The Old Master by Carl Claudy- 1924
The Ideal Mason
“So you think Brother Parkes is an ideal Mason, do you?” asked the Old Past Master of the Young Brother. “I like Brother Parkes, but before I gave assent to your adjective of ‘ideal’ I’d like to have you define it.””What I meant” answered the Younger Brother “was that he is so well-rounded a Mason. He is Brotherly, charitable, loves a good speech and a good time, and does his Masonic duty as he sees it.””Oh! Well, if that’s being an ideal Mason, Parkes is surely one. But I can’t follow your definition of ideal. For there are so many ideals in Freemasonry, and it has been given to few…I doubt, really, if it has-been given to any…man to realize them all. Certainly I never knew one.”There are so many kinds of Masons! I do not refer now to the various bodies a brother may join; Chapter, Council, Commandery, Scottish Rite Lodge, Chapter, Council, Consistory, Shrine, Grotto, Tall Cedars, Eastern Star; a man may belong to them all and still be just one kind of Mason.”When I speak of ‘kinds’ of Masons I mean ‘kinds of ideals’.”There is the man whose ideal of Masonry is ritual. He believes in the ritual as the backbone of the fraternity. Not to be letter perfect in a degree is an actual pain to him; he cares more for the absolute accuracy of the lessons than the meaning in them. His ideal is a necessary one, and to him we are indebted for our Schools of Instruction, for our accuracy in handing down to those who come after us, the secret work, and to a large extent, for what small difficulties we put in the way of a candidate, by which he conceives a regard for the Order. What is too easily obtained is of small value. Making a new Mason learn by rote some difficult ritual not only teaches him the essential lessons, but makes him respect that which he gets by making it difficult.”There is a brother with the social ideal of Masonry. To him the Order is first a benevolent institution, one which dispenses charity, supports homes, looks after the sick, buries the dead, and, occasionally, stages a ‘ladies night’ or a ‘free feed’ or an ‘entertainment’. He is a man who thinks more of the lessons of brotherly love than the language in which they are taught; as a ritualist, he uses synonyms all the time, to the great distress of the ritually- minded Mason. To the social ideal of Masonry and those to whom it makes its greatest appeal we are indebted for much of the public approbation of our Order, since in its social contacts it is seen of the world.”There are brethren to whom the historical, perhaps I should say the archeological ideal, is the one of greatest appeal. They are the learned men; the men who dig in libraries, read the books, who write the papers on history and antiquity. To them we are indebted for the real, though not yet fully told story of the Craft. They have taken from us the old apocryphal tales of the origin of the Order and set Truth in their places; they have uncovered a far more wonderful story than those ancient ones which romanticists told. They have given us the right to venerate our age and vitality; before they came we had only fables to live by. To them we owe Lodges of Research, histories, commentaries, the great books of Masonry and much of the interpretation of our mysteries.”Then there is the symbolist. His ideal is found in the esoteric teachings of Freemasonry. He is not content with the bare outline of the meaning of our symbols found in our lectures-he has dug and delved and learned, until he has uncovered so great a wealth of philosophical, religious and fraternal lessons in our symbols as would amaze the Masons who lived before the symbolist began his work.”To him we are indebted for such a wealth of beauty as has made the Craft lovely in the eyes of men who otherwise would find in it only ‘another organization.’ To him we are indebted for the greatest reasons for its life, its vitality. For the symbolist has pointed the way to the inner, spiritual truths of Freemasonry and made it blossoms like the rose in the hearts of men who seek, they know not what, and find, that which is too great for them to comprehend.”These are but other ideals of Freemasonry, my son, but these are enough to illustrate my point. Brother Parkes follows the social ideal of Freemasonry, and follows it well. He is a good man, a good Mason, in every sense of the word. But he is not an ‘ideal’ Mason. An ‘ideal ‘Mason would have to live up to, to love, to understand, to practice, all the ideals of Freemasonry. And I submit, it cannot be done.”What’s your ideal of Freemasonry?” asked the Younger Mason curiously, as the Old Past Master paused.”The one from which all the things spring”, was the smiling answer. “I am not possessed of a good enough memory to be a fine ritualist ; I don’t have time enough to spare for many of the social activities of Masonry, I am not learned enough to be historian or antiquary, nor with enough vision to be an interpreter of symbols for any man but myself. My ideal is the simple one we try to teach to all, and which, if we live up to it, encompasses all the rest; the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.”Fraternally,
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
