written, Ivan has just returned from Canada narrating fond memories of his trip as a Mason including the upgrading of his seating arrangement from Economy to Business Class, courtesy of his fraternal brod, Ben Se of his mother lodge and the dinner at Toronto that was hosted by VW Johnny Chua and the other brethren residing there.. Our daughter, on the other hand is still two weeks away before she can head for home. By this email recipients are also requested to signify that they wish to continue receiving articles that the aging cat periodically sends via the Internet. Failure to do so will mean they are not interested and will therefore be automatically omitted from his mailing list.)