One hundred thirty years ago, Rizal bade farewell to the year 1883. He spoke of his friends & compatriots and their contribution to the year that will soon become part of history. As usual Rizal spoke of his love of his country - his Motherland. Today, we hardly speak of love for our country in our Lodges, maybe to avoid 'piqué and quarrels' regarding politics. At LJR, what will our end of the year toast be? This 30th December is Rizal's 117th death anniversary, and to this end below is re-published from the Cavite State University to commemorate what this great man said a 130 years ago.
"I will avail myself of your invitation to speak. Your rare and hard attention is not to be wasted and what I have to tell you is worth very little. Benevolence will favor goodwill.
'83 deserves a fond farewell, a smile of gratitude, from us. It is a friend that is bidding us farewell; a peaceful and calm day that slips away at the nightfall; a beautiful and rich page of the variegated book of our existence. With it have gone many of our ideals, sweet affections and illusions of the soul. And in fact '83 has given us our mutual friend Ventura who has not only been our companion but a genuine compatriot. His name is in our hearts and I will not extol him. '83 has brought us the two Esquivels, animation and joy, one a mathematician, the other linguist to others; to us they are friends besides; Mr. Felipe Zamora, glory of our medical science, who has not only left pleasant memories in Madrid but also a void that no one has filled; Mr. Enrique Rogers, a worthy model for his character, talent, and sentiments; Mr. Evaristo Aguirre, orator, poet, with a delicate and ready pen, who has brought us the airs of the Andalucia beyond the seas; Mr. Jimenez whose brief sojourn concealed many of his good qualities; Mr. Tuason who is remembered for his generous deeds and who makes himself liked without being hated; and finally '83 has returned to Madrid, to letters, and to his comrades the indefatigable Mr. Pedro Paterno, the personification of longing and activity, a son of the mother country, and a favorite of the Muses.
The students made a good showing; the future prepares splendors and magnificence. Love and Joy, those divinities of youth, have visited us and attended our dances, outings, strolls, pilgrimages, in the form of youthful beauties who have departed with the flowers of spring. Many hearts have lost their freedom but they bless their chains. Unanimous and spontaneous strokes of good fellowship, meetings where the voice of discussion did not extinguish that of friendship and nobility; good sense and application to studies everywhere; the deceitful diversions relegated to oblivion; here's 1883.
It is true that we lost the Hispano-Filipino Circle after a long agony, but we felt it and we mourned it like we do a ship which is abandoned for the waves to swallow up, like a tomb that is closed and left alone. '83 is rich in memories; '84 I dare prophesy will be brilliant and glorious; '83 is a day of early youth, gay, festive, smiling; '84 is a day of virility, deeds, and greatness. Luna is now drawing from his luminous palette the secret of immorality and soon he will tell it to the artistic world; Resurreccion has launched himself in the City of Light, but more fortunate than the butterfly, he will emerge from it brilliant and immortal; Laserna will soon be on the rostrum a holy protest against the injustices of man; the geni of social gatherings roam in the museum of Mr. Pedro Paterno in order to enliven future soirees; the energetic burin of Figueroa will return to opinion what opinion has taken away from him; Graciano Lopez feels the impetus that at one time animated the bar and the rostrum and soon he will let loose torrents of arguments and enthusiasm; in short, our youth fulfills its duty, and the brush, and the burin, and the pen, and the bistoury, and the compass, and the spectacles are being wield and used to the utmost and each one fashions a laurel leaf in order to weave an unwithering crown.
If until recently the remembrance of our motherland was for us remorse, a recrimination, henceforth at the sound of her name; we raise our head, because we are worthy to be her sons, and because in truth we deserve to be.
If returning to my home, my country which they call savage, my country where hospitality is neither sold nor bought but indeed it is offered and is regarded as a duty, if this country which, in spite of her poverty, aids her sons in a far away lands, to whom a civilized government denies the meager stipend for their work; if this country, I say, rough and barbarous, because she has less criminals and less disturbances, because brothers respect one another, because mothers do not sell their children in those markets of women that are called public places, because children daily kiss their parent's hand, because they respect the foreigner and the helpless, if this country, if the Philippines, would ask me what I have done during my pilgrimage, I would give the same answer I give to a hidden thought of yours that I feel and deplore; I'll say "In my heart I have suppressed all loves except that of my motherland; in my mind I have erased all ideas which do not signify her progress and my lips have forgotten the names of the native races in the Philippines in order not to say more than Filipinos."
I avoid the toast; our life is an eternal toast, an eternal aspiration, and an insatiable desire. Only that instead of verses perhaps cries, curses are proclaimed, and instead of wine, the cups are filled with tears or blood! At the banquet of liberty, Death and struggle serve the dishes; those present feed on sacrifices. The future and posterity are the ones, which are nourished to become our curse or our apotheosis.