I guess I've got the convert's syndrome going on: too much enthusiasm, leading to too much posting, but after reading this month's issue of Lodge Room International magazine, I needed to make this challenge.
In the opening article, "Between the Columns," by Brother Dunn, the author said, "It [our obligation] is the golden tie that binds us, our Obligation to all brothers, wheresoever dispersed around the globe, and their obligation to us in return." (1)
As I mentioned in an earlier article, I just passed my Third Degree Proficiency on November 8. As we all remember, a big part of this is the Master Mason's Obligation. In the dizzying pressure to get the words right, I know I was more interested in content than context. I suspect a lot of us do this.
I do know that we all look at this with a bit of humor. It's hard to do. We all do it. Modesty makes us make light of the process. But what about the actual content and context the whole catechism, and most particularly the obligation. Those of us with more years under our belt have gone over the Obligation and the Catechism many times. Familiarity breeds, if not contempt, at least comfort. If we talk about it lightly or humorously often enough, do we take it less seriously over time?
Now that the doing of it (the Proficiency) is done, I'm looking at the words I said and the form I said them in. I'm not going to write down any of the things I said or did, but I am going to challenge all Brother Master Masons to recall, as accurately as possible the words and ritual of our Obligation.
Each of us will attach our own meaning to the words, based on our beliefs and feelings. Be sure to know that the words have meaning. Actual dictionary meaning. The words also have meanings that have been attached by years of use.
Part of this challenge is to, in the right place and with the right person, to discuss the meanings of the words. Also to be sure we all remember all of the words right.
"Obligation is founded on the necessary distinction between good and evil; and it is itself the foundation of liberty." (2)
In the Fellowcraft Degree, we are enjoined to seek knowledge. The knowledge of our Master Mason's Obligation is basic to all further growth.
(1) Dunn, Theron R., Lodgeroom International Magazine, "Between the Columns," V. 2, Issue 11, November, 2007, p2
(2) Pike, Albert, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, L.H. Jenkins, Richmond, VA, 1871, p 723
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This blog is the thoughts of a Freemason. It's not affiliated with any Masonic body, and doesn't speak for Freemasonry in any sense of the word. My purpose is to raise questions, not dictate answers. If you read this blog, please comment; please subscribe, so we can look for answers to these questions together.