Two weeks ago, when I received the letter from our Sovereign Grand Commander, Illus. Eugenio S. Labitoria, 33°, inviting me to be the guest speaker in today’s Fraternal Luncheon, my first reaction was to decline for reasons that I would be speaking before the members of our fraternity who belong to the cream of the crop of our organization.
When I asked some senior SGIGs, whether I should accept or not, they told me it had been the tradition that DGM is always invited to speak during Annual Session.
Then I came to conclude that this exercise might be a tradition but most likely it is part of the invitation before you could become the Grand Master of Masons.
Knowing the Ancom be in Cagayan de Oro, I had no choice but to accept.
Today, I stand before you, humbled by the distinct privilege as Guest Speaker on this historic occasion, the Supreme Council’s 59th Annual Session. And I am even more humbled to have been introduced by no less than an icon of our Fraternity and one of the most respected in the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, a Past Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines – my mentor and adviser, MW Illustrious Pablo C. Ko, Jr., the incumbent SGIG of the Orient of Cebu and Bohol. Thank you very much, Illustrious MW Sir, for that very generous introduction.
As I ponder upon the theme of this distinguished Masonic occasion, “Masonic Brotherhood: For Peace and Justice,” I have come to realize that indeed, Freemasonry has become the highly regarded global organization that it is today because of two factors:
Firstly, Freemasonry thrives in an environment of PEACE. A Mason is a Freethinker and he values his freedom to uphold his faith and belief. This, in turn, makes him tolerant and more accepting of the inclinations of others. And this climate of freedom and understanding makes for a peaceful and harmonious society.
Secondly, a Mason’s never-ending search for further light to become better is what sets him apart from the ordinary man. Where there is light, there s Truth; and where there is Truth, there you will find JUSTICE. Finding Truth and Justice in today’s world of dishonesty and corruption had become more in our communities, “Wealth is better than Truth” and “Power is more deliciously rewarding than Justice.” Such a distorted point of view must never be allowed to prevail. We Masons must bring it upon ourselves to become exemplars for others to follow.
Speaking of PEACE, I bring to mind a speech delivered by Fr. Pelagio Samson, a Catholic priest who became a Mason, during the Mindanao Masonic Convention held in Cagayan de Oro City about three years ago. I distinctly remember him proposing an idea to solve the conflict in Mindanao. He said that the problem of a peace negotiation between the Muslim rebels and the government is that both side do not trust each other. TRUST is such a fleeting commodity that every now and the, the talks would collapse. Bro. Samson wondered id such negotiations were done by Masons from both sides, doing the talking, then it would have gone more smoothly and be more successful. It was, of course, a wishful thinking, but the message was clear: People outside of Freemasonry have a high regard for Masons; that Masons are known to be bound by the strongest ties; and that TRUST among Masons is a sacred tenet that been religiously preserved and advocated.
My point is this: we Masons HAVE what takes to bring Peace to our land. But we must start by maintaining the Peace within and outside the Portals of our Temples; we can set the example by being more tolerant and more forgiving of the faults of others; by showing more humility and kindness; by believing that sometimes Silence is Golden.
How about JUSTICE? Website defines the word Justice as Fairness or Righteousness, looking at this definition it becomes clear to me that the real Mason must possess a sense of Justice, or Righteousness; otherwise, he becomes an ordinary mortal subject to the whims of life’s dark and ugly forces.
A Masons who is true to his Masonic obligations is evenhanded in his treatment of his brethren, no matter their status or social standing. More importantly, he is fair in his dealings with the ordinary citizens and is always cautious not to abuse his Masonic connections. How many of us violate traffic regulations with impunity because we know we can get away with it, with just a phone call from an influential Mason?
How many of us who work in the government look the other way because the violator is a Mason? We may have the best intention in extending our cable-tow to a distressed brother, but in so doing, we unconsciously tarnish our white apron with an undeserved stain. It is imperative, therefore, that we show to the world that ours is a “society of Friends and Brothers” who are upright and good men.
And this is the advocacy that the Scottish Rite Masons must undertake in these increasingly challenging times. As Masons who have progressed to higher degrees of enlightenment, upon our hands lies the task of strengthening the foundations of our beloved Fraternity. And the only way to do it is to be faithful to our Masonic tenets and principles and applying them to our lives. When we leave this world, we leave behind our footprints which we call LEGACY. More than just a memory, a legacy is an indelible impression. It is the mark we make in life that lives far longer than forty, fifty or eighty years. Legacy is as close we can get to immortality this side of eternity. Deep in the soul of every Mason is the desire to leave behind a good name.
A name that rings true. A name that makes people nod in affirmation. For him to be able to look into the eyes of his friends, wife and children, and to be able to see them looking back with respect, admiration, trust, loyalty – that is enough to make most of us hallucinate. That is a living legacy. And that is what every Mason longs for.
My brethren in the Scottish Rite, let us bring more PEACE and more JUSTICE into our beloved Fraternity by first letting them come to rest deep within our hearts and keeping them alive and burning. With Peace and Justice, we can transform into reality the visions of our forefathers, and to leave a lasting Legacy we all can be proud of; a Legacy that will pave the way for a greater and brighter future for our children.
Let us be more discerning and discriminating when we accept those who knock at our doors, to test their character and to listen to how their hearts speaks. Let us, at all times, keep in mind that our Brotherhood is much like a cup of hot water; a single coffee bean can change its color.
We must to preserve the image of the Mason in the highest and purest regard.
Together, we will endeavor to move forward and beyond the limits of what we can do. Let us not settle for mediocrity, but rather, we must walk the extra mile and aim for excellence. Together, we will reinforce and further strengthen the Principles and Masonic Teachings upon which our Brotherhood stands tall and proud. As our theme for 59th Annual Session of the Supreme Council states “Masonic Brotherhood: For Peace and Justice.” Only with peace and justice will we be able to transform into reality the visions of our forefathers, and to leave a lasting LEGACY that we all can be proud of; a Legacy that will pave the way for a greater and brighter future for our children, and our children’s children.
TOGETHER, BRETHREN, WE WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
May the Supreme Grand Master bless us all. Have a pleasant afternoon.
A Speech Delivered on March 14, 2009 during the 59th Annual Session of the Supreme Council
Masonic Brotherhood for Peace and Justice
By RW Peter U. Lim Lo Suy
Deputy Grand Master
Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of the Philippines