From the Venerable Master (February, 2012)

posted May 23, 2015, 3:18 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 23, 2015, 3:18 PM ]
Chuck Cowden
I thank the Brethren for allowing me to serve you as Venerable Master in 2012. I will do all I can to make the ensuing year a productive, enjoyable and educational experience.
It is my intention throughout the year to use this column as a forum to shine the beam of Masonic light on various ideas and concepts which I trust you will find worthwhile. So, during the year I am going to share some of the thoughts of my two favorite Masonic scholars: Ill Manly P. Hall, 33 Degree and Worshipful Brother Walter Leslie Wilmshurst. I find much of value in their writings as to the practice of our gentle craft. I will cite four books up front that I recommend for your reading. If you have already read them they are worth an encore.
From Ill Hall I commend “The Lost Keys of Masonry” and “Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians”. From the fertile mind of Brother Wilmshurst I recommend “The Meaning of Masonry” and “The Masonic Initiation”.
In Chapter VI of “The Lost Keys of Freemasonry”, Brother Hall sets forth the attributes of a “true” Mason. I believe one can substitute Master for true and not change the essence of Brother Hall’s thoughts.  Here are just a few of his ideas on the qualifications of a Master Mason.
The true disciple of ancient Masonry has given up the worship of personalities. With his greater insight he realizes that all forms and their place in material affairs are of no importance to him when compared to the life which is evolving within him. Hall states that those who might allow appearances or worldly expressions to deter them from their spiritual tasks are failures in Masonry for Masonry is an abstract science of spiritual development.  The true Mason realizes that there is one thing connected to life, the spark of God in all living things.
The true mason is not creed- bound. He knows that within the divine light of his Lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal; Christ, Buddha or Mohammed makes no difference. The true mason recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He knows the truer understanding of the “oneness” of all spiritual truth. 
The true Mason has the power of observation. He is a student of human nature and sees in those around him the unfolding and varied expressions of the connected spiritual Intelligence. He has sworn that in his everyday life he will use the life message he hears and build it as Temple to his God. He is a living instrument or tool in the expert hands of the Master Workman.
To close, I think it is both important and interesting to point out that Ill Hall was 19 when he started writing this book. He was only 21 when it was published and he was not a Mason at that time. It was from his study of comparative religion that he became aware of the secret philosophical schools and societies of the ancient worlds. This knowledge and the many books on Freemasonry that were readily available in the library led him to write “The Lost Keys of Freemasonry”.  
Mark your calendars for our two evenings of Scottish Rite Instruction and Agape Dinners. The first is on May 29th and the second on November the 20th. 
 Those who attended our previous Nights of Instruction have enjoyed an evening of Masonic Light, great food, drink and  Brotherly Love.

Fraternally,
Chuck Cowden, 32⁰,  KCCH
Venerable Master