Stewards – they don’t really do much, do they?

stewardby Brother Keith Becker, Educational Officer Queensbury Lodge 121, Queensbury NY

The Lodge Stewards are exactly what their name implies:  The flight attendants of the Lodge.  They assist Brethren with mobility issues, fetch glasses of water for officers, etc.  During times of Refreshment, they serve meals, clean tables, help in the kitchen, etc.  Their ceremonial duties in the Lodge include assisting the Junior Deacon in preparing the candidate for degrees and in purging the Lodge.

The Junior Steward is seated on the left of the Junior Warden in the South.  The Senior Steward, on the right of the Junior Warden in the South.  They carry rods and their emblem is the cornucopia, symbolizing plenty for all.  During hours of Refreshment, they report to the Junior Warden.  During hours of Labor, they report to the Junior Deacon.

The logical place to start is to ask, “What is a steward?” The word, steward, has an interesting etymology. It literally means, “sty-ward”—the manager of the pigsty. Pretty high quality, huh? In the original Anglo-Saxon it is a pig keeper. Later, it was applied to the person who managed the activities in a nobleman’s hall. He was the ward, or manager, of that place where the king or a nobleman would welcome guests, hear requests, make judgments, hold feasts, and other sorts of things. He was in charge of making sure that there was plenty of food for everybody, and that the guests were introduced and dismissed at the proper times, and so forth.

But over time, a steward’s responsibilities expanded to include the management of the entire estate of the nobleman, or other rich men. If he had a business, then a steward would be the chief manager of that business for him. He would supervise servants or employees. Depending on the sort of business that it happened to be, he would collect rents, or payments; he would keep the books; he would order provisions and supplies making sure that the storeroom was kept well stocked. And, he did many other things that the boss either could not do, or did not need to be bothered with.

The word manager has replaced this term. We do not use steward very much anymore. We have even dropped the term for the stewards and stewardesses on passenger planes; they are now flight attendants. So really, it is a word that just about only has its theological meanings left to it in our everyday life, such as in the parable of the unjust steward.

Stewardship, then, is the conducting, supervising, or managing of something. And it usually means, “The careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted into your care.” We use is like, “The nation is responsible for the stewardship of its natural resources.”

Or, you have been given a sum of money in trust (a trustee); you would be a steward of that money.

The Bible’s use of the term “steward” is very similar to the dictionary definition of the term. The Old Testament uses a phrase that means, “One who is over a house,” just like Joseph was a steward over the household of Potiphar. Another word is the Hebrew “soken,” means basically the same thing, but it has a more governmental connotation to it. It is an officer responsible for the king’s house. We would probably use the term “treasurer,” or “chamberlain” instead of steward, but it is the same idea. He is the chief officer of a royal court. And in Isaiah 22:15, there was Shebna who was called the treasurer of the court, and he was replaced because he was not being responsible.

If you remember the book, The Lord of the Rings, there was a city called Minas Tirith that had lost its king, and the stewards who were regents over that city ruled that city-state for hundreds of years. And when the king returned, as faithful stewards should be, they turned the city back over to the king.

Other words translated “steward” in the Bible may specifically mean “leader,” “officer,” “commander,” or “overseer.” The New Testament only uses two words for this idea. The Greek words “epitropos” and “oikonomos.” Epitropos means “One to whose care something is committed.” Sounds like steward to me. It is translated as steward, guardian, and even tutor. The verb form, “epotropae” means “to turn over to,” like a rich man will turn over his estate to his steward while he is gone. It is used in a situation with the apostle Paul, in a negative light, when he was “commissioned” by the priests in Jerusalem to go to Damascus and put into prison true believers of the way. He was commissioned—made a steward—of this task, and sent to Damascus to carry it out. This word is also found in Matthew 20:8, Luke 8:3, and Galatians 4:2. They are used generally where so and so is a steward, and that sort of thing.

Now, oikonomos literally means “House arranger; one who arranges the household.” It is also defined as house manager, steward, governor, treasurer, and chamberlain.

You probably noticed that all these definitions are very much the same, both in our usage of the word, the Old Testament usage of the word, and the New Testament usage too. It is very clear throughout the whole Bible that a steward is one who manages something entrusted to him by another, more often by a superior who entrusts things to him. He is accountable to guard, maintain, and even enhance what has been entrusted to him. A steward is always under authority of another, and must report his progress to his superior on occasion. A businessman would not expect to have a steward and not be told what is going on. It is part of his duties. He must report his progress to his superior.

Let us see how it is used in the Bible, and watch these ideas surface.

I Chronicles 28:1 Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel: the officers of the tribes and the captains of the divisions who served the king, the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valor.

Now, this is a steward of a different color. These stewards were considered leaders of Israel. They had in their charge all the riches that David possessed, as well as the possessions of his sons. Notice that it is “stewards,” plural. They needed many money managers to look after all David’s family’s substance. They were extremely trustworthy men to have all this money in their hands to do with as they would, and as David directed them. And, there is no indication that they fell down on the job, because David was able to lay up an incredible amount of materials—gold and silver, precious gems, wood and stone—all for building the temple in Jerusalem. These men did a good job. They were worthy of the trust that David put into them.

Now, this idea of managing money is the main understanding that the Protestants have of stewardship. And, if you read any of their articles on stewardship, you will find that they mostly key in on stewardship of the ministry over the church’s funds. That is good and right, and should be considered. However, even though they seemed to be aware of the more spiritual meanings, not just for the ministry but for the lay members as well, most of their discussions of stewardship seems to end with the using of one’s tithes, and church finances. This is not wrong. But it is only the most rudimentary of the applications of the idea of stewardship. It is incomplete.

The concepts of khalifa, stewardship, and amana, trust, emerge from the principle of tawhid. The Quran explains that mankind holds a privileged position among God’s creations on earth: he is chosen as khalifa, “vice-regent” and carries the responsibility of caring for God’s earthly creations. Each individual is given this task and privilege in the form of God’s trust. But the Quran repeatedly warns believers against arrogance: they are no better than other creatures.

Even the Buddhists believe that we are Stewards of the world, and it is in our care.

So as Lodge Stewards we are charged with every care that the lodge and its members may have. This takes us back to the reference of lodge Stewards being the grunts. Let us not forget that they are the backbone of the lodge and without their diligence to their duty the lodge would struggle and fail.  The Steward is, in my opinion, one of the most important roles and one of the most overlooked by all Brothers. A good Steward will know that he has done his job, by the lack of complaining by the membership and the lack of recognition that they will receive for a job well done.

However, I will say that, the Steward who success will be noticed by the Worshipful Master, and officers, for it would have most likely made his job that much easy, and his year as Master that much more successful.

Be proud to be a Steward and be diligent, for the time we spend in the chairs goes quickly and without our knowledge. Remember that it is up to you to help those who come after you and if you did your duty well you will know every part of what it means to be the Lodge Steward.

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Masonic Dates

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe ordinary Calendar, or vulgar era, is not generally used by freemasons in dating their official documents. They have one peculiar to themselves, differing according to their various Rites.

 

 

 

ScburstANCIENT CRAFT MASONS in all parts of the World, add 4,000 years to the Christian Era, calling it Anno Lucis – Year of Light; abbreviated A.L. (This fact has a symbolic reference, not because they believe Freemasonry is, but that the principles and light of the institution are coeval with the creation.) Ancient Craft Masons (Blue Lodges) hold “Communications.”

 

newswire_logoROYAL ARCH MASONS date from the beginning date of the building of the second Temple by Zerubbabel – 530 B.C. Their style is, therefore, Anno Inventionis – A. Inv. – in the year of discovery. Royal Arch Chapters hold “Convocations.”

ORDER OF THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD dates from the blessing of Abraham by the High Priest Melchizaedek, which occurred 1913 B.C. Their Style is Anno Benedistionis – A.B. – in the year of the Blessing. Councils of Anointed High Priest hold “Convocations.”

 

03ddCRYPTIC MASONS date from the completion of Solomon’s Temple – 1000 A.Dep. (1,000 years before the Christian era) Their style is Anno Depositionsis – A. Dep. – in the year of Deposit. Royal and Select Councils hold “Assemblies.”

