November 2013 Regional Orient Membership Ambassador Message

posted May 30, 2015, 2:48 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 30, 2015, 2:49 PM ]
Masonry teaches not only the necessity, but the nobility of labor. From the time of opening to that of closing, a Lodge is said to be at labor. The use of the word "labor" is but one of the numerous instances in which the terms of operative Masonry are symbolically applied to speculative:  as the Operative Masons were engaged in the building of material edifices, so Scottish Rite Masons, like all Free and Accepted Masons, are supposed to be employed in the erection of a superstructure of virtue and morality upon the foundation of the Masonic principles that we were taught at their admission into the Order.
When the Lodge is engaged in reading petitions, hearing reports, debating financial matters, etc., we are said to be occupied in business; but when we are engaged in the form and ceremony of initiation into any of the Degrees, we are said to be at work. Initiation is Masonic labor. This phraseology at once suggests the connection of our Speculative system with the Operative art that preceded it, and upon which it has been founded. In his Freemasons Lexicon, published in 1818, Johann Christian Gaedicke said:  "Labor is an important word in Freemasonry - indeed, we might say the most important. For this, and this alone, does a man become a Freemason."
The labor of an Operative Mason will be visible, and he will receive his reward for it, even though the building he has constructed may, in the next hour, be overthrown. He knows that he has done his labor. A Scottish Rite Freemason's labor, although generally intangible, must be visible to himself and to his Brethren, or, at least, must be conducted to the do-er's own internal satisfaction. As we build neither a visible Solomonic Temple nor an Egyptian pyramid, our industry must become visible in works that are imperishable, so that, when we vanish from the eyes of mortals, it may be said of us that our labor was well done.
As Freemasons, we labor in our Lodge to make ourselves a perfect building, without blemish, working hopefully for the consummation, when the house of our earthly tabernacle shall be finished, when the Lost Word of Divine Truth shall at last be discovered, and when we shall be found by our own efforts at perfection to have done service unto God.

Durward C. Ayre, 33°, MC, Regional Orient Membership Chair for the Valleys of San Jose, Fresno and San Francisco in California