The Rite Word - Articles

The Rite Word is an official publication of the Valley of San Jose, Orient of California of the A.A.S.R. of Freemasonry, published monthly except July and August, at the San Jose Scottish Rite Center, 2455 Masonic Drive, San Jose, CA 95125.  Phone # 408-978-7483

From the Venerable Master (September 2020)

posted Sep 18, 2020, 1:20 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brethren,

September – month of the autumnal (fall) equinox. The word equinox comes from the Latin words “aequus” (equal) and “nox” (night), literally meaning that day and night are equal. While the vernal (spring) equinox is associated with rebirth, the autumnal equinox is associated with old age, but also with harvest and preparation for the winter.

For the farmer this is the time of harvesting the fruits of the hard labor in spring. Hopefully the crop turned out well, and the labor is rewarded. For California wineries, it is hoped to be a good year, with moderate rain this year. Dry farmed and temperature stressed vines concentrate the flavor of the grapes, so many are hopeful for a great vintage 2020.

This and the next following months throughout the year are named after the over 2000 years old Roman 10 months calendar – latin “septem” - seven. A bizarre and amusing fact, demonstrating traditions being preserved for long times in human society and decoupled from their actual meaning in our language.

And it is the month when the young get back to school after a summer break. Well, back in front of the computer with virtual sessions. Many school districts, colleges and universities have now mastered the art of virtual classes and meetings. This may lead to a transformation of the educational system, as you can take classes from anywhere in the world. Yale for example has a series of free courses at https://oyc.yale.edu. Back to school, anyone?

Speaking of virtual meetings, we did have a very nice Stated Meeting via a Zoom virtual meeting session. We were able to conduct necessary business and update everyone on the progress of the building renovation, followed by a social and dinner hour with our ladies and guests. We did have a BBQ theme, and a few of us got bragging time over what they cooked to eat during the virtual dinner. We opened and closed with prayer, did Pledge of Allegiance, had several formal toasts, to the Craft, the Grand Master and the Leaders of the Scottish Rite, and lots of time to chat and socialize. It was a very nice experiment, based on comments made at the end.

Happy September,

 

From the Wise Master (September 2020)

posted Sep 18, 2020, 1:18 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brethren, August sees us still sheltered in place. No meetings yet, could be months away. As I was sitting at my desk, I started to reflect back on my years in Masonary. In February 1968 I was made a Master Mason. That night I was presented with a Masonic Bible. I was told that after the meeting the Brethren in attendance would all sign the Bible.

Since that night I have come across an article that can be recited to the candidate on his receiving a Holy Bible. I would like to share this article with you.

                The Great Light Of Masonry

Brother. It is my pleasant duty this evening to present you your own volume of Sacred Law; that Great Light in Masonry. Before doing so, however, I have certain observations to make concerning this Holy Book to which I trust you will pay strict attention.

The Holy Bible is commonly thought of as one Book, because it is contained between two covers. It is in reality a library of 66 books, 39 of which are found in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament. These books represent the sacred literature of the Hebrew race and are the product of many centuries of varied authorship and subject matter. They combine law, history, poetry, philosophy, biography, ethics and the revelation of the Divine Truth and Light.

Diverse as the subjects and authors are; remote as the legend types and styles of expression are, the intelligent reader discovers an ever increasing purpose running through the pages like a silver thread through a darker fabric. Veritable flashes of Truth and Light reveal the true character and mind of God; and His never failing love towards all mankind.

The Holy Bible is the world's supreme record of man's experience with faith. It is the Mason's trestle board in character building, that important duty to which you have dedicated yourself this evening and have been emblematically presented the tools of the degree.

In this Holy Book are laid down the principles for correct living. Its great men loom large upon the background of world history, they lived, they fought, they loved, they sinned, they repented; and they have left behind them here in this Holy Book, the testimony that the keeping of God's law and the doing of God's will are the only things in this life worth living for.

We need to know our Bible, to learn its precepts, to reverence it as our Great Book Friend. And my brother, that your feet may not stumble; and that your pathway through life may be well lighted, your brethren of this lodge have commissioned me to place in your hands this evening, your own volume of the Sacred Law, that Great Masonic Light, with the prayer that It may indeed be a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path. They bid you read It frequently, carefully and thoroughly; and urge you use It as a rule and guide in your earnest effort to become a better man and a better Mason; a credit to this lodge in particular and an asset to the community wherein you may at any time reside.

