THANKSGIVING: IF IT’S REAL, EXPRESS IT!
With all the events filling up our calendars every year, one could appreciate the breadth of milestones that come our way. We have set aside special days to celebrate and honor special events and people . Birthdays, anniversaries, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day. This month started with All Saints Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and ends with Bonifacio Day.
The good things about the observance of these events allow us to focus and reflect on the significance and value of the persons or events they represent. On the contrary, by celebrating these special days or persons, we tend to limit their importance and value to just that specific day. For the rest of the year that value or person recedes into oblivion until next year.
Thanksgiving Day may just another day in the year. But for most of us, this day carries with it a special meaning. In times like these, when much of the world is in turmoil – when people are dying from the ravages of war, disease and poverty, in pursuit of freedom – we have indeed a lot to be thankful for. Thankful for the freedoms we enjoy; thankful for family and friends; thankful for opportunities to make ourselves better people. And much more.
“Waking up everyday above the ground” said a hotel attendant, “is enough reason to give thanks to the Lord! “ To this man, Thanksgiving Day is everyday. And indeed it should be!
A survey was done that randomly asked a few thousand people, “What are the top ten items you are thankful for?” Topping list was family, job, wealth, new home, vacation, etc. but none mentioned being thankful to God. God was not among the top ten. Not a single person realized that all these blessings they receive come from the Author and Giver of Life! Without Him laying down the guidelines of how to live a blessed and blessing life, we are “like a boat without a sail.”
God does not compel us to give thanks. But when we do, life takes on a different meaning. It raises life beyond possessions. Or the pursuit of worldly treasures. It embeds a quality of life full of grace that reflects the generous gifts of a loving God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, let it be a day to be experienced. And if that experience is real, it obligates us to express it. My dear brother, did you experience something you are thankful for today? If your experience is real, you must express it!
Sylvester Almiron, Jr., WM
Let’s face it: we have become a nation of complainers. Turn on the news and we are prompted to face the facts of a steadying decline of the economy, high unemployment rates, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are not so different from those Occupy Wall Streeters who voice their disdain for the wealthy 1%. In fact, we are the 99% who complain 99% of the time. How often do we moan and groan about our jobs, our marriages, and our debt? We tell ourselves that things should be better. We ignore what we have and yearn for what we don’t have. Despite living in an age of instant gratification we are still never wholly satisfied.
So my brothers, here is my spiel. Pass the plate of stuffing but please hold the side dish of complaint. Tis the season for reflection and gratitude. As we spend the holidays with those we love, let us remind ourselves that there is still much to be thankful for: family, health, and friendship. We must teach our children to be optimistic, humble, and grateful–yet, let us not forget to practice these same values in our very own lives. This Thanksgiving, we shall feast to fill our stomachs but let us not forget to feed the heart as well.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless you all!
From time to time, opportunities open up that are compelling that one would want to share.
The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall , a traveling, three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC is coming to the US Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Complex in New York City Nov 7-20, 2011.
The memorial is dedicated to Vietnam veterans and honors all service men and women of the US military forces. “The Wall” is a service to those who might never travel to the nation’s capital to experience “The Wall” firsthand. This 240-foot log, 8 ft high replica contains the names of 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam.
Volunteers are need to assist visitors in finding names of their family member(s) or friend(s), assist with the rubbing(s) of the names(s). give general information or help in the hospitality area for all the volunteers. The Intrepid Museum will be accessible 24 hours a day.
This is a unique opportunity to show our appreciation and respect for our Vietnam veterans and all service men and women of the US military forces and their families.
To those who are looking to honor our service men and women for their sacrifices, you are urged to join others and us by informing Bro. SW IGY ABE(firstname.lastname@example.org )and BRO. JW TOM BENOLERAO (email@example.com). They will coordinate the initiative so we can go there as a group.
The Most Worshipful Master Vincent Libone issued a call to help our Brothers, friends and neighbors in upstate New York who suffered tremendous losses during the devastation wrought by the storms and flooding last March. He and other Grand Line Officers saw for themselves the extent of the damages and saw how the people are trying to rebuild their homes and their lives. As good neighbors, MW Libone is urging us to give to the Brotherhood Fund and to donate clothes and other items important for daily living.
For our part, we will ask for financial donations to the Brotherhood Fund and collect usable items, such as clothes and the like. Start bagging your extra warm clothing and bring them to the Lodge. As long as there are disasters and conflagrations, we will continue to collect these items so that we can respond promptly when the need arises again. The 3 Lights will collect them.