ACTING AS CHAPLAIN”
I was embarrassed in lodge tonight!” announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler. “I don’t think the Master ought to make me feel that way!””That’s too bad,” answered the Old Tiler, with ready sympathy.”Did he call you down for something?””Oh, no. The Chaplain was absent, and the Master asked me to act in his place.””Why should that embarrass you?” asked the Old Tiler, still sympathetic.”It embarrassed me horribly to say I wouldn’t.””Oh, you refused?””Of course I refused! My embarrassment was bad enough as it was, but to get up in front of the Altar and offer a prayer! Man, I couldn’t do that!””You surprise me!” answered the Old Tiler. “But let that pass. Who did act as Chaplain?””The Master asked the speaker of the evening, some brother I never saw before. He made a beautiful prayer, too. I heard him tell the Master he didn’t know the prayer in the ritual, but the Master said that didn’t matter, which I thought rather odd.””Can you remember what the stranger said?” asked the Old Tiler.”Pretty well, I think,” answered the New Brother. “It was not long. He went to the Altar and kneeled, and then said ‘Almighty Architect of the Universe, we, as Master Masons, standing in a Masonic Lodge erected to thy glory, humbly petition that Thou look with favor upon this assembly of Thy children. Open our hearts that the eternal Masonic truth may find ready entry that we be enabled to make ourselves square stones, fitting in Thy sight for the great Temple, eternal in Thy heavens. We ask it in the name of the All-seeing Eye, Amen.””That was a pretty prayer,” responded the Old Tiler.”But it wasn’t the ritual prayer,” objected the New Brother.”No, nor it wasn’t by the appointed Chaplain,” retorted the Old-timer. “What difference does it make to God whether we pray the same prayer at every lodge opening? It must be the sincerity and the thought behind the prayer which count in His sight, not the words. But in your refusal to act as Chaplain, it seems to me you put yourself in an unfortunate position. You shave yourself, don’t you?””Why, er, yes! What has that got to do with it?””Tomorrow morning, when you shave yourself, you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll say ‘Hello, coward!’ and that’s not nice, is it?””Do you think I was a coward?” asked the New Brother, wistfully.”Scared stiff!” smiled the Old Tiler. “So conceited, so filled with the idea of all your brethren admiring you, you couldn’t bear to forget yourself, lest they falter in their admiration. Sure, that’s cowardly. You ducked a duty because of conceit!””Old tiler, you use strong words! It was not conceit. It was modesty. I didn’t think I was able.””Don’t fool yourself! You told me you were embarrassed. Why is a man embarrassed in public? Because he is afraid he won’t do well, won’t make a good appearance, won’t succeed, will be ridiculous. So you refused the pretty compliment the Master paid you, and refused your brethren the slight service of being their mouthpiece.””But I have never prayed in public!””Neither has any other man ever prayed in public prior to his first public prayer!” grinned the Old Tiler. “But please tell me why a man should be embarrassed before God? We are taught that He knoweth all things. If we can’t conceal anything from Him, He knows all about you! A man may be ashamed of himself, sorry for what he is and has been, but embarrassed, in prayer? As for being embarrassed before you brethren, that’s conceited. Almost any man is a match for an army if he has God with him. The man on his feet who talks aloud to God has no need to consider men. If men laugh, shame to them. In all my many years as a Mason, I never yet saw any man smile or say a word of ridicule at any one’s petition to Deity out loud which touched the hearts of all present who admired their fearlessness in facing the Great Architect and saying what was in their hearts. I never heard a man laugh when a Chaplain, ordained or substitute, made a petition to Deity. Whether it was the petition in the ritual, or one which came from the heart, be sure the Great Architect understood it. As for asking a blessing in the name of the All-Seeing Eye, what difference does it make to God by what name we call Him? That is a good Masonic name, sanctified by the reverent hearts of generations of men and Masons.”For your own peace of mind, tell your Master you made a mistake and that you are sorry, and that if he will honor you by giving you an opportunity to pray for yourself and your brethren, you will, in the absence of the Chaplain, do your reverent best. And when you kneel before that Altar you will forget, as all Chaplains must who mean what they say, that any listen save the One to whom the prayer is addressed!””Old Tiler, I’ll try to do it!” cried the New Mason.”Humph!” grunted the Old Tiler. Fraternally,
“The Old Past Master” by Carl H. Claudy- 1924
