Cornelius Christian Berg, Professor at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in his speech entitled "On Rizal's Awareness of One World," succinctly observed : "It would be an exaggeration if I said that Rizal and the civilization which he so well represented are familiar to the Netherlands. However, there is a comparatively large group of people in my country who know and appreciate Rizal and his achievements. It is on their behalf, Mr. Chairman, and also for personal reasons that I congratulate the Government of the Philippines and the organizers of this Congress on the fact that they possess in the person of Rizal a national hero who combined the scientific spirit with sincere patriotism and awareness of a growing world community."
Rizal's genius transcends beyond the borders of his country. He was not bound to time and space. He belongs to the world. pastor Gottlob Weber, Pastor of Wilhemsfeld, Germany, (where Rizal wrote the concluding chapters of his Noli Me Tangere in the vicarage) holds that : "Above all, Rizal himself is the best representative of the "universutas literatum." Recently, Thomas L. U. Szenes said : "The Germans have a felicitous name for it - "Universalgenie," denoting an exceptional type of man who shows superior aptitude in whatever mental activity he chooses to pursue."
"In fact, Rizal was one of the best interpreters of the spirit of the 19th century... He was in an almost incomprehensible way congenial to the highest ideas and ideals of the 19th century, not only Germany but of the world - indeed a Universal Genius."
Of all the Masons in the Propaganda Movement, Bro. Rizal can easily pass as a Mason with international standing.
He joined Acacia Lodge No. 9 in Madrid under the Gran Oriente de España, the Grand Lodge that had prominent liberal membership like Spanish statesmen Prin Pi y Margall, Miguel Morayte, Praxedes, Manuel Ruiz Zorilla and Rafael Labra.
Rizal's Masonic name was Dimasalang. He was made a Master Mason at Lodge Solidaridad No. 53. In July 1885, he left for France and became a representative to Le Grand Orient du France in Paris.
Father Luis y Marti, S.J., in a sworn statement executed in Manresa, Spain, declared that Rizal was a fifth degree in the German Lodges.
Austin Craig believed that Dr. Rizal was an 18th degree Mason. This is confirmed by Rizal when he included in the cover of the Noli Me Tangere the symbol of the 18th degree which is the Cross and Rose. In Hong Kong, he attended stated memetings of Lodge St. John No. 618 under the Scottish Constitution. He signed the Tyler's register as member of Temple de L'Honneur at de Union (France).
Dr. Rizal was made Honorary Venerable Master of Nilad Lodge No. 144 (now no. 12), of which your humble author is an honorary member.
Masons all over the world believed in the Brotherhood of Men under the Fatherhood of God. It represents all religions. Frank C. Laubach, American biographer on Rizal said in part in his speech "On Rizal's Dream of the Brotherhood of Men" - "Other men are soon forgotten after they die, but Jose Rizal is greater in the eyes of the Philippines and the world than when he died sixty-five years ago (December 16, 1896). And a thousand years from now his name will be among the immortals whose memories never die. And if someday this human race rises above nationalism and achieves the brotherhood of man they will say that Jose Rizal was dreaming of that a thousand years before."
Dr. Rizal, at eight years old wrote : "Sa Aking Mga Kababata" (To May Fellow Children). Let me quote paragraph three :
"Whoever knows not now to love his native tongue
Is worse than a beast or evil smelling fish,
To make our language richer ought to be our wish
This same as any mother loves to feed her young."
This portion of Rizal's poem is often quoted by so-called nationalists, omitting the succeeding paragraph which states :
"Tagalog and Latin are the same
And English and Castillan and the angel's tongue;
And God, whose watchful care o'er all is flung,
Has given us His blessings on speech we claim."
It is important to get acquainted with the language of our people. Equally important is learning the lingua franca of the times. Dr. Rizal at 20 years old had a reading knowledge of 22 languages. Learning only the language of our country is confining ourselves to our culture. There are other cultures worthy of study and instruction. Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were written in elegant Spanish language. Dr. Rizal understood the languages of his time because he spoke German, French, English, etc.
Baron Rodolfo de Negri di San Pietro of Italy, speaking on the topic "Rizal's Place in the Literary World" observed :
"Jose Rizal shines before the literary world like a great poet of the Spanish language, and his tongue is a privileged son of the language of Rome, and the Latin of Virgil."
The Philippines is home to 175 ethno-languages. Many of these ethno-languages are extinct. During the American occupation, the English and Filipino where the medium of instruction. Filipinos, which is based on Tagalog, is popular in and around Manila. If language is the expression of the culture of the people, then we stand to lose the culture of the minority. Thank God, K+12 preparation was on tract. English and Filipino as the language of instruction from Kindergarten to Third Grade will be replaced by Tagalog, Capampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanao, Maranao, and Chavacano. The twelve languages have the combined base of more than 63 speakers.
When we, as people, understand our culture through the nuances of our language, it is time to explore the possibility of understanding the world where we live and reside. No country can stay in isolation. We have become a global village and it is our bounden duty to understand our world before it self-destructs because of ethno-centricism. We are the world under the canopy of heaven, fellow creatures of One Creator.