It has been said that he who “carries the name, carries out its mission”. JRL Masons have been known to carry out the mission of the name the carry. In this column, we want to recognize our Brothers, who in their individual lives and in places where they serve, are building their ARKs that stands for Acts of Random Kindness . Through this column, we will recognize our Brothers who perform ARKs – no matter how small or big – that make a difference in people’s lives.
WB ROMEO PELAYO. He has been collecting aluminum rings from soda cans and donating these to a non-profit organization to made into instruments and tools. In his place of work, as new supplies arrive , old supplies are thrown away. Our brother saves them for struggling self-help clinics in the Philippines, such as the community supported Marina Clinic in Dauin, Negros Oriental.
WB LUIS GUILLEN. He has volunteered his services to many people, including our brothers, without hesitation. He is always ready to offer and lengthen his cable tow, without being asked, when there is opportunity to help.
BRO. CESAR TIPAWAN. Has been volunteering in a feeding of the homeless poor in his parish. He is so engaged in this ministry that he feels this is his calling. He is on track to being ordained.
SW IGNACIO ABE. Always ready to run to the rescue of a distressed brother. When he learned that a brother Mason run into a deep pothole that broke his car’s axle somewhere in Westchester, he immediately got into his car, ignoring a previous appointment, and drove to the rescue. However, help to the brother arrived ahead of him.
We are sure there are many brothers out there busy building ARKs. Please let us know who they are and their ARKs so we can mention them here. It is important others to know because by knowing who they are, we can benefit from their experience and help us carry out the mission of the name we carry. Send their names and their ARKs to the WM or SW & JW.
Plans are afoot in preparation for the holidays. In an informal meeting Nov. 5, 2011 in the Lodge, members of the “musically gifted” drew plans to rehearse songs that we will sing when we go to share the good tidings and messages of peace to the shut-ins and nursing home residents. Led by our Bro. Pete Decena , Bro. Willy Apo and Bro. Eduard Kho, they will create a full musical repertoire that we will also bring to the homes of our Brothers who will invite us to their homes.
Our Masonic Journey: Not Enough to be Good!
Look at what is happening in Libya,.Yemen. Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. Egypt. All in the Middle East. People fighting for freedom. For justice. For life! Regular people. Never trained for combat. Boys. Men and women. Never again should love ones die simply because their life did not matter. They did not belong. Tyranny. Greed. Unbridled power. Resulting in pain. Bloodshed. “O Death, where is thy sting?”
We live in a nation where freedom reigns. We pledge to be faithful to the truth, equality and justice for all. Life is a gift. We belong to each other. We have faith and do good works. We strive to be good. But being good is not enough! When goodness takes shape, it shows through our works.
My brother, what have you done to show what you believe?
Sylvester B. Almiron, Jr.
Jose Rizal Lodge 1172
Brethren let us express our sincere condolence to Brother Harris family.
We come to this life to grow and learn and be tested. That all sounds
pretty taxing, but it’s not hard to see how much joy we can find here
on earth as well. One great part of Heavenly Father’s plan is that all
the happiness and satisfaction we get from learning new things and all
the love we develop within our families will go with us to the next
It seems so tragic when people both young and the aged are taken from
mortality into the next phase of life. However, comforting to know that
God has a plan for us. We lived with Him before we were born and we
will continue to live with Him into eternity if we choose to follow the
path GOD prepared for us. Our life on earth is fundamental to His plan,
as is death. It’s always sad when God calls our loved ones home, but we
can be certain that their spirits live on.
We don’t need to worry about those who have passed on. We only need to
worry that we will continue to live a life in such a manner that we
will be worthy to associate with love ones when it is our turn to go.
People may be born under peculiar and often difficult circumstances,
and they leave this world at all stages of life, from the moment of
birth to old age. Mortality is just one very short, but very critical
phase in our eternal progression. It is infinitely more important that
we live well than that we live long. The brightness and glory of the
next life is inexpressible. Let us understand the purpose of life of
which DEATH is a part of GOD’s plan to bring t pass the immortality and
eternal life of man. Let us live in the hope that we will enjoy our
deceased love ones or ancestors companies again. And if we qualify by
obedience to the principles of the gospel.
Sincerely and Brotherly yours,