 

ktlogoKNIGHTS TEMPLAR date from the organization of the Order in 1118 A.O. Their Style is, therefore, Anno Ordinis – A.O. – in the year of the Order. Knights Templar Commanderies hold “Conclaves.”

 

 

 

32_eagle_hi_res_FreemasonsSCOTTISH RITE differs from the Ancient Craft in that they use the Jewish Chronology, Anno Mundi (A.M.) “In the Year of the World”.

 

 

 

ANCIENT CRAFT MASONS – Add 4,000 years
Thus: 2009 + 4,000 =A.L. 6009
ROYAL ARCH MASONS – Add 530 years
Thus: 2009 + 530 =A. I. 2539
ORDER OF HIGH PRIESTHOOD – Add 1,913 years
Thus: 2009 + 1,913 = A.B. 3922
ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS – Add 1,000 years
Thus: 2009 + 1,000 = A.Dep. 3009
KNIGHTS TEMPLAR – Subtract 1,118 years
Thus: 2009 – 1,118 = A.O. 891
SCOTTISH RITE – Add 3760 years
Thus 2009 + 3760 = A.M. 5769

FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST – June 24th
FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST – December 27th

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Snapshot of a General, Patriot and Traitor

benedict arnoldOne of America’s greatest generals for capturing Fort Ticonderoga with Ethan Allen and leading the charge at Saratoga, he felt unappreciated.

In 1761 Benedict Arnold had opened a general store in New Haven, CT.  With the sale of family property in 1764 Arnold became a merchant trader and began to travel to Canada and to the West Indies, where it is believed he became a Freemason.

On April 10, 1765 Benedict Arnold affiliated with Hiram Lodge No .1 in New Haven, where the minutes read: Brother Benedict Arnold is by Right Worshipful [Nathan Whiting] proposed to be made a member of the Right Worshipful Lodge and is accordingly made a member in this Lodge .

In 1767 Benedict Arnold married Margaret Manseld, the daughter of a fellow Freemason, Samuel Manseld.  Benedict Arnold aggressively joined the fight against the British. His wife Margaret died on June 19, two months after the Revolution began.  Arnold then spent the next four years fighting valiantly for the Revolution.

Arnold was a proud but enigmatic character.  Brother Mason Dr. Joseph Warren was widowed in 1773, leaving four children.  After the death of Warren at Bunker Hill, his children were orphaned.  Benedict Arnold came to their relief, true to his Masonic obligation. He had become friends with Brother Warren while in Massachusetts, and in April, 1778, Arnold contributed $500 towards their education.  He also persuaded Congress to apply a pension to support them from the date of the father’s death until the youngest child reached the age of consent.

In June of 1778 he was given command of Philadelphia.  It was here in Philadelphia that he met his second wife, Peggy Shippen, who was a Loyalist and who was formerly loved and courted by British Major André.  Peggy’s ambition is credited as one of the main reasons for Arnold s treason.

So, on August 30, 1780, General and Bro. Benedict Arnold conspired with British General Clinton to surrender West Point for 20,000 pounds, equivalent to one million dollars today.

The British courier was Major John Andre, who had courted Arnold’s wife in Philadelphia.

As Andre tried to cross to the British lines, he was searched, found with the blue prints for West Point in his boot and executed.  His capture was by three Patriots: John Paulding,  Isaac Van Wart, and David Williams.  Paulding and Williams would later become Freemasons, with Paulding joining Cortlandt Lodge No. 34 in Cortlandt, N Y in the 1790s and Williams joining Lotus Lodge No. 31 in 1827, serving as its first Junior Warden.

André was killed by hanging, as regulations relating to a spy required, but he presented so sympathetic a figure that Colonel Alexander Hamilton  (Bro. Washington’s aide-de-camp) was moved to comment, “He died universally esteemed and universally regretted.”

Arnold escaped on the ship Vulture, and later fought for the British against the Revolution.  As with the case of most traitors, the British never fully trusted him.  They did place him in command of 1,600 troops on a mission to burn Richmond, Virginia.   He died in poverty in London in 1801, and his wife Peggy and their four children returned to Philadelphia in disgrace.

Bro. George Washington wrote September 26, 1780:

“Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at West Point, was about to…give the American cause a deadly wound if not fatal stab…  Its’ discovery affords the most convincing proof that the Liberties of America are the object of divine Protection.”

On May 16, 1781 Solomon s Lodge No. 1 passed a resolution which states: “Ordered that the Name of Benedict Arnold be considered as obliterated from the Minutes of this Lodge, a Traitor.  His signature in the list of visitors to the Lodge on June 12, 1771 is crossed out in a way that allows identification of the name beneath.  Next to the statement of the 1781 resolution is a small drawing of a hand, with a finger pointing at the word Traitor.

On May 8, 1783, Yale President Ezra Stiles stated:

“A providential miracle at the last minute detected the treacherous scheme of traitor Benedict Arnold, which would have delivered the American army, including George Washington himself, into the hands of the enemy.”

As Arnold was on his deathbed, he asked to be buried in the uniform of the American Continental Army, and asked God for forgiveness in betraying the cause of liberty.

Arnold’s body is entombed in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in Battersea, London.

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The Threshing-Floor

Solomons TempleThis article has been republished with permission of the author.  Visit http://buildinghiram.blogspot.com/ for similar articles.

A House Built upon sand shall neither stand well nor stand long.(1)
— Dr. John S. Nagy


Summary: King Solomon’s choice of location to Build his Temple upon has many overlaying references that have much significance to Masons. Examining its rich history reveals Strong criteria for its selection. Masons would do well to understand the connections this Temple location has for any other Building they may conceive, design and eventually Build.
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Overview
Far too many Masons have grown up in cultures that do not give full credence to the rich metaphors that allow for instant understanding of the Masonic symbols before them. The Threshing-floor is one such metaphor of a special location for activity that all Masons should be prepared to engage in very early in their Masonic Journey.

On the Threshing-floor, the fruit of the harvest is laid out before them; further Work is put forth to separate the grain heads from the chaff that nurtured the grain to maturity. Winnowing efforts are put forth in this activity, forcing movement of the chaff away from the grain so desired.

Like threshers from any era, Masons must also learn how to separate that which is important from that which is not. Without this vital skill, further improvement in Masonry, a primary goal for Masons at any stage, will not occur. Masons should learn this skill early on as Entered Apprentice Masons and apply it at all times from then on.

This crucial skill though is not pointed out as a Foundation to which Masonry is Built upon. Archaic references to the Foundation are few and modern day Masons would be hard pressed to provide exact connections to the Foundation if they were limited to the Ritual references themselves.

Yet, if Masons took time to examine Ritual carefully and look into the history of King Solomon’s Temple, as provided by the Volume of Sacred Law and specifically the land in which it was Built upon, they would find a rich harvest of connections. Before them would be an abundance of lessons that would profit them and those they encounter. They would have examples of human desire focused in grand style to assure actions were honorable and respecting. They would discover deeper meaning and understanding that made for better choices in life. They would also create a clarity and continuity surrounding the Work that they endeavor to undertake as Masons in Masonry.

We each Build a Temple that is our own. The plans for that Temple are Masonic in origin and follow the prototype of that which was Built by King Solomon many years ago. That foundation is upon a mountain called “Moriah.” The significance of this name is important to all Masons. The significance of its history is just as important.

History
The name “Moriah” occurs first in our Volume of Sacred Law in the Book of Genesis. It is attributed to a mountain range that has a rich history that Masons would do well to know and learn from. Traditionally, Moriah is the location of a specific mountain but Rabbinical tradition often attributes many significant occurrences directly to Mount Moriah particularly; many of which Masons would benefit from by knowing how they support their Masonic Work.

Abraham
One such occurrence was the story of a man who is credited to be the father of three monotheistic religions. The Moriah mountain range was the location to which the Friend of God(2) also known as “Abraham,” intended to sacrifice his son Isaac to his Lord.(3)

As an interesting tangent to this, it is important to know what the word “sacrifice” originally meant many years ago; its meaning was “to make Holy.” It was believed at that time that gifts must be offered to that which was revered and worshiped. To do this, one must “make Holy” that gift in order for it to be acceptable. This often involved burning such offerings. This method of sacrificing is called “holocaust,” which is from a Greek root word meaning “burnt whole”; a practice which was believed to make that gift transcend into the spiritual domain. The unfortunate aspect of the word “sacrifice” today is that it has changed over the years from its original meaning. It has shifted semantically to mean “to give up” and hence “loose something;” usually for some greater good.

