What does a Mason Build?
– From an address given by R.W. Bro. Myron Lusk, Grand Lodge of Alberta (date unknown)
What does a Mason build, and when will the building be completed?
Although, of course, our heritage is that of the Operative Masons who built the magnificent cathedrals we now marvel at as tourists or students of architecture. Freemasonry has from the time of the operative Mason, to the present day been a mission to build a Spiritual Temple in the heart of each individual Brother.
Perhaps that Inner Temple is not physically imposing or as beautiful as the soaring arches and towers, but in the eyes of GOD it is the ultimate masterpiece. Freemasonry does not hold the deed or have rights to this Spiritual Temple. It becomes the property of all mankind, a shelter for those in need, both physically &spiritually, and a storehouse from which to draw much needed supplies of virtues.
The past decades have produced monumental advances in technology. Yet as Dr. Albert Schweitzer observed:-
“Man has learned to control nature, but he still has not learned to control himself”
With our knowledge, the Spiritual Temple of man is far from finished. But this must not allow us to waver or deviate from the blueprint set out for us by the Great Architect of the Universe. The principles of “Brotherly Love; Relief and Truth” are more desperately needed today than ever.
There are those who would have us wander from the plan set for the building of our own personal Temple. They would like to see us more visible and enter upon more public enterprises. In my opinion, it is not that these well meaning Brethren are wrong in their intentions, but they fail to recognize the grand design that has been laid out for us.
We are told in the Fellowcraft Degree Charge “The internal and not the external qualifications of a Man are what Freemasonry looks at”
I am reminded of a story about a boy who was given a jig-saw puzzle of the Map of the World to put together. His father was astonished when after a very short time the boy had completed the task.
“How did you do that so quickly” asked the father.
“Well” said the boy” there is a picture of a man on the back.
I put the man together properly and the World turned out fine”
That analogy points out what Freemasonry’s purpose really is. If we can assist Brethren in building their own Spiritual Temples, then they can practice the moral teachings in their own personal lives and thereby have a beneficial influence on all mankind, not just the Lodge.
We place our initiate at the North -East corner of the Lodge and inform him that he represents the cornerstone of a Spiritual Temple, exhorting him to “raise a superstructure perfect in all its parts and honourable to the Builder”
We know that stones erode and Temples crumble, but moral qualities and spiritual values are eternal. The candidate stands at the North-East corner mid-way between the North, (that place of darkness), and the East, (that place of Light). It is our duty to lead him to the Light, not merely by symbols, allegories & ritual, but by making our teachings meaningful to him in a very real way, and to be practiced in the World outside of our Tyled Lodge.
The future of our World depends on men of goodwill. We can practice our Ritual and exemplify the Degrees to perfection, but if we do not take the noble lessons out of the Lodge, into public life and exert an influence for the good of our fellow man, we have wasted the Great Architect’s plan for each and every one of us.
We must not lose confidence and belief in the great truth of our basic principles. Truth can accomplish all things. We must persevere in the practice of Freemasonry’s tenets. We must continue to build our Inner Temple and must be “constantly” admonished to observe that blameless purity of life and conduct which will enable us hereafter to stand before the Great Architect of the Universe, unstained by vice and unspotted by sin.
You and I must be builders for future generations. We must believe in what we do and what we attempt to teach one another. We must keep steadfast and sow the seeds of Freemasonry. We know that not all candidates for Freemasonry will totally agree with our teachings. However, there will be those who will provide Fertile Ground and Freemasonry & the World at Large will reap a rich harvest from their efforts.