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (September 2020)

posted Sep 18, 2020, 1:16 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

September is the Scottish Rite’s Constitutional Observance month.  The actual observance date is September 17.  At the time the Constitution was signed, one gentleman proclaimed that the signing would be celebrated with parades, bonfires, picnics and illuminations.  Little did he realize the celebrations would be usurped by the date of the Declaration of Independence’s signing, July 4th.

One important element of our Constitution is that it protects citizens from certain actions of the government.

When the founders of our Country were deciding on what form the new government should take, most existing governments were headed by Kings, Emperors and Potentates.  It has been said our form of government was based on Masonic principles.

In 1754 the then Board of Trade called a meeting known as the Albany Congress. This Congress decided a union of the colonies was desirable for trade with the Indians and to defend against the French.  Brother Benjamin Franklin was part of that Congress.  On the way to the Congress, he drew up what was called Franklin’s Albany Plan. 

The basis for the Albany Plan was Reverend James Anderson’s 1723 Anderson’s Constitution which defined the powers and relations of England’s Masonic Grand Lodge with Lodges and individual Masons.  Franklin was familiar with this Constitution as he reprinted it in 1734 for use by American Masons.   Anderson’s Constitution set out a federal system where local Lodges retained control of local matters and the Grand Lodge handled the Order’s general affairs.  It included majority rule, terms of office and checks and balanced by reserving the power to impeach the chief executive officer.

Franklin’s Albany Plan called for a president-general appointed by the English Crown and a grand council elected by the colonial assemblies.  Franklin’s plan was rejected however he presented it again in 1775 when the Articles of Confederation were being drawn up.  While it was again not accepted, some elements are in our Constitution.  It has been said had the plan been adopted there would not have been a Revolutionary War.

 

From the Master of Kadosh (September 2020)

posted Sep 18, 2020, 1:14 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

In my article this month, I want to mention  “remembrances” of the past and also “remembrances” of the future.  So, there I was resting at the San Jose Apartment after my annual heart valve checkup and there is this great little video system and screen to watch.  I am not yet with an internet video service at home in the north so this was a real treat.

And this English Historian was describing how he had spent the last 1 1/2 years documenting about the development and original use of the Atomic Bomb.  I was only a small boy when it was all taking place and my folks never let me know what was happening, but I have always been very interested and knowledgeable in my adult years.  His detailed description and input from all persons and events involved is outstanding and he finally gave in to all the pressure on him to document and publish his book, some of which is heart-wrenching.  His in-process book and its historical content and descriptions are very applicable to world events still taking place today.

On a similar vein, and a short time following, another TV program was showing ant it was about our world and planetary events that are happening with increasingly greater damage and which affect all of us, especially planet Earth now and in the future

I also remember an event as a boy when I was at home in the sun-room swinging my new baseball bat.  There was a storm outside blowing fiercely and all of a sudden the window crashed open and deposited glass particles all over my little sister sleeping on the couch.  It was the big east coast hurricane that is still talked about to this day.   Well my mother, thinking I broke the window, took the yardstick and meat the heck out of me.  But when my father came home he pointed out that the violent storm caused one of the big poplar trees outside to be uprooted and crashed and broke the window.

Similar weather related events ‘en-masse” are taking place worldwide today.  The 3 hour program described them all and things I thought about for years suddently came into focus and hit me all at once between the eyes.  Global Warming is heare and getting worse.  It means that our “home” is now about to reach the tipping point.

It means that since the last ice age we were very good at what we did and now have to be as good enough again to survive.  Our future will depend on Solar, wind, and batteries for energy.  The days of buriing fossil fuels is an issue, as are countries that allow massive deforestation and then burn all the cuttings.  And the list includes ice sheet melting and higher ocean water levels etc.

 

 

From the Venerable Master (August 2020)

posted Jul 27, 2020, 5:33 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

August, the “august” month, the distinguished, the respected, the venerable month. It is the eighth month of the year. But wait, it used to be called Sextilis, i.e the sixth month of the old Roman ten month calendar. Well, about 300 BC two months were added after better understanding of the world’s control over time, and then some adjustments were made on days of the months. The Roman Emperor Augustus claimed the month for him, having had good luck in battles fought that month. It’s good to be the King!