True sacrifice though involves no loss whatsoever. It only involves a willing act of glad-full giving. In this respect, to truly sacrifice, Masons must willingly and gladly offer up to “make Holy” that which they have been blessed with, giving only their best; no greater gift in sacrifice could be made.

As important as the act of sacrifice has been emphasized to us over the years, the Volume of Sacred Law tells us that sacrifice itself is not the most desirable actions to take. If fact, it tells us that “the performance of charity(4) and prudence(5) is more desirable to God than sacrifice.(6)” It also tells us that “Loving-kindness(7) I desire, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.(8)”

As many Masons will admit outright, much of these sentiments are emphasized in Ritual throughout the degrees.

Jacob
The next event significant to Masonic Work came with travels of the next generation. It was Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, that subsequently had occasion to visit Moriah(9) and with grand significance to Masons. It was while he was upon Moriah , that he took its freestones and made a pillow to support him in his sleep. During his sleep that night, Jacob dreamt(10) of a connection between Heaven and Earth called a “Sullam.”(11) Sullam means “a graduated ramp, staircase or ladder.” It is the first and last time this word is used within the Volume of Sacred Law.

In that dream, Jacob saw God’s Angels ascending and descending this connection. Upon waking from his dream, Jacobs said, “Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew not. This is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate to heaven.” Jacob proceeded to rename the location “Bethal”, which means “House of God.” He also set up the first of two stone pillars to acknowledge this belief, saying, “This stone which I have set for a Pillar shall be God’s House.”

The Ladder of Jacob’s dream is most significant to Masons and their Work, especially at the EA level. The ladder represents the connection between Heaven and Earth. There are too few Masons that know the double significance of this. The Compasses and Square are symbolic of Heaven and Earth too. The connection dreamt of by Jacob also exists between these two. Masons associate the rungs of Jacob’s Ladder with the Seven Virtues that are spoken of in the EA Lecture. The message Masons should glean from these elements is that the connection between Heaven and Earth, and hence Masonry itself, is Strengthened through the practice of these Virtues, as symbolized by the ladder’s rungs.

Ornan
More Masonic significance occurred years later. Mount Moriah came under ownership of a Jebusite(12) ruler named “Ornan” and whose Hittite title was “Araunah.” Ornan used the location as a threshing –floor. In modern times, threshing-floors are not what many Masons might be exposed to much less have any experience with. In fact, a random survey of Brothers may turn up only a few who understand what the act of threshing is. For many of us with a passing interest, we would look up this word and find that threshing is the act of breaking off the grain heads from the chaff that it grew upon. Further investigation would reveal that this act was followed by something called “winnowing;” a divestment of the chaff from the desired grain it was once connected to. This was sometimes done by rigorously fanning the grain and chaff but was best accomplished in a well lit open space that had lots of wind. The wind was useful in that it carried the lighter chaff away from the heavier grain by merely throwing all of it up into the air. Ornan’s Threshing floor was on the top of Mount Moriah which had both aspects of light and wind in abundance.

Of course, Masons will recognize immediately the significance of the threshing-floor. It is a place where that which is important is separated from that which is unimportant; truth from falsehood; that which nurtures from that which doesn’t; the very actions that Masons must take upon themselves as they progress through their Masonic Work. Obviously the use of Light and a fair amount of directed Wind, in the form of Spiritual guidance, is very useful in this activity. This should start to occur immediately upon Entering upon the threshing-floor.

Of interest to note: The entrance of the threshing-floor is called the “threshold.” Masons will recognize immediately that the threshold is symbolic of the entrance or porch to which all Masons must Pass through to bring them to Light and Spirit; abundantly found upon the Masonic threshing-floor within any existing Masonic Temple.

Threshing and Winnowing are common metaphors for the exercising of judgment(13) and purification.(14) They are also vital skills that help Masons to Divest themselves from the Vices and Superfluities of life.(15) The threshing-floor also symbolizes blessings and abundance for Masons. As stated in the Volume of Sacred Law: And your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress.(16), The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.(17) and When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted [to you] as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as produce of the winepress.(18)

This scripture echoes the sentiments often heard within the halls of Masonic discourse: You get from Masonry what you put in.

David
Yet further significance for Masons came into play when King David had reign over the people of this area in and around Mount Moriah. It was this very mountain location, Ornan’s Threshing-floor, that King David noticed an angel of the Lord.(19) When King David took notice, this angel was visiting a three day plague upon the surrounding communities as punishment to King David for taking a census of the war capable men within his kingdom. God didn’t like this and hence His angel was sent. When King David first noticed God’s messenger, it was about to visit that plague upon King David’s people in Jerusalem too. The angel held off though and the prophet Gad immediately instructed King David to Build an Altar to the Lord God to give thanks. King David complied immediately without any hesitation of mind in him whatsoever. The message of King David’s actions should be a clear and firm lesson to Masons: One must take action without hesitation when the instruction is sound and communicates Good Orderly Direction.

There was of course the formality of Building upon land that was not rightfully his. King David recognized this issue and made effort to purchase the threshing-floor from Ornan. Being subject to King David’s rule, Ornan offered up the land freely, along with an array of suitable sacrifices(20) for the intended Altar. King David would not hear of it however; he said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy it for the full price.”(21) His reasoning was straightforward. King David would neither take for his Lord what was someone else’s, nor offer burnt offerings which cost him nothing.(22)

His actions offered some other clear and firm lessons for all Masons to learn from. One lesson was to make sure that the Foundation one Builds upon and what was to be offered to be “made Holy” was procured fairly and equitably before proceeding. Another lesson provided was to treat others fairly and rightfully even if one may reign over them. Yet another lesson that is important for Masons to note is to deal in such a way that there is never any question of ownership.

Solomon
Mount Moriah’s significance to Masons doesn’t stop there. It is also the location where King David’s son, King Solomon, Built a Temple and dwelling place for the Most High. The Temple was Built upon what was originally Ornan’s Threshing-floor, and surrounded King David’s Altar, the eventual resting place of the Arc of the Covenant.

Masons use the Building of King Solomon’s Temple as a basis for many of the metaphors and symbols used within Masonry. One such symbol, the checkered pavement found upon the ground floor which occupies the very place where threshing once occurred, should remind Masons of the “Wheat and Chaff” that must be separated in their own lives once they are initiated into the fellowship; a skill that becomes more and more valuable as other Work is taken on in higher degrees.

Candidates arriving at this threshing-floor, approach it from “the lofty towers of Babel, where language was confounded and Masonry lost.” Coming upon this threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, they find that language is restored and Masonry is found. Upon initiation, Masons come out of the profane world, filled with much darkness, ignorance and confusion, as there was at the tower of Babel, and that they approach a Masonic world, where there is Light, Understanding and Order, as at the Temple Built upon Ornan’s threshing-floor.

Review
Reviewing all these events should help bring things into prospective as to the overall significance of this Temple Mount location. The place where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac; where Jacob dreamt of a heavenly connection and acknowledged God’s presence; where King Ornan threshed to separate the important from the unimportant; where King David Built an Altar in thanks to the Lord; where King Solomon built a Temple to House that Altar and the Lord; all occurred upon Moriah. As significant as all these events may now seem to Masonic readers, the meaning behind this specific location should bear far more significance.

For all of these events to unfold, specific aspects needed to be in place. A willingness to offer to “make Holy” blessings was one such aspect. A willingness to separate that which is important from that which is not is another. A willingness to acknowledge God’s presence and the connection between Heaven and Earth was a third and forth. A willingness to Build Sacred structures was a fifth aspect. Masons may ask themselves “what was the driving force behind all this willingness; what supported all this?” And they would not have far to look to find the answer.