There are a lot of Masons in this old lodge tonight” began the Old Past Master. “See the new faces? Must be most two hundred. Pretty good attendance, what?””But is it a good attendance?” asked the Very New Mason. “Why, there must be six hundred members on the rolls. Seems a pity they can’t all get out to enjoy this kind of an evening, doesn’t it? Seems to me Masonry fails when she has so many on the rolls who don’t come regularly to lodge.””I don’t agree with you!” answered the Old Past Master. “Masonry succeeds because she gets so many of her members to take an interest! True, she might…if she were a wizard… so interest every one of her devotees that all would crowd the lodge room every meeting might. Then, I think, there would be no use for Masonry, because the millennium would have come. But in place of being discouraged because only a third or a fourth of our members attend, I am always highly encouraged because so many do attend.”You see, my brother, Masons are picked from the general body of men by two processes, and neither one of them works out for the very best interests of the Order. The first process is a man’s making up his mind he wants to be a Mason. If we could go to the best men and ask them, we would get a lot better men than we do, of course. Equally, of course, we would vastly injure the Order by making it seek the man instead of the man seek its gentle philosophy. I wouldn’t change that unwritten law for anything, butte fact remains that as the first selection of Masons is made by the profane, it isn’t always for the best interests of the Order.”The second selective work is done by committee. Now in theory every one appointed on a committee to examine a member is a sort of cross between a criminal lawyer, an experienced detective, a minister of the gospel, a super-perfect man, a well read Mason and an Abraham Lincoln for judgment!”But as a matter of fact most committeemen are just average men like you and me, and we do our work on committees in just an average sort of way, with the result that many a self-selected candidate slips into our ranks who has no real reason for being there. The theory is that all men become Masons because of a veneration of our principles. The fact is that a lot become Masons because their brother is one, or their boss is one, or they want to wear a pin and be a secret society member, or they hope it will help them in business.”They get into the lodge and find it quite different from what they expect. They learn that they can’t pass out business cards, that it doesn’t help them because the boss belongs, and that they don’t have to come to lodge to wear a pin. If they are the kind of men to whom Masonry doesn’t appeal because of her truth, her philosophy, her Light, her aid in living, they wander away. They become mere dues-payers, and often, stomach Masons, who come around for the feed or entertainment.”Don’t let it distress you. It takes all sorts of people to make a world and it would be a very stupid place indeed if we were all alike. There is room in the world for the man who doesn’t care for Masonry. He has his part to play in the world as well as the man to whom Masonry makes great appeal. Do not condemn him because he has become a member of the fraternity and found it not to his liking. At least there is something in his heart which was not there before.”And let me tell you something, my brother. There are many, many men who become Masons, in the sense that they join a lodge and pay dues, although they never attend, who do good Masonic work. There is Filby, for instance. Filby has been a member of this lodge twenty years and has never been in it, to my knowledge, since the day he was raised. I don’t know why. I rather think he was frightened, and showed it, and has been afraid of being laughed at, now that he knows there was nothing to be frightened about. But there was never need for money that Filby didn’t contribute; there was never a committee appointed to work on the Masonic Home that Filby didn’t head. There was never any work to be done outside the lodge that Filby didn’t try to help do it. He is a good Mason, even if he doesn’t attend lodge.”And there are lots of young men who join the fraternity and neglect their lodge in early years, who turn their hearts towards it in later years; boys who are too fond of girls and dances and good times to spend a moment in serious thought while they are just in the puppy age, who grow up finally to become thoughtful men, turning their hearts toward the noble teachings of this fraternity and becoming most ardent lodge members and attenders.”Oh, no, my brother, never weep because we have but a portion of our membership at a meeting. Be glad we have so many; be happy that those who come, come so regularly and enthusiastically, be proud that there is such a large number of men content to sit through the same degrees year after year to learn what they can, let sink deeper the hidden beauties of the story, absorb a little more of that secret doctrine which lies behind the words of the ritual.”Masonry is not for yesterday, for today, for tomorrow alone. She is for all the ages to come. The Temple Not Build With Hands cannot be built alone by you and me, nor in a day, nor yet a century. And remember that the stone rejected by the builder was finally found the most necessary of them all. Perhaps the man who doesn’t come now to lodge may be the most Ernest and powerful Mason of tomorrow. Only the Great Architect knows. Masonry is His work. Be content to let it be done His way.