 

August is a also month that many of us associate with travel. Well, right now we need to rediscover the art of “stay-cation”. If you have a backyard, for kicks and giggles, get your tent out over the weekend and dust off that Weber camping grill that you may have. The rules have been tightened up again, so that cooler next to your tent will be safer than a beer at the out-door burger joint, and in handy distance. No mask required, unless your grill fire gets too smoky.

 

We will get over this, it is a matter of time, and this situation actually makes time available for projects, and for some people to do them. I have seen some amazing pictures of the improvements and renovations in our Scottish Rite Center. Many thanks to all that have been contributing thus far, by labor, or by donations. There are plenty of projects left, so if you can help in one way or the other, please contact our Secretary, Gregg.

 

I wish you all a happy August,

 

From the Wise Master ( August 2020)

posted Jul 27, 2020, 5:31 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Well my Brethren, Jul y Stated Meeting and Dinner has come and gone without us getting together. The Covid 19 issues still in effect. Hopefully by August 11th Stated and Dinner we will be able to meet.

In the May/June 2020 California Freemason Magazine, there was a photo of 8 Brothers displaying their Masonic Rings, which was to emphasize the Distressed Worthy Brother Relief Fund. I found a poem that is called "The Masonic Ring"

Those men who help my dad each day, They wear those Mason rings. A Square and Compass set in gold, The praise of which I sing.
My dad, he hurt his back you know, One cold and wintry day. He slipped and fell upon the ice. The insurance would not pay.

And since that time those rings I see, on hands that heip us much. With mowing lawns and hauling trash, Each day my heart they touch.

My Mom she cried from happiness, The time the Masons came. To aid our family in distress, Without a thought of gain.

And when I'm big, just like my dad,of this it must be told. I want to wear a ring like his, A square and Compass Gold.

Long years have passed since when, My dad was in that plaster cast. And since I swore that Solemn Oath, Which unites us to the last.

But more than that I'm proud to say, I wear his Mason ring. The one dad wore for many years. Until his death this spring.

And one last time his comrades came, To aid my weeping mother. They praised and bid a fond farewell, To our fallen Brother.

And after which My son did ask, About their aprons white. And of the rings upon their hands.Of gold so shiny bright.

With tearful eyes I said with pride, They're men of spirit pure. Those men who wear those Mason rings, Of that you can be sure.

And before he went to bed that night, The family he foretold. Someday I'll wear a ring like dad's, A Square and Compass Gold.

May you always have Love to share, Health to spare, and friends who care. May you be blessed.

 

From the Commander of Kadosh (August 2020)

posted Jul 27, 2020, 5:24 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brother Alexander K. Coney, 32nd Degree (1844-1897) was the husband of Rosalina de Coney who brought the heart of her murdered brother, Jose Cairo, to Oakland for burial.  Cairo was a Mexican Masonic martyr.

Brother Coney was the Mexican Consul General to the United States.  How he received that appointment is quite a story.

In 1976, Brother Coney was the purser on the steamship, City of Havana. While in the Gulf of Mexico, a Mexican national boarded the ship under a false name.  His real name was Porfinio Diaz, a former General who, at the time, had lead a failed revolt against the Mexican government.

The ship stopped at a port and some Mexican soldiers boarded.  Diaz tried to escape by jumping overboard but was saved by Coney.  Coney and Diaz determined they were Masons.  At that time Masonic membership was important in Mexican high society.  Coney was able to save Diaz from the Mexican Government again during the voyage.

Soon after this episode, Diaz became President of Mexico and rewarded Coney with the position of Consul General to France and later made Coney the new Consul General to the United States based in San Francisco.

Unlike his wife who is buried in Oakland, Brother Coney is buried in Colma.  The Coneys had a son, Joseph who later made his mark in the Bay Area.

 

From the Master of Kadosh (August 2020)

posted Jul 27, 2020, 5:21 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Continued from last month

I mentioned that it was hotter in the summer up here in Penn Valley and now it is getting to 102 deg. At mid day.  My sister said she needs A?C on most of the time at her house close by.  Well I’m from Boston and the Bay Area and I thought I didn’t need any A?C up here.. But after the fist two weeks of summer I now leave the A?C on until sunset.

