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Masonic News & Views -- a look at Masonic symbols
November 20, 2011
The study of Freemason symbols is an especially interesting field of Masonic education, not only because of the deep and abiding lessons to be learned but because of our innate curiosity for unfamiliar things. It is simply a part of human nature to wonder, "What does it mean?"
Perhaps it is because her symbols seem so mysterious and indued with mysticism that we need to understand them. Or, perhaps it is the very effort we expend in understanding them that makes them so valuable. Whatever the reasons and by whatever means you come to an understanding of our symbols they are keys to deeper and more meaningful knowledge.
So, let us begin with the universally accepted symbol of Freemasonry, the Square and Compasses. From the very beginning, the degree of Entered Apprentice, we are told that the Square teaches us to square our actions with all mankind and the Compasses to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions in due bounds. Basically, the square symbolizes the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," and the compasses symbolize Aristotle's advice: moderation in all things.
The Square and Compasses is most often seen with the letter "G" in the middle. The letter "G" symbolizes geometry because by the science of geometry we may be better enabled to unravel the mysteries and wonders of nature. The letter "G" also stands for God because an unfeigned belief in God is the primary requirement for membership. Agreeable to ancient customs no atheist can become a Freemason, and the letter "G" is placed at the center of the symbol to represent God at the center of one's life.
The Lambskin or White Leathern Apron with which every Freemason is presented upon initiation is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Freemason. Its pure and spotless surface is to be an ever present reminder of purity of life and rectitude of conduct, a never ending argument for higher thoughts, for nobler deeds, for greater achievements.
In predominantly Christian societies the Furniture of a Lodge consists of the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses. However, the universality of Freemasonry teaches that all men are free to follow the religious doctrine of their choice. The Holy book of the candidate's chosen religion may be substituted for the Bible during the obligation. In American Lodges the Holy Bible will remain open on the altar as well.
In speculative Masonry we are taught that the twenty-four inch gauge is used for the purpose of dividing our time. Being divided into twenty-four equal parts it is emblematic of the twenty-four hours of the day, whereby are found eight hours for the service of God, eight for one's usual vocations, and eight for refreshment and sleep.
The common gavel is symbolically used to divest one's heart and conscience of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting the mind as a living stone for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The level serves to remind us that we are traveling upon the level of time. Time, like all things in nature, passes equally for all men. It is neither inclined nor graded in preference to any, and the choices we make determine its relative value. And for each and all, time will lead us to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.
The plumb is used by operative masons to raise perpendiculars, but as speculative Masons it admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man. It is a reminder to live our lives in a rectitude manner with uprightness; integrity; honesty; justice.
The Chisel, in the hands of the craftsman, is used to transform the gemstone from its original rude and unpolished state and reveal the latent beauties within. As a symbol in speculative Masonry it morally demonstrates the advantages of discipline and education. Just as the brilliance of the diamond is revealed by the skillful use of the chisel, so too will the beauties of the human mind be revealed through knowledge.
The Mallet is used by operative masons to correct irregularities and create uniformity within a structure. In speculative Masonry the Mallet morally teaches to correct irregularities, and reduce man to a proper level; so that, by quiet deportment, he may, in the school of discipline learn to be content.
Our Masonic symbols are rich with meaning and purpose, and my hope is that this introduction will lead you to look deeper within them.
Now, on with the news........................
The Bolivar Order of the Eastern Star, Mizpah Chapter #230 is having a food drive for Christmas baskets and would like to invite the Masons to help. Please leave your donations at the lodge hall (Bolivar Masonic Temple) Our meeting is December 6th and we will deliver the food to the Bolivar Food Pantry on Dec. 7th. We would appreciate your help. Please announce this in your meetings. Thank you Carol Fuller, Secretary.
Monday, November 21, 2011: Branson Lodge No. 587 will have work in the 2nd Degree of Freemasonry in conjunction with their regular communication. Brother Keith Leo Huels will be presented for advancement to the degree of Fellow Craft. Dinner at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM.