“Fraternally, Carl Johnson, 32’Burlington Masonic Lodge #254GL of Washington F&AMA&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington ”
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike Southern California Research Lodge F&AM ATTRACTED TO FREEMASONRY by Michael A. Porada, 32ø, Valley of Tucson ( John Robinson’s widow relates how the author fell in love with the fraternity)(From March 1997 Niagara-New Orleans Masonic News via The Baton Rouge Scottish Rite Trestle board for November 1997)The fraternity of Freemasonry just a few years ago was blessed to have attracted the attention of John Robinson, who not only wrote three books on the craft itself but was also willing to be a staunch advocate of Masonry. He traveled and spoke for and about Freemasonry not only to its modem day opponents, but especially to the no informed and to the Masonic community. While John J. Robinson may have departed from his earthly life in September, 1993, his spirit and message are literally still in our very midst today! I recently had the opportunity and privilege to interview his widow, Bernice Robinson, who most graciously agreed to sit down and discuss John’s Masonic Journey through his unique perspective.”John’s approach to researching Born in Blood (his first book) was in business research,” Bernice said. “He investigated and assembled a the pertinent facts, then let them lead him to a logical conclusion, rather than forming a theory, selecting solely the facts which would support such a theory and ignoring the rest.”His research, started in the early 1980s, led him to conclude that the Knights Templar had to go underground early in the 14th century to avoid torture and death. He also concluded that this underground organization was, some 70 years later, the guiding force behind the Peasants’ Revolt in England. Other independent research into the mysteries of Masonic origins began to connect with his theory that had evolved concerning the fate of the Templar’s-on-the-run. “By1985, John had decided that he had accrued enough material to produce a fascinating book,” according to Bernice. Two years later, John Robinson did submit what he thought was a complete manuscript to the well known Alfred Knopf book publishing house. “The editor assigned to work with John told him that there had always been a strong interest in Masonry by the general public, and to add a section about Freemasonry spanning the period from the Middle Ages to the present day. John was told that his book would appeal to a much wider readership if it dealt with Freemasonry in greater depth. Although it’s possible that the editor might have expected John to uncover harmful facts about the craft, it didn’t work out that way.”Although Knopf was unable to publish the final manuscript, they did refer John to other publishers who would be in the position to help. “M. Evans and Company was the first of the publishers John had been referred to that responded,” Bernice recalled. “George deKay, the President and owner, said that lie had read the manuscript and was ready to publish it,” she added. In Masonic circles, Born in Blood met with mixed reviews and reactions from historians and researchers, but gradually John’s theory gained acceptance. Perhaps most important was the acknowledgment of Allen Roberts, Executive Secretary of the Philalethes Society. “Early in 1990,John was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the Society for his service to the cause of Freemasonry in general,” Bernice recalled. “He was touched by this recognition of his work’s value-he and Allen developed a Friendship that was based on mutual admiration and respect.”After the publication, John Robinson began to receive requests to speak about his research, his initial engagement at the Scottish Rite Valley of Cincinnati. “John admitted to being nervous over how his presentation would be received,” Bernice said. Fortunately, his ability to communicate in a clear, straight forward way met with a warm and lively response from his audience. When he came home he was relieved and happy. I had not seen such a sparkle in his eye for a long time.”The success of his first occasion helped set a general pattern for future appearances in that John would speak for about 30 minutes with the remaining time taking questions, so that other ideas could develop. In the succeeding two years, John Robinson finished two more books, Dungeon, Fire and Sword and A Pilgrims Path, while carrying out a very busy schedule of speaking engagements, both to Masonic forums and on radio and television. These engagements involved hundreds of thousands of miles of travel throughout the United States and Europe. As he was then not a Mason, he had a very high degree of credibility when defending Masonry to the various latterday accusers of the craft. He drew the attention of many talk show hosts who looked for (and thrived on) controversial subjects. Bernice accompanied him whenever possible.”John never knew a stranger,” she stated. “He showed the same respect and friendliness to everyone he met from whatever walk of life. He was always ready to fit in an extra meeting or impromptu discussion, and never sought to impress listeners with his erudition or importance. After a few formal presentations, he was always delighted to stay around, signing books, and answering questions and visiting