Moriah means “God is my Teacher.” Strict interpretation of the word conveys that it specifically means “ordained/considered by Yahweh.” Being the Foundation of so many events, it is clear that all of them were supported upon the Instruction of God.

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About the Article: This article is based on the Masonic writings, “The Threshing-floor” and “The Threshing-floor Catechism” written by Dr. John S. Nagy. They are found in the book “Building Boaz – Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education – Volume 2” by the same author. The book is published by PG Publishing.

About the Author: Dr. John S. Nagy is a Master Mason and member of Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252 in Tampa Bay Florida and also the Florida Lodge of Research. He is their Lodge Musician and occasional Masonic Education provider.

(1) Matthew 7:26-27
(2) Isaiah 41:8, 2 Chronicles 20:7
(3) Genesis 22:10
(4) tzedakah
(5) judgment
(6) Proverbs 21:3
(7) mercy
(8) Hosea 6:6
(9) Although the location of this event is clearly stated as not Moriah in the Volume of Sacred Law, Rabbinical tradition states that this location was indeed accepted as Mount Moriah.
(10) Genesis 28:12
(11) Those interested in the construct of Hebrew words would do well to investigate the significance of the Hebrew letters “SLM.”
(12) 1 Chronicles 21:15
(13) Daniel 2:35
(14) Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17
(15) Hosea 13:3
(16) Numbers 18:27
(17) Joel 2:24
(18) Numbers 18:30
(19) 1 Chronicles 21:16
(20) 1 Chronicles 21:23
(21) 1 Chronicles 21:22
(22) 1 Chronicles 21:24

nagyDr. John Nagy is an amazing author, coach, mentor and Freemason.  Follow him on Facebook and on his blog.

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To Relieve the Distressed is a Duty Incumbent On All

Faith_Hope_CharityTo relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all, but particularly on Masons, who are linked together buy an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and restore peace to their troubled minds is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.” A careful reading of these sentences used in many Masonic Monitors is the only guide any Master Mason, no matter how inexperienced, really needs to point the way to Masonic Charity.

Yet, charity as practiced by the Fraternity is not well understood by many Masons and almost invariably misunderstood by the profane world. Masonry is not, “Per se,” a benevolent organization. It is not formed for the purpose of mutual relief from pecuniary distress, and its finances are neither gathered nor managed with that end in view. For those who wish fraternal insurance, a sick benefit organization, or a fraternal provisions for old age, there are many orders, run with wisdom and excellent in execution.

Masonry is something much greater; it ministers to a man’s heart and mind rather than to his body. True Fraternal affection and pity for the unfortunate lead Masons to take care of their dependents, to establish homes for their aged and infirm, to give to the needy and to relieve the distressed. All lodges spend money for charity; in many lodges it is the largest item of expense.

But the greatest charity which Freemasonry provides for its members is charity of thought; the greatest relief it can render is relief of the spirit.

The individual brother, newly raised, is often perturbed as to where his individual Masonic Benefactions should begin and end. Oddly enough, his geographic situation has much to do with the answer he must make. In the larger centers he will find a Masonic Board of Review, the business of which it is to relieve the distress of worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans when the case is beyond the jurisdiction of an individual lodge. Thus, a stranger in a large city, in need of Masonic assistance, should not try to obtain it from an individual Mason or lodge, but from the organization maintained by Masons for that purpose. The individual Mason, solicited for help by one claiming to be a Mason, can do no better or more wisely than to refer such an appeal to the Board for action.

If this seems colder than the degrees seem to teach, reflect that all Masonic actions may have two angles; and that open-handed relief given by the individual Masons in good faith to a Masonic impostor, ridicules the Fraternity and nullifies its efforts. And, alas, there “Are” Masonic impostors; men without heart or conscience who are either renegade Masons in fact, or who fraudulently have obtained a Masonic card and pretend to a knowledge of Masonry they do not have, all for the purpose of living by their wits off the good will of real masons.

It is better that the individual Mason contribute to the upkeep of a rascal, than, that he refuse a worthy appeal. In localities where there is no Board of Relief to investigate, satisfy yourself of your applicant’s character and honor as best you may, and then give according to your means.

Luckily for us all, our charity is highly organized and well administered. Few organizations can get more actual relief than our Fraternity for the money expended. Masonic Homes are institutions where relief is given the aged and infirm, the orphan and the widow; these, our guests, are not recipients of charity, but of the affectionate care which all brethren give to those they love. These homes are wonderful institutions, but they are not compelled to ask individual contributions from lodge members; they take their chief support from regular appropriations made from dues or fees, or both.

It is charity of thought and act rather than charity of money and material things that demands a Masons attention. Here the field is as wide as the world and activities have no limit. The most common opportunity given to us all is that of visiting the sick. Only a brother who has been ill, especially if in a hospital or in a strange city who, because of their common brotherhood, has received visits from men he has not previously met, truly understands the beneficial effects of such examples of Masonic charity. Doctors tell that such visits have often done more than all their medicines; there is nothing more heartening to a man, feeble and ill, than the thought that someone cares.

Another charity which we can all extend is that of faith. When our brother fails in business; when our brother is accused of some offense; when our brother is criticized; when our brother is in any trouble whatever; the helping hand extended, the words “My Brother, I believe in you, I am with you,” mean much . . . Oh, so much. And they cost . . . just nothing at all!

And the most beautiful charity of all . . . charity of opinion! This we can all give in large measure, pressed down and running over, thirteen to the dozen! Let us not be judges of our brother! Let us not try to make ourselves the keepers of his conscience. Let us, indeed, “in the most friendly manner remind him of his faults,” but let us first be very sure that our own houses are not of glass. Let us speak no ill of a brother; let us keep our critical thoughts to ourselves. Let us remember that as we judge him, so must we be judged; that the Fraternity and its reputation do not depend upon what we think of him, but what the world thinks of us!

So shall we offer the truest Masonic charity, and some day find that it comes back to us many fold.

In each of the great majority of Grand Lodge Jurisdictions there is a Masonic Home, to which the Fraternity invites as its beloved guests those Masons, Mason’s widows, dependents and children who are not otherwise protected from need or sorrow.

Guests of a Masonic home are no more objects of charity than is the mother who blesses by her presence the home you support; or the father or grandfather whose place at your fireside, left vacant, could never be filled. For these, our well beloved brethren and their loved ones, we delight to care, to make their lives easy and happy, to relieve their distress, not as “Charity,” but as a grateful and devoted service we render to those we love, and those dear to those we love, “Because” we love them!

You, as a Master Mason, contribute to the support of your Masonic home. A certain proportion of the dues you pay to your lodge is set aside for the maintenance and support of that Masonic Home. And you may . . . many Master Masons do . . . feel that your duty ends when you pay that which your By-Laws demand of you.

But there is nothing easier in this world than “Check-Benevolence.” It requires neither care, nor attention, nor time, nor effort to write a check. Anyone can do it who has a bank account!

But he who gives “Time and Service” gives mightily. Your Masonic Home probably is not in need of your services; it has its own paid staff, and needs no outside assistance, so far as routine duties are concerned. But no one can pay another to do for that Home what you can do – visit it!

Don’t say, “I live too far away.” In miles you may live too far away to go often in person; it will pay you to go once, at least, to see for yourself the outward and visible expression of the “Brotherly Aid” which is here practiced in its most beautiful form. Nor do you live to far away to write a letter now and then, to some Master Mason who lives in that Home.

“But, I don’t know him!”

Make it your business to know him! You and he have knelt at the same Altar. You have taken the same obligation. You belong to the same Order. You are brothers. Do you “Need” an introduction?

Send him a line! Send him a magazine. Send him a newspaper. Send him a clipping, a joke, a verse; it doesn’t matter much what you send; the point is that you must take a real personal interest in your brother, who is too old to work, too ill to labor, too handicapped in some way to make his way unaided. Masonry puts its strong right arm under his feeble body and helps him over the rough places. He has borne the heat and burden of the day; you are young and strong. You would spring forward with much joy to help an old man across a crowded and dangerous street. Well, here are old men crossing the crowded Street of Life and the helping hand of a younger brother is a comfort and protection.

