Chapter 31: - Page 3 of 8

The Sermon

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Most honorable sir. Great affairs are great affairs even by the side of the small and the small are always small even by the side of the great.  So History says, but since History hits the nail on the head only once in a hundred times, being a thing made by men, and men make mistakes—errarle es hominum,[2] as Cicero said—he who opens his mouth makes mistakes, as they say in my country then the result is that there are profound truths which History does not record.  These truths, most honorable sir, the divine Spirit spoke with that supreme wisdom which human intelligence has not comprehended since the times of Seneca and Aristotle, those wise priests of antiquity, even to our sinful days, and these truths are that not always are small affairs small, but that they are great, not by the side of the little things, but by the side of the grandest of the earth and of the heavens and of the air and of the clouds and of the waters and of space and of life and of death!

Amen! exclaimed the leader of the Tertiaries, crossing himself.

With this figure of rhetoric, which he had learned from a famous preacher in Manila, Padre Damaso wished to startle his audience, and in fact his holy ghost was so fascinated with such great truths that it was necessary to kick him to remind him of his business.

Patent to your eyes— prompted the holy ghost below.

Patent to your eyes is the conclusive and impressive proof of this eternal philosophical truth! Patent is that sun of virtue, and I say sun and not moon, for there is no great merit in the fact that the moon shines during the night,—in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king; by night may shine a light, a tiny star,—so the greatest merit is to be able to shine even in the middle of the day, as the sun does; so shines our brother Diego even in the midst of the greatest saints! Here you have patent to your eyes, in your impious disbelief, the masterpiece of the Highest for the confusion of the great of the earth, yes, my brethren, patent, patent to all, PATENT!

A man rose pale and trembling and hid himself in a confessional.  He was a liquor dealer who had been dozing and dreaming that the carbineers were demanding the patent, or license, that he did not have.  It may safely be affirmed that he did not come out from his hiding-place while the sermon lasted.

Humble and lowly saint, thy wooden cross (the one that the image held was of silver), thy modest gown, honors the great Francis whose sons and imitators we are.  We propagate thy holy race in the whole world, in the remote places, in the cities, in the towns, without distinction between black and white (the alcalde held his breath), suffering hardships and martyrdoms, thy holy race of faith and religion militant (Ah! breathed the alcalde) which holds the world in balance and prevents it from falling into the depths of perdition.

[2] Errare humanum est: To err is human.

Learn this Filipino word:

taingang tapayan