with people. Frequently, he would get to be dwell after midnight only to be up again after a few hours rest to fit in more unscheduled meetings before it was time to leave. No matter how tired he was, he found the energy to meet people, because he sincerely loved what he was doing. As a wife, I enjoyed seeing him receive a standing ovation, because I felt he deserved it.”In 1992, John made his decision to affirm his commitment to Freemasonry. “John petitioned Nova Ceasarea Harmony Lodge No. 2 for two reasons,” Bernice added. “As this is Ohio’s oldest lodge, he was attracted to the historical aspect. hi addition, he had personal association, dating back to his childhood, with lodge member (and Past Master) Cleve Cornelison, which was renewed when John first established Masonic connections.”John was made an Entered Apprentice November 25, 1992. “It was a night that gave him deep satisfaction,” Bernice related. Unfortunately, his active life as a Mason was cut short immediately. Over the years, John had successfully overcome a number of serious health problems; so a severe sore throat that was troubling him at the time he became a Mason seemed nothing more than a mild infection. However, the day after Thanksgiving, the throat became very painful. Within 48 hours his blood stream had been invaded by a strep infection which caused life-threatening blood poisoning. He waged a month long battle in intensive care, unable to move or speak very much at all. Bernice recalled, “I think I was the only person in the entire hospital who believed that John would survive during the first 72 hours.”In all the years of the existence of the Grand Lodge of Ohio there had been only two men made Master Masons at sight: President William Howard Taft and U.S. Senator John Glenn. Brother Robinson, however, had already received his first degree, so there was no thought given, to making him a Mason at sight. Bernice remembers the initial phone call that came from Allen Roberts, who had just learned that John’s life was in danger. “Allen felt that it would be a shame if this man who had done so much for Freemasonry were to die without becoming a Master Mason.”Ohio Grand Master H. Ray Evans called an emergent session of the Grand Lodge and N.C. Harmony Lodge No. 2 at the Shriner’s Burn Institute, across the street from where John lay in intensive care. On December 3, 1992, the Grand Master conferred upon John the Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees.”Afterward, I had the distinct impression that John had ‘turned the corner,’ even though he could only squeeze my hand to show that he knew what had occurred.” On New Year’s Eve, he left intensive care and returned home weeks later. John Robinson returned to sufficient health to be able to receive the Scottish Rite degrees in the Valley of Cincinnati in April 1993. Bernice remembered, “He attended the final banquet in wheelchair, but the importance of the occasion, and brotherly support he received gave his spirits a tremendous boost. It was just what lie needed at that time.” Although elected to receive the3 3 ‘ of the Ancient Scottish Rite at Cleveland, Ohio, in September1994, John’s decline in health made it necessary to confer this honor on him in Cincinnati, with newly elected Sovereign Grand Commander Robert 0. Ralston, 33′, and Ohio Scottish Rite Deputy Alfred E. Rice, 33 0, present on September 3, 1993, just three days prior to his death.”Al Rice especially wanted him to receive it and didn’t want to risk any contingency,” Bernice said, “The one thing I as a wife who loved John very much, want to add is that I am deeply honored that he was chosen to receive the 33’ in the Scottish Rite, and that it was conferred upon him while he was still here.”It was John Robinson’s third book, A Pilgrim’s Path, which perhaps can best summarize his research and conclusions on Masonry. The first half of the book deals with the various condemnations of Masonry from past to present, and point by point dismantles the various claims.”You would really say that the second half of the book suggests practical methods and ideas for the growth of Freemasonry,” she continued. “John was concerned by the vast numbers of people, especially young people, who know nothing about Freemasonry. I believe he still wants to present the wholesome, positive image of Masonry, to counter the effect of the attacks of the religious extremists and other negative sources. Through his books, and the newly formed Masonic Information Center, I feel sure he can help to assure that.”Asked what reward Freemasonry gave to such an individual as John Robinson, who through his research and writing found himself traveling and speaking out for the craft, Bernice Robinson concluded that “John rarely put his innermost feelings into words, but I truly believe that Freemasonry gave him an inner serenity through helping him find his own path to God.”
“Old Tiler Talks: by Carl Claudy -1924
BOOK ON THE ALTAR”