The ocean influence down in the Bay can’t be beat, but here at 2000 ft altitude there is slightly less oxygen and it is much brighter, you really have to shield your eyes from the daytime brightness.  Also, the pollen of the farming that comes across the great Central Valley and mixes with pollen from all the trees in the hills takes some getting used to, especially in the nose and eyes.  And I can tell you, there are many, many trees here.

There are two Masonic lodges near-by; One in Grass Valley (Madison #32); and (Nevada #13) in Nevada City about 4 miles further up.  Both are very nice Lodges in older buildings in the center of each town.  This year MW John Trauner is Grand Master Of CA and is a member of Grass Valley lodge.  His ancestors and family have lived on their ranch in the nearby town of Rough and Ready initially since around 1845.  A real old Gold Rush Family tree history.

About 20 miles down lower from Penn Valley in the Great Central Valley there are Masonic Lodges in both Marysville and Yuba City and the Beale US Airbase is also located there.  Beal A>B> is a military home for the older Lockheed U@ and SR71 spy planes.   The are on exhibit there along with other aircraft and several times each year they hold an event for the public by security reservation only.  I had hoped that our SJSR group would be able to come up and visit the Gold mine and the Airbase, but it can be scheduled for next year if our new Master so desires.  If so, I would like to help.

I want to mention that the northern most major facility for Scottish Rite Bodies in CA is located in Sacramento and I plan to attend the SR mysteries even there on Saturday September 12.  Sacramento is about 60 miles south of my home.

 

From the Venerable Master (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:44 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Brethren,

I hope you all and your families are well.

July gives us Independence Day. A day that changed history and created this country. It influenced other countries. It changed the mind of people to understand that systems, specifically those that deprive the people from the fundamentals to survive, or that are despotism and tyranny can be changed.

Freemasons have been involved in this. The Boston Tea Party, General and later President George Washington, Paul Revere, Marquis de Lafayette and other Brethren played a major role in forming this country into a democracy. They did so as individuals. Other Freemasons that actively participated in and were driving revolutions include Simon Bolivar in South America and Mirabeau in France.

Rulers that care about the people have been Freemasons. Examples are the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, the Swedish Kings that have been Grandmasters of the Swedish Rite since its founding, and King Frederic the Great of Prussia who per Masonic tradition approved the Grand Constitutions of 1876 that are the basis of our Constitution of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction.

As Freemasons we are asked to support the local government. We are also asked to support Freedom, and practice Charity. A fine line, but it comes down to recognize and address despotism and tyranny, and change systems that deprive the people from necessary sustenance.

In my opinion it is about balance, equilibrium. A system that abuses its power ultimately will fail, and I would hope that in future Freemasons will not end up on the sidelines, but as individuals will continue to help to correct removal of Freedom, and support the society and needing individuals with Charity.

For further information on this topic, as a starting point:

https://dr-david-harrison.com/dr-david-harrison/freemasonry-revolution-latin-america/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki List_of_monarchs_who_were_Freemasons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morals_and_Dogma_of_the_Ancient_and_Accepted_Scottish_Rite_of_Freemasonry

We will miss our parades, with all the gathering before, during and after. I hope you all will have an opportunity though to gather electronically with your family and friends.

 

Happy Independence Day,

 

From the Wise Master (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:43 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Well my Brethren, by the time you read this article, the June activities for Scottish Rite will have still been put on hold. I hope July will have a better outcome. July 14th Stated Meeting and Dinner. I am looking forward to this meeting.

Last year I heard a poem in my Lodge that I would like to share with all my Brethren.

Hail, Masonry, Thou Craft Divine. By C. Delafaye

Hail, Masonry, thou craft divine, Glory of earth, from Heaven revealed, Which dost with jewels precious shine, From all but Masons' eyes concealed. Thy praises due who can rehearse, In nervous prose or glowing verse?

As men from brutes distinguished are, A Masons other men excels; For what's in knowledge choice and rare, But in his breast securely dwells? His silent breast and faithful heart Preserves the secret of the art.

Sweet fellowship, from envy free, Friendly converse of brotherhood, The lodge's lasting cement be, Which has for ages firmly stood. A lodge thus built, for ages past Has lasted, and will ever last.

Then in our songs be justice done To those who have enriched the art; From Jabal down to every one, And let each brother hear a part. Let noble Masons' healths go round, Their praise in lofty lodge resound.

May you always have Love to share, Health to spare, And friends who care. May you blessed.

 

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