The article shares the ideas and opinions in dialogues that usually represent conflicting views about Dr. Jose Rizal. Even though he is our national hero we still feel in need of a continuing dialogue on his ideas, principles and convictions. We know him as a profound thinker and a great doer who love our country and had remarkable patriotism. For that he was called the “First Filipino.”
But there are still a lot of queries that still need an answer like what made Rizal a hero? The author of this article discuss that his thoughts and actions reveal that he was a captive of his own background.
According to the study psychologist tell us that character takes a solid form at the age of seven. But Rizal who was born in Calamba, Laguna received the care of a mother at this age. A mother who is religious and a father that is hardworking but compassionate.
Having the love of parents the author claims that this made Rizal sensitive for discipline and creativity. Rizal said “Almost every day in our town (which is Calamba) we saw the Guardia Civil lieutenant caning and injuring some unarmed and inoffensive villagers. The villager’s only fault was that while at a distance, he had not taken off his hat and made a bow.” In this quote Rizal’s shows sensitivity of love to an innocent person being hurt by an officer.
In 1871 Rizal also experienced the tragedy of his mother being arrested on a false charge of poisoning her sister in law. Forced to walk on foot a distance of about 50 kilometers to Sta. Cruz, Laguna, then she was jailed although she was completely innocent. So this had been unforgettable in the mind of Rizal.
Then in 1872 the Cavity Mutiny occurred resulting in the execution of Father Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. This injustice to Rizal’s family and his people
burst his Patriotism and Nationalism. This change Rizal’s mind set and devoted his time, efforts and talents in righting the wrong doings of his time.
Imagine us if we were on Rizal’s shoes, would we take a risk? The author quoted the saying “problema mo na yan!” which means “That is your problem”. If Rizal was born today imagine what would be his reaction to Filipino Citizens.
The author find Rizal’s character aimed to achieve higher things. While in Dapitan or elsewhere he quoted “when we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary, it is acquired”. These tragedies and frustrations does not stop him from pursuing what he believe was the best thing to do. The author quoted “Greatness is like a photograph, it is developed in darkness”.
In this article the author also discuss Rizal’s coming to Dapitan even though Rizal stay in Europe he did not resign for what he ought to do for our country. Other balikbayan would even pretend to have forgotten our language and our values. But not Rizal he even wrote a letter to Fr. Pastells that says: “If I were to become a citizen, why not be a model citizen? I want to do all I can for this town.” Rizal immediately sensed an opportunity for service, even though he is from other country he easily made friends with the natives even with his watchers, namely Captain Carnicero and Captain Sitges.
Rizal did not waste time to participate in agriculture and even in business. He planted fruit trees and introduced new methods in plowing the land even constructing a waterworks system that would supply to the neighboring areas. He also taught the young boys the basics of language, arithmetic writings and being obedient. Rizal also introduced a lightning system using coconut oil lamps. He even cures the sick people and gives the medicine for free.
Rizal demonstrated in Dapitan that many things could be done only one would have the will to do it. He showed that it was not necessary to be elected or
appointed to public office to be of assistance to the people.
While in Dapitan the parish priest of Dapitan Fr. Obach handed a gift from Fr. Pastells with instructions to tell Rizal “to stop his foolishness, wanting to look at his affairs with the prism of his own judgment and self-love.” But the Jesuit-educated Rizal believed in the freedom of human mind and reasoned out: “What do I believe now, I believe through reasoning and it is because my conscience cannot accept more than what is compatible with thought. I believe that I would be remiss in my duty of being rational if I prostitute my reason and accept what is absurd.”
Fr. Pastell accused Rizal of Protestantism by writing the Noli Me Tangere. Rizal said to Fr. Pastells to respect the religious belief of others. The author quoted “One is indeed free to disagree with another without becoming disagreeable. Like in the words of Voltaire “I may not believe in what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it.”
Faith according to St. Augustine “is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”
It is observed that Rizal shows an open mind in his debate with Fr Pastells. He pointed out the flaws in the practices of bad friars in the Catholic Church but he never doubted his faith in God.
The author concludes that there should be Christian unity that encourages dialogues between different Churches and Communities. Once it is achieved it will promote justice and truth, unity and collaboration. We have to ask ourselves do we benefit by the lessons and sacrifices of his own life. With determination and unshakable faith in his cause he saw the vision of our redemption. Thus said Rizalism is not just a collection of writings and dialogues, more importantly, it is a way of life and reality.