I heard the most curious tale,” began the New Brother seating himself beside the Old tiler during refreshment.”Shoot!” commanded the Old Tiler.”Friend of mine belongs to a Midwest lodge. Seems they elected a chap to become a member but when he took the degree he stopped the work to ask for the Koran in place of the Bible on the Altar. Said he wanted to the holy book of his faith, and the bible wasn’t it!””Yes, go on,” prompted the Old Tiler. “What did they do?””The officers held a pow-wow and the Master finally decided that as the ritual demanded the ‘Holy Bible, Square and Compasses’ as furniture for the lodge, the applicant was wrong and that he’d have to use the Bible or not take his degree. And the funny part was that the initiate was satisfied and took his degree with the Bible on the Altar. I’m glad they have him, and not this lodge.””Why?””Why, a chap who backs down that way can’t have very much courage; I’d have had more respect for him if he’d insisted and if he couldn’t have his way, refused to go on with the degree.””All wrong, brother, all wrong!” commented the Old Tiler. “The Mohammedan initiate wasn’t concerned about himself but about the lodge. He showed a high degree of Masonic principle in asking for his own holy book, and a great consideration for the lodge. This man isn’t a Christian. He doesn’t believe in Christ. He believes in Allah, and Mohammed his prophet. The Bible, to you a holy book, is to him no more than the Koran is to you. You wouldn’t regard an obligation taken on a dictionary or a cook book or a Koran as binding, in the same degree that you would one taken on the Bible.””That’s the way this chap felt. He wanted to take his obligations that it would bind his conscience. The Master would not let him, because he slavishly followed the words of the ritual instead of the spirit of Masonry.”Masonry does not limit an applicant to his choice of a name for a Supreme Being. I can believe in Allah, or Buddha, or Confucius, or Mithra, or Christ, or Siva, or Brahma, or Jehovah, and be a good Mason. If I believe in a Great Architect that is all Masonry demands; my brethren do not care what I name him.””Then you think this chap isn’t really obligated? I must write my friend and warn him-“”Softly, softly! Any man with enough reverence for Masonry, in advance of knowledge of it, to want his own holy book on which to take an obligation would feel himself morally obligated to keep his word, whether there was his, another’s or no holy book atoll, on the Altar. An oath is not really binding because of the book beneath your hand. It is the spirit with which you assume an obligation which makes it binding. The book is but a symbol that you make your promise in the presence of the God you revere. The cement of brotherly love which we spread is not material- the working tools of a Master Mason are not used upon stone but upon human hearts. Your brother did his best to conform to the spirit of our usages in asking for the book he had been taught to revere. Failing in that through no fault of his own, doubtless he took his obligation with a sincere belief in its sacredness. Legally he would not be considered to commit perjury if he asked for his own book and was forced to use another.””What’s the law got to do with it?””Just nothing at all, which is the point I make. In England and America, Canada and South America, Australia, and part of the Continent, the bible is universally used. In Scottish Rite bodies you will find many holy books; but let me ask you this; when our ancient brethren met on hills and in valleys, long before Christ, did they use the New Testament on their Altars? Of course not; there was none. You can say that they used the Old Testament and I can say they used the Talmud and someone else can say they used none at all, and all of us are right as the other. But they used reverence for sacred things.”If you write your friend, you might tell him that the ritual which permits a man to name his God as he pleases, but demands that a book which reveres one particular God be used, is faulty. The ritual of Masonry is faulty; it was made by man. But the spirit of Masonry is divine; it comes from men’s hearts. If obligation and books and names of the Deity are matters of the spirit, every condition is satisfied. If I were Master and an applicant demanded any one or any six books on which to lay his hand while he pledges himself to us, I’d get them if they were to be had, and I’d tell my lodge what a reverent Masonic spirit was in the man who asked.””Seems to me you believe in a lot of funny things; how many gods do you believe in?””There is but one,” was the Old Tilers answer, “Call Him what you will. Let me repeat a little bit of verse for you: ‘At the Muezzin’s call for prayer The kneeling faithful thronged the square; Amid a monastery’s weeds, An old Franciscan told his beads, While on Pushkara’s lofty height dark priest chanted Brahma’s might, While to the synagogue there came A Jew, to praise Jehovah’s Name. The One Great God looked down and smiled And counted each His loving child; For Turk and Brahmin, monk and Jew Has reached Him through the gods they knew.'”If we reach Him in Masonry, it makes little difference by what sacred name we arrive,” finished the Old Tiler, reverently.”You reached me, anyhow,” said the New Brother, shaking hands as if he meant it. and extra: “Rays of Masonry” by Dewey Wollstein -1953A NAME AND WHAT IT SUGGESTS We read of the death of a man, and there among the other details of his life is found the statement; “He was a Mason.” When reading this detail of a man’s life there comes to the Mason a feeling of understanding, a happy reflection, a knowledge that one lived who had courageously sought in life Truth and Light. That a person was a Mason does not