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Mora, Princess Catherine

Ringing church bells, carols and gift-giving are just some of the events that can give us a
glimpse of how joyous and special for us, Christian Filipinos, December is, being the birth month of
our Lord. It can be said that for most of us, happiness, blessedness and charity are the words that
can best describe the month of December. However, this may not be the case for Dr. Jose Rizal. A
positive term may not be absolutely appropriate to describe December 1896 for him. Although this
date was very meaningful for Dr. Rizal in a positive sense because he was able to accept his death
calmly and bravely, it was also tragic and lonesome for him as a typical human being like us.
December 1896 can be said as meaningful for Dr. Rizal in a positive sense because despite
of the pain this month brought to him and to his family he was thankful that he was able to find
peace in his heart and remained calm until his death. Admirably, he was able to face his death
bravely and positively. In his letter to his parents before his execution, he expressed his acceptance
of his death and his gratitude to the Lord, he said (1896), give thanks to God that I may preserve
my tranquility before my deathSomeday I shall have to die and it is better that I die now in the
plentitude of my conscience...It is better to die than to live suffering... While his calmness in facing
his death was seen on how he walked from Fort Santiago to Bagumbayan wherein he drew peoples
attention because of his expression and the calm dignity of his bearing which was contrary to what
was expected from a traitor (Coates, 1986). His calmness and fearlessness may be due to his
willingness to die for his nation which he expressed in his last poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, wherein he
said (1896), Farewell, dear Fatherland, Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life's best, And were
it brighter, fresher, or more blest, Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.
On the other hand, even though Rizal was able to accept his death calmly and positively at
the end of December, as a typical human being like us, December could have been also tragic for

him for many reasons. For one, he welcomed this month as prisoner accused of a crime he strongly
denied. He was accused to be the principal organizer and soul of Katipunan (Laubach, 1909). It was
very tragic for him to be imprisoned due to the said false accusations which he expressed in his
Manifesto to some of the Filipinos. He said, Fellow countrymen: I learned that my name was
being used as a rallying cry by some who had taken up arms which surprised and grieved me...
Also, December was tragic for him because in this month, his loved ones also suffered such as
Paciano who was tortured to make him sign a statement that Rizal had been connected with the
Katipunan (Laubach, 1909). Rizal might have known what happened because in his farewell letter
to Paciano he said, I know that you have suffered much because of me: I am sorry. Rizals parents
on the other hand, also suffered because of his imprisonment and verdict. His mother even beg for
his life (Laubach, 1909). Moreover the month was tragic for him because even though his lawyer
Taviel was doing its best to save his life, he knew very well that he would lose the case (Laubach,
1909).
Lastly, December can also be lonesome for our hero. For one, because being the last month
of his life, unfortunately he spent it inside a depressing prison cell. I described it as depressing
because light could barely reached it. Darkness prevailed in that room literally. It has a window but
far from his bed and table. Considering Rizal's attitude whos very reflective and a nature-lover, it
might have been hard for him to stay in that kind of place where he could only have a glimpse of
nature through his prison cell window. Furthermore, December was also lonesome for him because
he was separated from his beloved family and wife without knowing whether he would be able to
see them again. It was only his pen, alcohol lamp and paper that accompanied him inside the cell
which kept him busy and what he used to communicate with his loved ones for the last time. He
was only allowed to accept visitors aside from his lawyer and priests after December 26 thats why
heartbreakingly he celebrated Christmas only with his lawyer Luis Taviel.

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