Man may not live by bread alone. Give these, our guests, the best of food, the finest of care, the most comfortable of homes, and they cannot go happily down the hill to their Journey’s End if we withhold that touch of affectionate brotherhood which can only personally be given.

Do not think that Masonry neglects her guests. Lodges frequently arrange and conduct entertainment, or religious service, or plan an outing. But necessarily these are all impersonal. What you can do is give the “Personal Touch.”

And then . . . the children! For there are many children in Masonic Homes; little ones whose Master Mason Father has answered the Last Call, whose Mother cannot undertake their support, or who may have “No Mother.” You don’t need to be told what to do for children – “Or Do You?”

The widow of a Master Mason of a certain lodge fought a game fight as long as she could; then asked for help. The lodge saw that she and her little daughter became guests of the Home. The lodge looked after them well, too; the daughter had a business education as soon as she was old enough. A little group of men used to meet after lodge for a midnight lunch; they were the bone and sinew of the lodge. And every man put a coin in a cup when he paid his check, and on birthdays and at Christmas time the result of that coin-cup went to the little girl for her very own – to purchase those things which even the best of Homes does not buy. And there was many an extra contribution to her happiness; wives of lodge members took her to the theater and the concert and the lecture; lodge members took her and her mother for automobile rides; there was always a subscription to a magazine being paid by someone . . . for these were the dear ones of a Master Mason of that lodge.

And that lodge is no different, and no better, and has no finer men, than your lodge, than any lodge!

Your Masonic Home is “Your” Home, if you need it. It is also your home in the sense that you are a host. Those who live there are your guests. Make them happy! It costs so little, it means so much, it takes so little time, and makes so much for Brotherhood.

There was once a Son who taught the world of the Fatherhood of God. And He Said, “Inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these . . . !”

Author Unknown …..

Special thanks to

RW David J. McDowell, D.D.G.M Third Kings

who posted this on Atholl1781 distribution list.

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The Lost Colony

Apprentice PillarPresented by VSM Martin W. Leukhardt

March 1, 2014

Charles Harry Copestake Council 69 AMD

During visit to Rosslyn Chapel, its carvings allegedly secret messages. I looked for three things:

Stone carving of Templar Initiation: Kneeling Initiate holding Bible, with cable-tow about neck held by a Knight Templar standing behind him.

Latin Inscription: wine is strong, the King stronger, and woman stronger still.. …but truth the strongest of all.

Stone arch carvings of maize (Indian corn) and aloe.

Why the latter? (North American?) Done 50 years before Columbus allegedly discovered America!

The answer comes clear when one investigates the family roots of the St. Clairs (or Sinclairs).

To do so, one must go back in history to the Norsemen who explored and ravaged much of the European world from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and Ireland to Russia. (discovery and settlement of Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, etc.)

One Norse adventurer by the name of Rollo gathered a large force and ravaged Northwestern France…..even sailed up the Seine to attack Paris. That did it. The King of France ceded the area now known as Normandy to Rollo. The Northmen settled and became known as Normans. The St. Clairs are descended from Rollo and prospered in Normandy.

When the Norman William the Bastard launched his invasion of England in 1066, there were at least 8 St. Clair knights riding with him at the Battle of Hastings.

The Norman Nobility who fought for William were rewarded with huge land holdings throughout England and Scotland. The St. Clair William the Seemly was given Rosslyn where he built a castle.

Through family heritage and marriage, the St. Clair’s also held title as jahrls of Orkney and owed allegiance to the King of Denmark. The people of the Orkney Isles were fishermen and seafarers.

Henry St. Clair and a Genovese named Zeno set sail with 12 ships in 1398 to Nova Scotia and then down the Northeastern coast of North America.

Made several additional journeys and allegedly carried out his dream of colonizing ARCADIA. The Indians of Rhode Island and Massachusetts have legends of the men who came on ships and taught them how to fish with nets. (Orkneys?) Sir Henry apparently developed a good relationship with the Indian inhabitants of his New Arcadia.

Sir Henry Sinclair spent so much time away for the next four years that the King of England encroached upon his holdings to take them away during his absence. When he returned he was killed in battle defending his holdings.

Now fast forward to 1524 and an Italian navigator named Giovanni da Verrazano. Born 1485 into a wealthy family of Florence that gave him connections, he was imbued with the new ideas and knowledge the city that gave birth to new ideas at the height of the Renaissance. (Artistic freedom, freedom from the tyranny of the Church and its Inquisition, development of exploration, learning and open exchange of ideas)

He became a mariner and connected with people of like background and thinking in Northern Italy (Genoa and Venice). There appeared to be an underground of adherents to certain secrets, of which he became a part. The ships on which he served were in the service of Portugal and France. There is some evidence that in 1521 he was commissioned by the King of France to attack Spanish ships. He subsequently convinced the King of France to commission an exploration of the Coast of l\Jorth America (to find a route to the Pacific Ocean). The financial backers of his venture were silk merchants.

In 1524, Verrazano and his brother Girolamo, a map maker, sailed from Madeira on the ship Dauphine (named after the French King) manned by 50 men and equipped with provisions for eight months. Forty-nine days later, around the second week of March, the Daupine reached what is now the coast of North Carolina. The first land he saw he called Annunziata, near the modern Cape Hatteras. He traveled north along the outer banks and named them Verrazania and the area itself Francesca.

He never stopped to explore the other side of the Outer Banks, the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay or the Hudson River. So was he really looking for a passage to the Pacific? He went north non-stop along the coast until he reached what is now New York bay at a place now named the Verrazano Narrows. (Bridge) He sailed to the upper bay, saw what is now Manhattan and called it d’ Angoule’me. It is thought that he named it after the title of Francis I before he became King of France. Others say it was named after the 14th Century Templar Fortress near the French port city of New Rochelle where the treasure of the Paris Temple may have been stored until it was placed aboard the ships of the Templar fleet in 1307.

Then he coasted the southern shore of Long Island, at the end of which he sailed north past what is now Block Island to another Island that he named after Rhodes, the idyllic landscape in Sannazaro’s Arcadia. (Eventually became the name of the entire State of Rhode Island.) The concept of ARCADIA referred to an ideal landscape where a virtuous people could live in peace.

At the mouth of Narragansett Bay, it is recorded that he received help from the Natives who guided him safely into the inner harbor. Samuel Morrison, the maritime historian, affirms that Verrazano’s ship was “piloted by an Indian” from Point Judith, through the narrow divide between Beavertail Point on Conanicut and Breton Point on Aquidneck, past the small Dumplings, and into the inner harbor, where he anchored. (Imagine: In Naragansett Bay, he found an “Indian” who was trustworthy and somehow knowledgeable enough to pilot the ship.)

This was the only place where Verrazano spent any time. (2 weeks) He remarked on the tendency of some of the Native population to appear European. There is evidence that the Wampanoag came in contact with Europeans before. E.g.: the Celtic/Norse word for boat was batos; the Algonquin word was pados.

The secret mission of Verrazano all along was to locate a Templar colony, founded under the leadership of the Sinclair family. In this mission he succeeded. Within the inner harbor was a Templar Baptistry built of local materials but resembled European models and shared the measurements of those built by both Templars and Cistercians. Even though the Baptistry was out of place, Verrazano showed no surprise and the map drawn by Girolamo referred to it simply as a “Norman Villa”.

Verrazano called the Newport site Refugio, lithe Refuge”. He didn’t say who he thought had been in need of refuge. He told the King that the Natives called the land Norumbega and Anorumbega, the former meaning “Norse” and the latter “Norman” …….Native American names for the village of the Northmen ……the men who visited from the North. This would have included French Norman survivors of the Templar demise, as well as Scottish eX-Templars and Orkney mariners.

From there he sailed north, missed Nova Scotia, to Newfoundland and Labrador. He returned to the French port of Dieppe and landed on 8 July 1524. He had not found a sea route to Cathay. (There is no evidence he even tried.) He did make a new map which added to what was known of the coastline ……but that was of little use to his backers……they were silk merchants. But he did find the American Arcadia ……a colony planted a century before. But unfortunately the colony had not survived. Nevertheless, his secret mission was fulfilled.