create the thought that the departed had some special virtue that would easily admit him into Heaven, or that by some mysterious word or token he would have the power to brush aside natural and spiritual laws. An honest evaluation of Masonry by Masons is the keynote to an understanding of why the Institution has existed for centuries and centuries, and why it always will be the Great Teacher. Masonry is devoid of fanaticism. It teaches a system of progressive improvement, being content to see man’s noble effort to become a better man, while wisely declaring that perfection on earth has never yet been attained. That Masons fail at times to represent to the world the high ideals of Masonry is another key to the greatness of the Institution. There is the true test of the influence of a system of morality that when a man has lived well, and is called to his reward, there is written “He was a Mason”; and when one loves, but not so wisely or well, the world is quick to note the excellence of a system, for in condemning an individual, it pays honor to the Institution by saying; “He was a Mason.”Fraternally, Carl Johnson, 32’ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington Thanks to Brother Carl for sending these. Brothers: Things have been a bit slow for me lately, so I thought I’d introduce you to a couple of folks I’ve gotten to know very, very well in a very short period of time. Tony and Hilary are the resident sadists at a local Phoenix physical rehabilitation facility. At the moment, they are taking unusual pleasure in giving me unusual pain as they find new ways to rehabilitate some recalcitrant muscles and bones in my right shoulder.(I have a whole host of other folks working on my legs at the moment. More later about those sadistic sons….but I digress…)It seems there is a vicious circle at work here. Because the shoulder generated a high degree of pain, I chose to favor the other arm. The less I used the bad arm, the tighter it became, thus generating greater pain on those few occasions when I did attempt to use it. The more it hurt, the less I used it. You can see where this is going. So now we face the painful task of getting the thing working again, and Dr. Jykle and Miss Hyde- very nice young people after hours, I’m sure-are in charge of the task. I participate out of necessity and for the honor of the thing. In between bursts of sudden pain, designed to hold my attention, I think I’ve discovered a symbolic meaning. I certainly hope so. I would not want to endure this simply to be able to deal crooked card games again. (Or play the piano. I couldn’t play before, either, but you never know.)Call it the Rust Equation. If you don’t use something, it rusts, locks up and becomes hard to manipulate. That applies to tools, shoulders, organizations and minds. You’re probably seen this at work, yourself. If your lodge hasn’t done degree work in several months or even years, you know what happens. If you don’t pay attention to the Brothers in the line, those on committees and in other activities, things start to freeze up. It becomes almost impossible to get the thing moving again. If you haven’t taken time to follow the dictates of Fellowcraft Degree-self education and improvement-your mind begins to lock up, or at least become considerably narrower. It’s impossible to examine new ideas when that happens. You just can’t get your arms around them, or your mind, either, for that matter. We run that risk in Freemasonry, I think. Ours is an ancient and honorable Craft, with histories, traditions and manners far older than any Brother. If we would avoid the Rust Equation, we must make all these things new again. I’m not suggesting that we change a thing, nor am I espousing any particular cause or issue. That would require a mind far more agile than mine. I am suggesting that we must renew our own enthusiasm, that we must recover our own initial, first-time delight and excitement in Masonry and the discovery of its beautiful philosophy. As one still young in our Craft, I discover something new about Masonry nearly each day. I meet new Brothers, read new books, am challenged by new and diverse points of view. For me, the spirit of Freemasonry is a living thing and it offers me new perspectives to consider each time I confront it. My mind, if not my shoulder, is active and agile. It is highly unlikely, I think, that the Great Architect will permit me to observe 50 years in our Brotherhood. For those Brothers who do celebrate that momentous occasion, I sincerely hope that their minds remain bright and that they continue to discover or rediscover something new in our mysteries. I hope they never allow themselves to lose that great joy of discovery or take our work together for granted. I’m not sure which is the most painful-a locked shoulder or a locked mind. Tony and Hilary are fairly certain they can get my shoulder moving again. I wonder, however, about the minds of those who found new ideas too painful to consider and allowed their minds to close. That must be far more painful, now that I think about it. Incidentally, every so often, Tony muses that it would be so much easier just to give my shoulder a shot of WD-40. This apparently works well for most other old and rusty machinery. I remind him that I’m not paying for stand-up comedy. He accuses me of being narrow-minded. What can I say?
