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Jose Rizal as a Mason

Rizal's prime encounter with Freemasonry occurred when he was in Spain, where he made the acquaintance of some liberal and republican Spaniards who were mostly Masons.  He admired the way these Masons scrutinized and criticized the methods of the government and criticized the haughty friars, a freedom which could not be practiced in the Philippines.  Eventually, in 1883, Rizal joined the Masonic lodge in Madrid which was called Acacia.  His central motive in joining the society was to secure the aid of the Freemasons in his battle against the abusive friars in the Philippines.  Since the friars used the might of Catholicism to oppress and persecute the country's patriots, Rizal intended to fight them with Freemasonry.

On November 15, 1890, Rizal became a Master Mason in Lodge Solidaridad in Madrid.  Two years later he was awarded Master Mason in Paris by Le Grand Orient de France.

Some of his comrades including Graciano Lopez Jaena, Mariano Ponce, and Marcelo H. del Pilar, were also active Masons.  Rizal, on the other hand, was more placid.  His only Masonic writing was entitled "Science, Virtue and Labor," which he delivered in 1889.

A portion of this lecture reads:

The duty of modern man, to my way of thinking, is to work for the redemption of humanity, because once man is dignified there would be less unfortunate and more happy men that is possible in this life.  Humanity cannot be redeemed so long as there are oppressed peoples, so long as there are some men who live on the tears of many, so long as there are emasculated minds and blinded eyes that enable others to live like sultans who alone may enjoy beauty.  Humanity cannot be redeemed while reason is not free, while faith would want to impose itself on facts, while whims are laws, and while there are nations who subjugate others.  For humanity to be able to attain the lofty destiny toward which God guides it, it is necessary that within its fold there should be no dissensions nor tyranny, that plagues do not decimate it and no groans and curses be heard in its march. It is necessary that its triumphant career march to the tune of the hymns of glory and liberty with a bright face and serene forehead.

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