Before I began to lose my eyesight I was what the bookstores refer to as an avid reader.
When I found or got word of an interesting book, I’d go and buy it and read it from cover to cover, including the preface, the introduction, the list of illustrations, everything, and if it was really interesting, I’d read it a second time just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
After all what is the point of buying a book if you don’t read it. I’m sure nobody would buy a book if they didn’t intend to read it.
And yet, when we become MM, almost the first thing we need is the book of the ritual, so we buy one, and then we don’t read it.
Oh, we use it, but we don’t read it. We use it by picking out all the bits of dialogue we need to memorize for the particular chair that we happen to occupy at the time, or for a particular section of the ritual that we are to present at the next meeting, but we don’t read the book.
This book of the ritual is jam-packed full of information, almost everything you need to know about all the ceremonies that we perform. All the openings and closings, the three degrees, labour to refreshment and back to work again, the charges, grand honours, the ceremony of escorting a Grand Lodge dignitary into the lodge in form, the floor work with diagrams, even a few things that we must not do.
But when we attend the practice, if we attend the practice, we have to depend on the D of C to tell us what to do, how to do it, and where to be when we do it, whereas, if we had read the instructions in the book, we would know what to do as well as what to say.
There is a common misconception about the duties of the D of C. The D of C is there to correct us when we are incorrect, and to add to or supplement the instructions contained in the book, to assist the WM to get everything in order in preparation for the coming meeting. It is not his province to teach us our job; we are expected to learn that ourselves by reading the instruction provided for us in the book of the ritual that we have paid for.
So there are two basic things that we, as officers of the lodge, or potential officers have to do.
We have to read the book from cover to cover so that we know what we have to do as well as what we have to say, we have to attend the practices so that the D of C and the WM can ensure that everything is in order, and that we, the officers, are aware of the order of things. We will become more knowledgeable and more efficient, then the practices will be easier and quicker, and the meetings will run smoothly and efficiently, which will be appreciated and enjoyed by all, members and visitors alike.
The lodge works from the latest edition of the ritual book because there have been some changes made over the past few years. If the book you have now is out of date, the secretary will be happy to supply a new one at a very reasonable price. And when you’ve purchased the book, take an hour out of your busy schedule, and read it. You may be surprised at what you don’t know.
Bill Douglas P.M.
Kenilworth Lodge #29, G.R.A.
Life Member Beacon #190, G.R.A.