Skip Boyer, Paradise Valley #61Phoenix, AZ
The Old Past Master, Understanding Carl H. Claudy, 33ø
A classic Masonic writing offers insights for every age.”I have been a Mason for a year now,” remarked the Young Brother to the Old Past Master. “While I find a great deal in Masonry to enjoy and like the fellows and all that, I am more or less in the dark as to what good Masonry really is in the world. I don’t mean I can’t appreciate its charity or its fellowship, but it seems to me that I don’t get much out of it. I can’t really see why it has any function outside of the relationship we enjoy in the Lodge and the charitable acts we do.”I think I could win an argument about you” smiled the Past Master.”An argument about me?””Yes. You say you have been a Master Mason for a year. I think I could prove to the satisfaction of a jury of your peers, who would not need to be Master Masons, that while you are a Lodge member in good standing, you are not a Master Mason.'”I don’t think I quite understand,” puzzled the Young Mason. I was quite surely initiated, passed, and raised. I have my certificate and my good standing card. I attend Lodge regularly. I do what work I am assigned. If that isn’t being a Master Mason, what is?””You have the body but not the spirit,” retorted the Old Past Master.”You eat the husks and disregard the kernel. You know the ritual and fail to understand its meaning. You carry the documents, but for you they attest but an empty form. You do not understand the first underlying principle, which makes Masonry the great force she is. And yet, in spite of it, you enjoy her blessings, which is one of her miracles. A man may love and profit by what he does not comprehend.””I just don’t understand you at all. I am sure I am a good Mason.””No man is a good Mason who thinks the Fraternity has no function beyond pleasant association in the Lodge and charity. There are thousands of Masons who seldom see the inside of a Lodge and, therefore, miss the fellowship. There are thousands who never need or support her chanty and so never come in contact with one of its many features. Yet these may take freely and largely from the treasure house which is Masonry.””Masonry my young friend, is an opportunity. It gives a man a chance to do and to be, among the world of men, something he otherwise could not attain No man kneels at the altar of Masonry and rises again the same man. At the altar something is taken from him never to return-his feelings of living for himself alone. Be he ever so selfish, ever so self-centered, ever so much an individualist, at the altar he leaves behind him some of the dross of his purely profane make-up.””No man kneels at the altar of Masonry and rises the same man because, in the place where the dross and selfish were, is put a little of the most Divine spark which men may see. Where was the self-interest is put an interest in others. Where was the egotism is put love for one’s fellow man. You say that the ‘Fraternity has no function’ Man, the Fraternity performs the greatest function of any institution at work among men in that it provides a common meeting ground where all of us–be our creed, our social position, our wealth, our ideas, our station in life what they may-may meet and understand one another.””What caused the Civil War? Failure of one people to understand another and an inequality of men which this country could not endure. What caused the Great War? Class hatred. What is the greatest leveler of class in the world? Masonry. Where is the only place in which a capitalist and laborer, socialist and democrat, fundamentalist and modernist, Jew and Gentile, sophisticated and simple alike meet and forget their differences In a Masonic Lodge, through the influence of Masonry. Masonry, which opens her portals to men because they are men, not because they are wealthy or wise or foolish or great or small but because they seek the brotherhood which only she can give.””Masonry has no function? Why, son, the function of charity, great as it is, is the least of the things Masonry does. The fellowship in the Lodge, beautiful as it is, is at best not much more than one can get in any good club, association, or organization. These are the beauties of Masonry, but they are also beauties of other organizations. The great fundamental beauty of Masonry is all her own. She, and only she, stretches a kindly and loving hand around the world, uniting millions in a bond too strong for breaking. Time has demonstrated that Masonry is too strong for war, too strong for hate, too strong for jealousy and fear. The worst of men have used the strongest of means and have but pushed Masonry to one side for the moment; not all their efforts have broken her, or ever will!””Masonry gives us all a chance to do and to be; to do a little, however humble the part, in making the world better; to be a little larger, a little fuller in our lives, a little nearer to the G.A.O.T.U. And unless a man understands this, believes it, takes it to his heart, and lives it in his daily life, and strives to show it forth to others in his every act-unless he live and love and labor in his Masonry-I say he is no Master Mason; aye, though he belong to all Rites and carry all cards, though he be hung as a Christmas tree with jewels and pins, though he be an officer in all Bodies. But the man who has it in his heart and sees in Masonry the chance to be in reality what he has sworn he would be, a brother to his fellow Masons, is a Master Mason though he be raised but tonight, belongs to no body but his Blue Lodge, and be too poor to buy and wear a single pin.”The Young Brother, looking down, unfastened the emblem from his coat lapel and handed it to the Old Past Master. “Of course, you are right” he said, lowly. “Here is my pin. Don’t give it back to me until you think I am worthy to wear it.”The Old Past Master smiled. “I think you would better put it back now,” he answered gently. “None are more fit to wear the Square and Compasses than those who know themselves unworthy, for they are those who strive to be real Masons.”III.-. Carl H. Claudy, P.G.M., 33*, wrote the above essay in 1924. One of America’s most noteworthy Masonic authors, Most Worshipful Claudy was the Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association from1929 to 1957. He was raised in Harmony Lodge No. 17, Washington, D.C., in 1908, serving as Master in 1932 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in 1943. Before his passing on May 27,1957, he wrote many “Short Talk Bulletins”, essays, and plays, among them The Lion’s Paw, The Master’s Book, and The Rose Upon the Altar. JUNE 1999 Scottish Rite Journal Preston’s PS When I saw this, I had to send this out. MW Claudy and my father were in the same Masters Association in 1932 when I was 5 years old. I knew Bro. Claudy well as the Secretary of the MSA which was on 10th. Street at the end of the Arnold Bus line to our home in Arlington. Dad gave me all of his books and they will go to my son in time. If you have read this in the Journal, now you have it in data format too.
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