Monday, November 28, 2011: York Rite Bodies Years of Service Recognition Dinner will be hosted by the ladies of the Social Order of the Beauceant. Dinner will be served at 6:00 and all members are invited.
Friday & Saturday, December 2 & 3, 2011: The Fall Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Ceremonial is right around the corner. Candidate registration and screening will begin at 5:00 Friday evening at the Shrine temple located at 601 St. Louis Street in Springfield, MO. Saturday morning will begin with breakfast at the temple at 6:30, candidate registration and screening at 7:30 AM, and the ritualistic section will begin at 8:30 AM. If you are a Master Mason in good standing and are interested in becoming a Shriner contact any current member, or call the ABA business office for more information. Also, visit www.BeAShrinerNow.com for information and education.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011: Friend Lodge No. 352 will meet in Regular Communication at the lodge hall in Sparta, MO for the official visit and reception of RWB Mickey Brown, DDGM of the 43rd Masonic District. Dinner at 6:30 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:30 PM.
Thursday, December 8, 2011: Bolivar Chapter #5 RAM- St. Elmo Commandery #43 KT have changed their meeting night for December so as not to be so close to Christmas. There will be guests present and the Companions and Knights would love to have a good turnout. Eat at 6:00 PM; meetings start at 7:00 PM. The December meeting is also when Officers for 2012 and Temple Board Members will be elected.
Monday, December 12, 2011: Date Change - The December meeting of Springfield Chapter No. 15 Royal Arch Masons, Zabud Council No. 25 Cryptic Masons, and St. John's Commandery No. 20 Knights Templar has been moved to December 12 to avoid any conflicts with Christmas and Holiday plans. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM.
Sunday, December 18, 2011 @ Noon: Masons' Day at the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis Rams would like to invite Masonic members, friends and family to watch the Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals!
Groups that order together will be seated together!
You can contact me at "tim'at'masonsmart.com" for a pdf order form.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012: Friend Lodge No. 352 will meet at the Sparta Lodge hall in Sparta, MO for work in the 1st Degree of Freemasonry. Dinner at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM.
Monday, January 30, 2012: Webb City Lodge No. 512 will host a Region 'F' School of Ritual Instruction. Dinner at 6:00 and instruction will begin at 6:30 PM. The Webb City Lodge building is located at 401 West Broadway Street in Webb City, MO.
Saturday, February 4, 2012: RWB Robert C. Floyd, Grand Lecturer of Missouri Masons will conduct a School of Ritual Instruction and Regional Round Robin Ritual Competition at Monett Lodge No. 129. Lunch will be available at 11:30 AM and instruction will begin at 1:00 PM. All Missouri Master Masons are encouraged to attend.
Save the Date! Saturday, February 18, 2012: Webb City Lodge No. 512 will host the 97th Annual Washington's Birthday Celebration with Masonic Degree work by three different States. The 1st Degree will be performed by Grove Lodge No. 187 of Oklahoma; the 2nd Degree by Pittsburg Lodge No. 187 of Kansas, and the 3rd Degree by Webb City Chapter No. 119 Royal Arch Masons of Missouri. The 3rd Degree will be done in full costume and promises to be most impressive.
Please Note: Due to acts of God and Government this year the date for the drawing for the new Chevy Camaro has been changed to March 17, 2012. Please help the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin in their efforts to preserve and repair the beautiful Scottish Rite Cathedral in Joplin, MO. And, in helping preserve this piece of American history you could win a brand new Chevy Camaro. Tickets are just $50 each and only two thousand tickets will be offered. There will be cash prizes awarded, as well. For all the details on how you can help us preserve this beautiful and unique building please go to WWW.WIN-CAMARO.COM. or find us on Facebook and "LIKE" the page at Facebook.com/WinANewCamaro. We're a long way from our goal so please help spread the word. We truly appreciate your assistance. Thank you very much.
As you can see there's lots of Masonry going on in Missouri. See the links below to keep up with the latest or to submit information for your upcoming meeting.
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