“The courage of ideas, the perseverance of action”
Address by Grand Master Stefano Bisi
Dear Brethren, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me thank you all for being here, tonight, with us, in the grand Temple of Brotherhood, to attend the public part of our Annual Communication 2015, which started this morning in Rimini. “The Courage of Ideas. The Perseverance of Actions” is the fil rouge, the central theme of this Assembly, which gathers every year many thousands of the 23 thousands Italian Brethren members of the Grande Oriente d’Italia – Palazzo Giustiniani, and since ever the participation of a great number of foreign delegates, to whom I express my hearty regards.
Courage and Perseverance that we all must have, and that the wonderful children of the choir “Le Verdi Note”, coming from Fabriano, already showed to have, with their performance, before this immense and qualified audience. In the Temple, between the antique symbols of Sun and Moon, and the signs of the zodiac, their beautiful voices which evoked in me – and I am sure in you all – a great peace, a great harmony, a great sense of wellness, transmitting a message of hope for the future of Italy and the world, anguished by so many sufferings. Talented and courageous, these children, well led by an excellent teacher.
Listening to them, with my relieved soul, I was thinking also about the future of these young generations, about our charge, our mission as freemasons and men, and about the immense responsibility that we all have to pass to them a better Country, the responsibility of building a better future for them. Among these children, and many children of Italy, the future ruling classes are, the new “Il Volo” are. Boys and girls who are waving the flag of singing Italy, with their light heartedness and their extraordinary talent, but among them we find also future politicians, future managers, businessmen, teachers, workers. They are the beautiful and clean face of our Nation, the flowers of a garden with great potential, that must be attended and loved, with love, confidence and perseverance. We must rely on their growth, and on the enormous treasure of our Culture, to make a new Italy, in step with the immense challenges of the globalization, in continuing evolution.
We all know how this Country needs a true relaunching project, and a new Culture of education, development and innovation, that can give a new nourishment to the “Italian System”, which has now been gasping for too long time. 2015 is not only the year of EXPO, but above all the year of Dante Alighieri. Everywhere in Italy, starting from Florence, the town where he was born, the 750th anniversary of this great Poet will be celebrated. A celebration that, at this moment, seems to be a bit low-tone. What a better occasion and universal spot, to re-launch Italian culture in the world?
His “Divine Comedy” is the world poem par excellence. There is no people which has not travelled through the ascent of the three kingdoms, virtually and in an imaginary way, with the sublime Dante’s tercets. Does not exist a student, who does not remember the very long river of souls, beaten or pierced by the pitchforks of the groups of devils. And, I do not think that there is a person in the world, who has never reflected and has never been moved by the extraordinary intensity of the knowledge of every canto. From the deepest and rough regions of Inferno, raising to the Beauty and Spirituality of Paradise, till the “First Mobile”, to the stunning Light of the “Divine Principle”.
The “Divine Comedy” is a life mentor, is a faithful companion for man of all times. This mystic-initiatic travel represents the path that must mark the one of us, Freemasons. In the Comedy we find the inner descent, and the descent into the abysses of reality, in all its extensions, from the biggest to the subtlest, and we find the resurgence to the spiritual Light. Like Alighieri, who starts his path, not without any fear, into the “obscure forest”, we, the initiated, are called to wake-up from numbing, to head towards an adventurous way. A slow but firm walk, made by virtue, knowledge, truth and love, which must lead us courageously to our awareness, to the discovery of our talents, taking-out our gold pieces, that can help us and the Humanity. For this, we can make treasure of the modernity of Dante’s experience, for our travel, in a world that is made opaque by the prisms, that filter false and distorted imagines of reality.
The grim reality around us, at all levels, that Freemasonry aims to change since the dawn of time, for the common good through the principles of Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood. These genetic principles constitute our helix DNA. They are our Tradition, the present and the future of every Mason. From them, we draw the capability to make good actions and proceed with courage on the way and the ideas of many Brethren who came before us, in every part of the world. Today, for example, I was particularly moved, when I had the opportunity to embrace Pietro, son of Brother Giovanni Becciolini: Grande Oriente has decided to honour him with the dignity of Grand Master in memoriam, for an heroic action.