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Temperance =/= Prohibition.

willardBy the Rev. Dr. Mark D. Isaacs,

Charles Harry Copestake AMD Council, No. 69

March 1, 2014

Moderation in all things.”[1]

“Learn to subdue your passions and improve yourself in Freemasonry.”

 

The recent ignominious needle-still-in-the-arm heroin death of the well-known actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967- 2014) set me to thinkin’.

Our culture–and our Society–seems to have forgotten the ancient virtue of Temperance.  As a result, we live in a time of extreme this, and extreme that.  Everything must be X-TREME!   Xtreme cars; xtreme lashes; xtreme hair; xtreme music; xtreme tattoos; xtreme snowboards; xtreme deodorant.   All of this is extremely tedious!   “Extreme everything” appears to be the working motto of our present dysfunctional age.

In our First Degree ritual we hear–and learn–of the Four Cardinal Virtues: Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, and Justice.  Freemasons have taught these virtues to their Entered Apprentices for centuries.

It is important to note that the Four Cardinal Virtues are not unique to Freemasonry.  These virtues actually date back to at least the time of Plato (428 B.C.-354 B.C.) and the Ancient Greeks.

In the West, the Four Cardinal Virtues have been integrated into the Judeo-Christian world-view.  For example, in Jewish thought, in The Wisdom of Solomon we read, Wisdom [Sophia] “teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage.  Nothing in life is more profitable for morals than these (8:7).”

With St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (c. 340-397 A.D.), and St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), these well-known Hellenistic virtues were incorporated into the teachings of Roman Catholic moral philosophy.[2]  St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) ranked Temperance as the fourth of the Cardinal Virtues, because it serves Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude.  Moderation of our own desires is essential to acting rightly (Prudence); in giving each man his due (Justice); and in standing strong in the face of adversity (Fortitude).  Temperance is that virtue which attempts to overcome the human condition that “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (St. Mark 14:38).”  These Virtues were transmitted into the practical philosophy of the cathedral building medieval stonemasons.

The Four Cardinal Virtues are typically combined with the three Theological Virtues or Graces of “Faith, Hope, and Charity/Agape Love” found in I Corinthians 13:13.  The Four Cardinal Virtues, plus the three Theological Virtues, compose “the Seven Heavenly Virtues.”   For hundreds of years, these Seven Virtues have been accepted by thoughtful Western people as rock solid morals to live by.

On Temperance

When most people hear the word “Temperance” they tend to think that it applies only to the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

According to Merriam-Webster, the first definition of Temperance is “the practice of drinking little or no alcohol.”   The second definition is “the practice of always controlling your actions, thoughts, or feelings so that you do not eat or drink too much, become too angry, etc.”

The word “Temperance” comes from Middle English, from Anglo-French, and from Latin temperantia, from temperant, temperans, present participle of temperare, “to moderate, be moderate.”  It was first used in written form during the 14th century.

The Broader and Deeper Definition

In Freemasonry, the word Temperance embraces the second broader and deeper Merriam-Webster definition.  Temperance means moderation in all things.  The word “all” includes everything from alcohol, to doughnuts, to so-called health habits [e.g., veganism to “binge and purge” dieting].  According to Masonic philosophy, anything–and any activity–in extreme is to be shunned and avoided.  The Mason works to live his life “on the Level,” and “by the Plumb.”  We strive to live life right “on the Square.”

In practice, a Mason is to avoid excessive wasteful living habits.  We should strive to live well-balanced and well-rounded lives.

Temperance, with this broader and correct definition, includes the control of emotions [such as road-rage and anger] when dealing with brother Masons, our families, our business associates, and our neighbors.  In other words, we are not to be controlled and swept away by our irrational emotions.  Thus, rather than staging a “road-rage” incident, in the face of a conflict or crisis we are to remain calm and rational.  Rather than angry outbursts, we need to calmly seek solutions, peaceful resolutions, and creative alternatives.  Temperance provides a workman with a solid foundation to rebuild broken and fallen life situations.

Temperance also includes not over indulging in food [gluttony] or drink [drunkenness (including here all forms of illicit drug use)].  We all know that gluttony and/or drunkenness can lead to death and destruction.  We are all aware of friends and family members who struggle with eating disorders, and from effects of chronic alcoholism.  The cost of deviating from the virtue of Temperance devastates families and robs individuals from achieving their full potential.

Masonically speaking, the excessive use of liquor can also make a Brother loquacious.   A liquor-driven, loquacious Brother can cause a lapse in judgment leading to a loss of secrets entrusted by fellow Masons.  Observance of Temperance allows Masons of all walks of life, regardless of societal or monetary class, to freely share in their commonality in our temples.

The Ancients taught that Temperance, like all of the virtues, are beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit.  The individual–as well as Society–benefit when citizens are self-regulating, peaceful, and moderate in their daily lives.

 The Critical Distinction between Temperance and Prohibition

In common parlance many people tend to blur the distinction between Temperance and Prohibition.  The virtue of Temperance is an individual choice and a discipline based on self-control and moderation.

Prohibition, on the other hand, is a collectivist and Statist “top down” program that attempts to use the force of the Law to control individual behavior and to enforce “a higher” morality.

As the United States learned during the Prohibition Era (1919-1933)–with the passage of the 18th Amendment–Prohibition produced and created the opposite effect!  Rather than creating a sober and moral society, Prohibition drove the production and consumption of alcohol into the underground economy resulting in increased gang violence, widespread political corruption, and a general increase in social chaos.[3]  This “noble experiment” was abandon in 1932 when Brother and President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) was elected President.  This led to the final repeal of the Volstead Amendment in 1933.[4]

The problem is, to this day, many people still confuse and blur the distinction between Temperance and Prohibition.  Historically speaking, this occurred because of the tireless work of organizations such as The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).[5]  The WCTU was founded in 1873.  It was the first mass organization among American women devoted purely to

political action and social reform.  The WCTU effectively linked zealous secular and religious reformers through a series of sophisticated and far-reaching strategies.

The WCTU was inspired by the Greek writer Xenophon (c. 430-354 B.C.), who defined Temperance as “moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful.”  Rather than a personal weakness, an individual choice, or moral failing, the WCTU perceived alcoholism as both the root cause and consequence of an entire range of larger societal problems.

The WCTU’s most effective leader was the remarkable Frances Willard (1839-1898).  Willard, who served as WCTU president for 19 years, was an energetic American educator, temperance reformer, political organizer, and women’s suffragist.  She was instrumental in the passage of both the 18th (Prohibition) and 19th (Women Suffrage) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.[6]

Willard became the national president of the WCTU in 1879.   Her personal slogan was “Do Everything” to incite the women of the WCTU into action.  This included preaching, publicizing, publishing, petitioning, lobbying, and education.

Willard’s greater Progressive vision included federal aid to education, free school lunches, unions for workers, the eight-hour work day, work relief for the poor, public health, municipal sanitation and boards of health, national transportation, strong anti-rape laws, international peace, and protections against child abuse.  The WCTU also agitated against the use of tobacco.  As early as 1885 the WCTU formed a special “Department for the Overthrow of the Tobacco Habit.”

 Conclusion

For contemporary Masons, when we discuss the virtue of Temperance, it is vital for us to personally understand this mentally and spiritually healthful concept of “moderation in all things.”  As our ritual states, “this virtue [Temperance] should be your constant practice as you are thereby taught to avoid excess [i.e., xtreme everything!].”

Then, when we explain this concept to others, it is vital to state that this is a powerful concept for individual moral improvement.  Freemasonry strives “to make good men better.”  It is also vital to explain that we are not advocating WCTU style prohibitionist measures.  A series of new laws are not going to make our Society a better place.

Our world can only become better if each individual strives to work these classical virtues and to incorporate them into their own lives.  We should learn from the tragic death of individuals such as Philip Seymour Hoffman that Temperance [well-practiced], and not a chemically induced “escape from reality” is the way to make the world a better place.

Therefore, for a Freemason, Temperance is much more than not drinking alcohol.  Temperance is self-discipline.  Temperance is a way of life.  Temperance is a way of thinking.  Temperance is not passé.  It is a new-old way of approaching the many challenges and the problems of this world.

The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice.


