Sunday, October 30, 2011

The True Secret Word of a Master Mason


by David J. Llewellyn

Past Master of East Point Lodge No. 288, F. & A. M. (Georgia)
and Dual Member, Gate City Lodge No. 2, F. & A. M. (Georgia)

At the beginning of his Masonic career each candidate for initiation is instructed that “Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The design of the Masonic Institution is to make its members wiser, better and consequently happier . . . .” To that end we are reminded by symbols to circumscribe our desires and to keep our passions within due bounds. Our Lodges are universally opened with a prayer. In many jurisdictions we beseech the Grand Architect of the Universe, whom each of us worships privately in his own way, to “[g]rant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, so harmonize and enrich our hearts with Thine own love and goodness, that the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before Thy throne.”

Our degrees teach and constantly remind us of our duties to ourselves and our fellow creatures. In the Entered Apprentice Degree we are taught to extend true charity to all. Not just material charity, but also that more noble charity of mind and spirit that inspires us to help every other human being who is in need. We are reminded to act with Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. The last of these cardinal virtues – Justice – “enables us to render to every man his just due without distinction.” The Fellowcraft Degree instructs us to engage ourselves in the pursuit of knowledge, not just at passing, but forever. In particular it encourages us to study the classical liberal arts and sciences, which lead to a liberal and enlightened mind. That mind is free from the dross of all prejudices, national, cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious. It could hardly be otherwise, for we are also taught that Masonry is universal, extending its benevolence throughout the entire terrestrial globe. By so freeing our hearts and consciences from all prejudices we are taught that we will earn, not be given, wages of spiritual nourishment, refreshment, and joy. The Sublime Degree of Master Mason goes even further. It is called “sublime,” that is “elevated in thought,” “inspiring awe,” because it teaches us of our further duties to each other and, indeed, to all humankind. In that degree we undertake certain serious and solemn obligations to each other as brothers. But these duties are not exclusive to us. The true, mature Mason understands that they apply to all persons of every kind in every situation. We bind ourselves to each other only as a starting point, a point from which the real Mason travels onward.

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Mount Hermon Lodge #118 was chartered in 1848 by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. Housed in the Asheville Masonic Temple, our Stated Communication meets on the first Thursday of each month with an open dinner at 6:30pm and the meeting following at 7:30pm.