From the Personal Representative (August, 2009)

posted May 15, 2015, 3:09 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 15, 2015, 3:09 PM ]
This month’s message is going to be something of a continuation of “The Four T’s of Masonry” and will be another of the explicit qualities we are taught to practice in our daily lives; that of Temperance. 
This is another of the many personal characteristics taught in the first degree, and I have included it in this series for several reasons. First that I might get the readers thinking in the direction this subject leads us, and secondly, if we are discussing personal qualities, temperance should be high on everyone’s list. 
In the First Degree, we are told that Temperance is that due restraint on the affections and passions that renders the body tame and governable and frees the mind from the allurement of vice.  This quality alone is one of the pre-eminent characteristics of a judicious, well disciplined life. We can be cheerful, out-going, and possessed of a lively sense of humor and still exercise Temperance.
A temperate person is sensitive to the concerns of others and courteous to all, without becoming unnecessarily subservient. A temperate person considers consequences before rushing into ill advised or hastily conceived situations. A temperate person controls his or her anger when confronted with difficult situations or with difficult people. Temperate people are pleasant to be with, because they exercise self control and are slow to wrath, as we are instructed in the Holy Writings. 
Another word for temperance might be moderation.  We seek moderation in all that we do and say because it reflects good taste and self restraint. The architectural instrument that best represents temperance, of course, is the compass. It reminds us to contain our desires and keep our passions under control toward all mankind. It teaches us self restraint.
Have you ever encountered an inconsiderate driver and, after he or she has passed you, you look down and see a bumper sticker or other emblem that identifies that person as a member of a religious group or other organization that preaches the Golden Rule? How do his hasty or inconsiderate actions affect your thinking with regard to that person’s representation of that organization? 
We, as identified with the family of Masonry, dwell in glass houses. Our actions are being scrutinized continually, and because we are Masons, we are held to a higher standard than the general public. Our families, our co-workers, the members of our church, and even our friends tend to hold us to answer for our actions on a little higher plane than they do of the rest of society, and that is the way we have chosen to live. When we accepted the mantle of Masonry, we committed to a set of principles by which we agreed to govern our lives and that set of principles says that we are to be temperate in our every act and word.
When I hear a brother Mason use foul, inconsiderate, or abusive language, I mentally cringe, because that type of language is intemperate. It hurts him more than it hurts the person for whom it is intended, but it also hurts the fraternity. When I see a brother act inconsiderately or intolerantly toward another, I want to look for a place to hide, because I am embarrassed for the sake of our principles.
It is one of the four cardinal virtues, I know, but moreover, it is our obligation to ourselves and our fraternity to exercise temperance in all we do in this life.

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

The Rite Word - August 2009, Volume 3, Issue 8