“Not only is Rizal the most prominent man of his own people but the greatest man the Malayan race has produced. ” -Ferdinand Blumentritt, 1897.
About 111 years ago in the grounds of Luneta Manila, Spanish authorities shot a man. A man who was about to change the course of Philippine history, a man we know today as Jose Rizal. Tomorrow we are once again commemorating the death anniversary of this great man.
What was Jose Rizal’s greatest legacy? Why was he chosen to become our national hero ? For most people they believe that Jose Rizal was rightly chosen to become a national hero because he influenced most of our revolutionary leaders through his writings and example although other people believe that he should only be declared a hero not “The national hero.” Most people believed that Rizal’s greatest legacy is his love for his country as embodied in his writings and the actions that he took.
I remember taking up a “Rizal” course in college, which was a requirement in order for us to graduate in college. I was so fascinated by the story of Jose Rizal that I read Zaide’s book on Rizal in just one day. You can actually say that Jose Rizal is one of my “Role models.” When I was in Manila, I made it a point to visit the actual ground where Rizal was shot. Contrary to what most people believe, Rizal was not shot in the spot where his shrine in Luneta stands right now. On the contrary, Rizal was shot several meters away from that spot. When you enter the area you can see a sign that says that such place is “hollowed ground” and it truly is for me. After the bar exams when we went to Enchanted kingdom in Laguna, I never missed the opportunity to visit Rizal’s home in Calamba Laguna where his birthplace is considering that we are already nearby. Now I am hoping that one day I could visit his place of exile in Dapitan. Having watched so much Rizal movies, reading so much on his life and being to the places where he has been, I cannot help but ask myself, how could a man who lived only 34 years have so much impact not only in our nation but around the world ?
For me personally, Jose Rizal’s greatest legacy was that he lived a full and meaningful life. It did not matter that he lived for only 34 years. He accomplished so much in such a short period of time because he had a vision in his mind and a mission in his heart. The intensity of such mission and vision translated into action that enabled him not to waste time in any trivial matters but rather devote all of his time to the accomplishment of the mission and vision that he believed was given to him.
The question right now that I should be asking myself or you should be asking yourself is when the time comes for us to leave this earth, will our lives matter? Can we truly say that we have lived a full and meaningful life? If we cannot answer this question positively, than we must ask God to grant us a personal vision and a mission for our lives in order that we might not waste our time on things that does not matter at all. In so doing we might be able to live a life just like Jose Rizal did and leave a legacy for others to follow. Leaving a legacy as Rizal did is I believe, my “higher calling.”