[1] “Moderation in all things,” is an extrapolation of Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Golden Mean (presented in Nicomachean Ethics).  His ethic works around finding the mean–or middle ground–between excess and deficiency.  An example of this would be his presentation of courage being the happy medium between the extreme of rash action and the deficiency of cowardice, in respect to a person’s possible action in the face of danger.

[2] Catechism of the [Roman] Catholic Church (Liquori, MO: Liquori Publications, 1994 ), Article 7:1805 and 1809, p.p.443-445.

[3] Edward Behr, Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1996), pp.161-173.

[4] Ibid., pp.234-236.

[5] In addition to the WCTU, the Prohibition Party, the Masonic-like International Order of Good Templars, the American Temperance Society, and The Anti-Saloon League all worked to pass Prohibition legislation.  The powerful Anti-Saloon League, established in 1893 was dissolved in 1933.  It was the leading organization lobbying for Prohibition in the United States in the early 20th century.  It was a key component of the Progressive Era, and was strongest in the South and rural North, drawing heavy support from Pietistic Protestant ministers and their congregations, especially Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, and Congregationalists.

[6] Ibid., pp.38-39.

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To Sympathize

Faith_Hope_CharityAuthor Unknown

“To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all, but particularly on Masons, who are linked together buy an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and restore peace to their troubled minds is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.” A careful reading of these sentences used in many Masonic Monitors is the only guide any Master Mason, no matter how inexperienced, really needs to point the way to Masonic Charity.

Yet, charity as practiced by the Fraternity is not well understood by many Masons and almost invariably misunderstood by the profane world. Masonry is not, “Perse,” a benevolent organization. It is not formed for the purpose of mutual relief from pecuniary distress, and its finances are neither gathered nor managed with that end in view. For those who wish fraternal insurance, a sick benefit organization, or a fraternal provisions for old age, there are many orders, run with wisdom and excellent in execution.

Masonry is something much greater; it ministers to a man’s heart and mind rather than to his body. True Fraternal affection and pity for the unfortunate lead Masons to take care of their dependents, to establish homes for their aged and infirm, to give to the needy and to relieve the distressed. All lodges spend money for charity; in many lodges it is the largest item of expense.

But the greatest charity which Freemasonry provides for its members is charity of thought; the greatest relief it can render is relief of the spirit.

The individual brother, newly raised, is often perturbed as to where his individual Masonic Benefactions should begin and end. Oddly enough, his geographic situation has much to do with the answer he must make. In the larger centers he will find a Masonic Board of Review, the business of which it is to relieve the distress of worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans when the case is beyond the jurisdiction of an individual lodge. Thus, a stranger in a large city, in need of Masonic assistance, should not try to obtain it from an individual Mason or lodge, but from the organization maintained by Masons for that purpose. The individual Mason, solicited for help by one claiming to be a Mason, can do no better or more wisely than to refer such an appeal to the Board for action.

If this seems colder than the degrees seem to teach, reflect that all Masonic actions may have two angles; and that open-handed relief given by the individual Masons in good faith to a Masonic impostor, ridicules the Fraternity and nullifies its efforts. And, alas, there “Are” Masonic impostors; men without heart or conscience who are either renegade Masons in fact, or who fraudulently have obtained a Masonic card and pretend to a knowledge of Masonry they do not have, all for the purpose of living by their wits off the good will of real masons.

It is better that the individual Mason contribute to the upkeep of a rascal, than, that he refuse a worthy appeal. In localities where there is no Board of Relief to investigate, satisfy yourself of your applicant’s character and honor as best you may, and then give according to your means.

Luckily for us all, our charity is highly organized and well administered. Few organizations can get more actual relief than our Fraternity for the money expended. Masonic Homes are institutions where relief is given the aged and infirm, the orphan and the widow; these, our guests, are not recipients of charity, but of the affectionate care which all brethren give to those they love. These homes are wonderful institutions, but they are not compelled to ask individual contributions from lodge members; they take their chief support from regular appropriations made from dues or fees, or both.

It is charity of thought and act rather than charity of money and material things that demands a Masons attention. Here the field is as wide as the world and activities have no limit. The most common opportunity given to us all is that of visiting the sick. Only a brother who has been ill, especially if in a hospital or in a strange city who, because of their common brotherhood, has received visits from men he has not previously met, truly understands the beneficial effects of such examples of Masonic charity. Doctors tell that such visits have often done more than all their medicines; there is nothing more heartening to a man, feeble and ill, than the thought that someone cares.

Another charity which we can all extend is that of faith. When our brother fails in business; when our brother is accused of some offense; when our brother is criticized; when our brother is in any trouble whatever; the helping hand extended, the words “My Brother, I believe in you, I am with you,” mean much . . . Oh, so much. And they cost . . . just nothing at all!

And the most beautiful charity of all . . . charity of opinion! This we can all give in large measure, pressed down and running over, thirteen to the dozen! Let us not be judges of our brother! Let us not try to make ourselves the keepers of his conscience. Let us, indeed, “in the most friendly manner remind him of his faults,” but let us first be very sure that our own houses are not of glass. Let us speak no ill of a brother; let us keep our critical thoughts to ourselves. Let us remember that as we judge him, so must we be judged; that the Fraternity and its reputation do not depend upon what we think of him, but what the world thinks of us!

So shall we offer the truest Masonic charity, and some day find that it comes back to us many fold.

In each of the great majority of Grand Lodge Jurisdictions there is a Masonic Home, to which the Fraternity invites as its beloved guests those Masons, Mason’s widows, dependents and children who are not otherwise protected from need or sorrow.

Guests of a Masonic home are no more objects of charity than is the mother who blesses by her presence the home you support; or the father or grandfather whose place at your fireside, left vacant, could never be filled. For these, our well beloved brethren and their loved ones, we delight to care, to make their lives easy and happy, to relieve their distress, not as “Charity,” but as a grateful and devoted service we render to those we love, and those dear to those we love, “Because” we love them!

You, as a Master Mason, contribute to the support of your Masonic home. A certain proportion of the dues you pay to your lodge is set aside for the maintenance and support of that Masonic Home. And you may . . . many Master Masons do . . . feel that your duty ends when you pay that which your By-Laws demand of you.

But there is nothing easier in this world than “Check-Benevolence.” It requires neither care, nor attention, nor time, nor effort to write a check. Any one can do it who has a bank account!

But he who gives “Time and Service” gives mightily. Your Masonic Home probably is not in need of your services; it has its own paid staff, and needs no outside assistance, so far as routine duties are concerned. But no one can pay another to do for that Home what you can do – visit it!

Don’t say, “I live too far away.” In miles you may live too far away to go often in person; it will pay you to go once, at least, to see for yourself the outward and visible expression of the “Brotherly Aid” which is here practiced in its most beautiful form. Nor do you live to far away to write a letter now and then, to some Master Mason who lives in that Home.

“But, I don’t know him!”

Make it your business to know him! You and he have knelt at the same Altar. You have taken the same obligation. You belong to the same Order. You are brothers. Do you “Need” an introduction?

Send him a line! Send him a magazine. Send him a newspaper. Send him a clipping, a joke, a verse; it doesn’t matter much what you send; the point is that you must take a real personal interest in your brother, who is too old to work, too ill to labor, too handicapped in some way to make his way unaided. Masonry puts its strong right arm under his feeble body and helps him over the rough places. He has borne the heat and burden of the day; you are young and strong. You would spring forward with much joy to help an old man across a crowded and dangerous street. Well, here are old men crossing the crowded Street of Life and the helping hand of a younger brother is a comfort and protection.

Man may not live by bread alone. Give these, our guests, the best of food, the finest of care, the most comfortable of homes, and they cannot go happily down the hill to their Journey’s End if we withhold that touch of affectionate brotherhood which can only personally be given.

Do not think that Masonry neglects her guests. Lodges frequently arrange and conduct entertainment, or religious service, or plan an outing. But necessarily these are all impersonal. What you can do is give the “Personal Touch.”

And then . . . the children! For there are many children in Masonic Homes; little ones whose Master Mason Father has answered the Last Call, whose Mother cannot undertake their support, or who may have “No Mother.” You don’t need to be told what to do for children – “Or Do You?”

