Masonry is an enigma. It attracts the best minds the world produce and yet its increase is hardly equal to what statisticians call “proportionate to population growth”. One can memorize the various definitions that can be found in books or gloss over the myriad of articles that can be found in the wonderful pages of the Internet and yet not feel the relevance of Masonry until he becomes one. Consider a very simple definition of Masonry as is shown below.
“Masonry is a fraternal organization that teaches moral and ethical values using symbolic builders’ tools to inculcate its lessons”. But how many of the reading public is able to understand what to a member is a simple definition?!
To confound matters, Masonry is a study of morality and social values that are best experienced rather than explained, a mode of instruction that the word “apprenticeship” (this will be explained further later) is eloquently put to play.
The following article, written by this writer’s youngest son, is herein presented to give the reader an idea how an “outsider” views the Masonic Fraternity. This in local parlance says “mag le’ le’ sa’ ta!” or in the Kings language means “let’s peer through a peephole!”
DAD. DA VINCI AND NICHOLAS CAGE
By: Ivan R. Galarosa
It was in 1989 when Dad came home one day. He called a family meeting. Mom’s eyes were already red from tears. Mom, my sister and myself were the only other persons in the house then and so the family meeting started easily. Dad begun by saying: “Children, I just lost my job. But let us not lose hope. Let’s just help each other so that we can return to our normal lives.”
Dad having said that, I suddenly lost my uneasiness. When Dad tells us not to worry, I don’t worry. I knew Dad is good at facing life’s adversities. So when he says everything will be okay, I believe him. Dad was jobless for a month but he did not just sit in the house watching opportunity pass him by. He approached many of his friends and relatives from whom he asked for help, neither to borrow nor beg for money, but to ask for a job.
I really believe in Dad! And it’s because it has never been his habit to borrow money. What he wants is earn it; just give him the opportunity.
At this time also, in addition to looking for a new job, he mentioned something that has occupied him. He said he will shortly join an organization that may change his life and probably ours as well. That was the time Dad became a Mason..
Dad finally got a job, but that was not what caught my attention. Simultaneous with his new job was his acceptance as a member in a nearby Masonic lodge.I thought, since Dad is already a Mason, would he still believe in God? Would we still go to church every Sunday? Well, it is because I’ve heard that Masons don’t believe in God.
I told myself “Dad is also a character, he lost his job and when he found another, he distanced himself from God”. Until finally, I could no longer contain myself and so asked him why he joined Masonry at that particular time.
“Dad, will we still go to church each Sunday?” I asked. He replied as if wanting to hit me at the back of my shoulders. “Ah, what a smart aleck you are. It is you who is too lazy to join us in going to church whenever I ask you!” he replied. “Well, will you still take your communion now that you have become a Mason?” I barked back. “And when did you ever see me take communion? I never took one, even before I became a Mason” was his instantaneous reply almost laughing. And so I finally blurted out and asked him pointblank: “Is it really true you no longer believe in God?”
“Son,” he said, if a Mason does not believe in God, has it ever occurred to you I won’t waste my time joining them?!” was his quizzical reply.But of course! If Dad’s objective was only to turn his back at God, why would he waste his time joining an organization and pay its exorbitant fees. He’ll just turn his back and cease going to church, period!! I did not ask him anymore.
I reckon Dad is really a character.. He immediately got a job and became a brother to Rizal, Bonifacio and Mabini, all in a period of only four months. Many years passed and he sort of made Masonry his career. He enthusiastically accepted various lodge positions and other tasks outside of it. And he even became a Masonic writer and historian. Terrific, huh!!
Just the other day, I watched a movie alone. I saw the movie titled “National Treasure” because they say it was about Masonry and the lost treasurers of the knights during the Middle Ages. I said to myself, what crazy ideas would the movie impart about Masonry? Would it impress upon the moviegoers (again) that Masons don’t believe in God?
In fairness, the movie did nothing of that sort.But I felt something different inside while I was watching the movie, the same feeling that I’ve felt when I read the books “The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.” I again felt the hairs of my skin stand meanwhile my mind was reeling from the question: “Is Masonry this influential it is now often the subject of literary works, be it on books or in movies?” One thing more, if Masonry has a secret that involves riches ( like the Holy Grail or the Lost Treasures of the Knights Templars) are they teaching these to all their members? Is there something Dad knows about these treasures that he must have stumbled upon in his researches?
In my view, the hidden treasures of the Masons, whether in the Philippines or in other countries, are far more valuable than those found by Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) in the movie. In my opinion having a broader mind, “religious tolerance”, love for peers (or neighbors), the never-ending search for truth and their strong faith in God, are the hidden treasures of Masonry.
These riches, I believe, are what they forcibly impress upon their people, only, "one has to display his worth to be able to show that he can handle the daunting task of keeping these 'treasures'". I think it is not material wealth but the spiritual and intellectual riches that they conceal. And why do I believe these are what they hide? Because these are the treasures that Dad has kept on passing to me as I grow up ever since he became a Mason in 1989. There never was a time when he has not inculcated upon me the value of these treasures, and I presume that Dad has already shown me the well-kept hidden cache of wealth that Masons are hiding from public view.
Someday, I may still find out whether my assumptions are true.