From the Personal Representative (September, 2008)

posted May 5, 2015, 4:47 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 5, 2015, 4:47 PM ]
For the past couple of months we have offered to any brother the chance to purchase and participate in “The Master Craftsman” a correspondence course sponsored by the Supreme Council, AASR that offers “Further Light in Masonry”. Many have gotten into the course and some of us plan to study in groups, sharing the information and philosophy.
Obviously, one of the reasons many of our brethren subscribed to this course of study was to find out more about Masonry. This idea, to some may seem absurd, because those of our members who have subscribed are brothers who have labored in the vineyards of the Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine, Eastern Star, and the countless other Masonic organizations we  belong to, and in all of these we learn volumes about Masonry and its appendant bodies.
Some of the lessons are repetitive and redundant, imparting the need for morality, truthfulness, tolerance, charity, temperance, etc., etc., etc. but all teach a basic lesson of Self Improvement and Enlightenment.
What, then do we need with a new course of study that will simply offer a chance to learn lessons that we have already had explained to us in countless different ways? The detailed philosophy dramatized in the various degrees is certainly interesting and engaging, but couldn’t we have absorbed these same lessons by sitting in or participating in the degrees without reading further?
Ill. Brother Albert Pike writes of the fascination of Masonry as the “… advancement toward the light on all the lines of progress, moral, intellectual, and spiritual …,” again the old theme of Self Improvement; Enlightenment, Moral Enrichment
However, in all my reading and re-reading so far, I came across an item that, to me, really stands out, It is the comment attributed to Albert Mackey’s The Symbolism of Freemasonry (1882) quoted on page xii, which reads, “Now, this doctrine, that labor is worship, is the very doctrine that has been advanced and maintained from time immemorial, as a leading dogma of the Order of Freemasonry.”
That, it seems to me, as Mackey says, sums up the reasons most of us are committed to the Craft. Labor, itself, the actual effort we put forth in advancing the interests of Freemasonry, is one of the most fulfilling and inspiring aspects of who we are and what we do.
We recently lost a brother, Illustrious Bill Roberts 33º, who exemplified this philosophy.  Bill, a 47 year Mason was one who never rested. His work, whether it was in his Craft Lodge, Research Lodge, Scottish Rite, Shrine, Eastern Star Chapter, church, or at home, never flagged. He labored constantly simply for the joy and fulfillment it brought him.
As I visit lodges, chapters, and clubs around the valley, I see other members, too numerous to mention who reflect that same attitude. There are so many examples of this philosophy among members of the craft that I'm embarrassed to tell you that it took me so long to realize this great truth about our fraternal family.
Look around you, and if you aren't impressed by these realities, if you aren't inspired by the contributions these brothers and sisters make to Freemasonry and their communities, you'd better look again.
Finally, when you do see these examples of diligence and dedication, let the person who displays these qualities know of your observations. It never hurts to pass along the feeling that you care about your brothers and sisters and that you do, indeed, appreciate their work.
Also, for those brothers that are interested, we still have a number of spaces available at the study table. The course is enlightening and the company congenial. Give me a call.

Bob Winter - Personal representative of the Deputy of the Supreme Council in California

The Rite Word - September 2008, Volume 2, Issue 9