The widow of a Master Mason of a certain lodge fought a game fight as long as she could; then asked for help. The lodge saw that she and her little daughter became guests of the Home. The lodge looked after them well, too; the daughter had a business education as soon as she was old enough. A little group of men used to meet after lodge for a midnight lunch; they were the bone and sinew of the lodge. And every man put a coin in a cup when he paid his check, and on birthdays and at Christmas time the result of that coin-cup went to the little girl for her very own – to purchase those things which even the best of Homes does not buy. And there was many an extra contribution to her happiness; wives of lodge members took her to the theater and the concert and the lecture; lodge members took her and her mother for automobile rides; there was always a subscription to a magazine being paid by some one . . . for these were the dear ones of a Master Mason of that lodge.

And that lodge is no different, and no better, and has no finer men, than your lodge, than any lodge!

Your Masonic Home is “Your” Home, if you need it. It is also your home in the sense that you are a host. Those who live there are your guests. Make them happy! It costs so little, it means so much, it takes so little time, and makes so much for Brotherhood.

There was once a Son who taught the world of the Fatherhood of God. And He Said, “Inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these . . . !”

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DIFFERENT KINDS OF MASONS

steps_of_freemasonryOld Tyler Talks by Carl Claudy

“I’m almost through!” The New Brother displayed a sheaf of cards to the Old Tiler. “Soon I will have joined them all and become every kind of Mason there is.”

“What do you know about the kinds of Masons there are?” asked the Old Tiler, interested. “You have not been a Master Mason long enough to
gain all that knowledge!”

“That’s not hard to gain with all the brethren poking petitions at
you.

There are Scottish Rite Masons and York Rite Masons and Templar
Masons and Chapter Masons and Council Masons, and.”

“Oh!” The Old Tiler said, “I didn’t understand. I thought you
couldn’t have learned yet.”

“Learned what? Are there some more kinds of Masons?”

“Indeed, yes! Answered the Old Tiler. “A great many kinds. But, seven
you haven’t mentioned stand out more prominently than others.”

“Do tell me! I thought I had joined most of them…”

“You don’t join these. You become one, or are made one, or grow into
one of them. For instance, there is the “King Solomon Mason.” He
thinks that everything that Solomon did as a Mason is right and
everything he didn’t do is wrong. To him, Masonry was conceived, born
and grew up in the shadow of King Solomon and every word of the
legend is literally true, much like the man who refuses to believe
the earth is round, because a verse in the Bible refers to the ‘four
corners of the earth!’ The King Solomon Mason lives his Masonry
according to his light; perhaps it’s not his fault it is so dim.

“To the “Ritual Mason,” the importance of Masonry is the form of its
words.

A good Mason in his belief is one who can repeat a lecture from end
to end without a slip. A man may do battle, murder, or cause sudden
death, commit arson or run away with a neighbor’s wife; but if he
knows his ritual letter perfect, it ‘was all a mistake!’ The man who
doesn’t know his ritual letter perfect is not, in this man’s eyes, a
good Mason; not though he give to charity with both hands and carry
love for his fellowman in both head and heart.

“The “Practical Mason” looks at life from a utilitarian standpoint. He
prefers electricity to candles for the Lesser Lights because they are
simpler and prefers candles to electricity because they are cheaper.
He thinks a choir is impractical because it produces nothing
permanent and would rather spend the money for printed matter or a
new carpet. He is at his best when raising money for a new temple and
at his worst when asked to express himself upon the spirit of
Masonry. His hand is in his pocket for charity, but never for
entertainment. He is usually on the finance committee and recommends
a budget in which rent and heat and light are bigger than relief.

“The “Heart Mason” is the opposite. He is full of impractical
schemes. He wants to start a new temple which will never be built. He
talks much of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, but
is absent when the hat is passed and the committee on funds needs a
few workers to go out and gather in. The heart Mason is the lodge sob-
sister; he usually seconds any motion to spend any amount of money
for flowers or to send a brother away for his health and always makes
a little tear-filled speech about the fatherless loved ones, even if
the dear departed died a bachelor.

The “Business Mason” belongs because he thinks it helps his job. He
usually sits next to the solid business man in lodge and likes to
tell people what he does. If he is a Past Master, he never comes to
lodge on time, so that he can get a special welcome at the Altar. His
favorite speech is about the man who tried to advertise his business
in lodge and how evil this was; in the speech he always mentions his
own business. He wears an extra large sized pin and prints squares
and compasses on his letterheads.

“We dominate another kind by the expressive term of “Belly Mason.” He
is most faithful in attendance at lodges where there may be a feed.
He will cheerfully spend twenty cents car fare and a long evening to
get a fifteen cent sandwich. If there is to be a sit-down meal he
will sit up all night to be on time. If the affair is in another
lodge and needs tickets, he will take time off from his job to hunt a
brother who has a ticket and doesn’t want it. He usually manages to
cross the lodge room while the cigars are passed so he can dig into
the box twice. If the crowd is small, he is the last man to get a
smoke, so he can take all that are left. If the crowd is large, he is
among the first, to make sure he doesn’t get left.

“And then there is the “Regular Mason,” the fellow who does his best
with the time and brains he has. He is the great bulk of the
fraternity. He pays the dues and fills the chairs and does the work.
He is seldom a fine ritualist, but he is usually an earnest one. He
is not very practical and would spend more than we have if it wasn’t
that he is too sentimental to permit the charity fund to be robbed.
He passes the sandwiches and coffee, and if there is any left, he
gets his; but he doesn’t care so long as the evening is a success. He
isn’t a student, but something in the heart of Masonry has reached
deep into his heart, and so he comes to lodge and does his best. He
is not learned, but he is not stupid. He is not hidebound and yet he
is conservative. He loves his lodge, but not so much he cannot see
her faults. He is most of us.”

“And what class of Mason am I?” asked the New Brother, uneasily
looking at his sheaf of cards.

“You have cards enough to be considered a Mason for almost any
reason,” answered the Old Tiler. “But I’ll take your word for it.
What kind of Mason are you?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I know what kind I am never going to be!”
answered the new Brother, putting his many cards away.

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History Being Made in Massena

NY Royal Arch Masons

NY Royal Arch Masons

For a number of years, Massena Chapter 300 Royal Arch Masons in New York has been struggling. It is unclear why since there are at least 15 Lodges within a 25 mile radius but the Chapter was dead for all intents and purposes. And since the Chapter was dormant, so became the Commandry.

The Chapter Renewal Team (CRT) of the Grand Chapter State of New York Royal Arch Masons made numerous visits to the area to no avail.

The Grand Line hosted an informal meeting to discuss the options of the Chapter, one of those options included the surrender of its charter.  But no one was ready to give up.  After visits to a number of lodges and finally locating a couple of local “sparks” something amazing began to happen.  A “spark” is defined as an individual that does not belong but is willing to carry the banner.  The “sparks” took to the streets and began to expound the merits of the York Rite.

Within 2 weeks, these brothers had accumulated 17 new petitions for this Chapter, a Chapter that they were not yet members of. Now the Grand High Priest, who is not a fan of Degree Festivals, recognized that this was an opportunity that would not come again, ordered that a Degree Festival be scheduled as soon as possible.

And so it was done. The Degree Festival (all 4 Degrees) was scheduled for Saturday, November 30, 2013 at Massena.  He inspired the Grand Line to take part in all the degrees and even acquired the General Grand High Priest of RAM International to present a lecture in the Holy Royal Arch Degree. It did not take much convincing since Massena has been a pet project of M:. E:. Harrison for a number of years.

News spread quickly to every part of the state and candidates expressed interest in attending from Syracuse and Warrensburg and beyond. What started out as an effort to revitalize a Chapter has grown into inspiration for a jurisdiction.

You can be a part of this historical event. The location of the Chapter is 90 Main Street, Massena, NY. Registration is at 8 AM and the Mark Master Mason Degree will begin at 9 AM. Lunch will be provided after the first section of the Most Excellent Master Degree.  All Royal Arch Masons are invited to attend.

If you need directions of other information, please contact Al Bryant ambryant@qmhs.org

Don’t miss this historic occasion.

 

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