He is an heroic figure of anti-fascist mason, who paid with his life the courage of Freedom. This man, this altruist Brother, paid with his life his immeasurable generosity. Such extreme actions must make us reflect on the importance of the choice that we have made to become and to be masons, how crucial this status is, in every period and moment of our temporal living, for the man who embraces with his heart, his mind, and the right spirit, the great Way of Freemasonry. This is our Freemasonry, which must always see us as Masters builders of Harmony, paladins of Tolerance and dialogue, implacable censors of falsehood and insinuations.
Laboratory of ideas for courageous and revolutionary men, hotbed for men who are free and aware of their own potentiality. Gymnasium of the spirit and for the spirit. History, incomparable memory of Man, can only testify what Free Masonry has done and has been able to do, during the centuries. Freemasonry always beat against the despots, the dictators, kings and non-illuminated men; it has written many great pages and changed the scenarios of human existence, with the wealth of its men, and the force of ideas. In Italy, like in France, in Germany, or in Spain, in the United States of America, Freemasonry became a true mother for innumerable generations. Everywhere, there have been extraordinary people, who in their Lodges have worked together, exporting the best that Freedom and Democracy could offer, to create the conditions for a better society.
But we cannot live only in the past. We cannot live of a reflected light. We cannot stay, waiting for the events, trying to understanding what is going to happen, in a few months, a year, or more. Let us remember that we Masons must improve ourselves, but at the same time, improve Man and Society. And to do this, we must be an active part of change, openly giving our contribution, without fear. We have nothing to be afraid of; others should rather be afraid of the pulling force of our thought.
And now, like in the past, courage must not be missing. Courage is made of great actions, extreme actions, but also of innumerable little, but not less important, daily actions. Like a water drop, that hitting insistently the stone digs it, refines it, makes it more pure. So, we Free Masons must be like many drops, that all together make a creek, then an impetuous long river, flowing into the ocean of wisdom. In this sea, we must sail with a compass and drawing tool, like good sailors of spirit, wishing to find new lands, not belonging to the occult, but to Truth and Knowledge. “You were not to live as brute, but to follow virtue and knowledge”, Dante wrote. We must go on, conscious of being important protagonists and makers of change for profane world. We know well what change is, and how to make it. We always make it, in silence, and in the golden discretion of our sacred Lodges, where there are no plots nor politic pacts.
Dear Brethren, outside the Temple, there is a world in crisis, waiting for our engagement, our help, and our unique fraternal hardened solidarity. We cannot be waiting anymore, we must factually act, starting from the territories where we live and work. We must be active citizens. We kept our integrity of thought and action, we passed over difficult moments, for our Craft, being in the running. We fully paid the P2 affair, by cleaning up inside ourselves. But we cannot bear this question forever, like a tombstone. We are for transparency and we will never give up this criteria. We have recently put it into practice without reserve, when we cancelled two Lodges in Calabria.
I am going to finish my address, with an element that for us Free Masons it all: Light. The Light that we ask to receive at the moment of our entrance into the Craft, moving the first unsteady steps as Entered Apprentice, and that will be a permanent endless feature of our masonic work. Well, 2015 is the international year of Light, as proclaimed by the United Nations. Light is a common patrimony: the study, the utilization, the production of this resource has crossed the geographic and cultural borders, has built limitless generation bridges. It has product Science and Innovation, like Light, by the photosynthesis, brings life to the Earth. Einstein, the father of the theory of Relativity, deeply studied it as a constant of natural laws. And the Nobel Prize 2006 for Physics, the American John Mather, skillfully added, “Light is essential to life on our planet by the photosynthesis, it allows us to see back in time till the origins of Cosmo in the Big Bang. It helps us communicate with the other sentient beings, here on the Earth, and maybe a day can allow us to dialogue with the ones who could be found in space”.
Thinking about what happened at Cern, in Geneva, with the discovery of the famous “God’s particle”, and about what will happen with the progress of Science, there is room for dreaming. But let me add that Light, for us Freemasons will always be the one shining from centuries in our Temple, also if present hyper-scientific technologies can help us to have new tools and objects, to improve our material everyday routine, and also considering the astonishing discoveries, thanks to space travels. The Light that must shine in our bodies, and must make our ideas and our actions shine, always and in any case, with courage and perseverance.
Rimini, Palacongressi April 10th, 2015