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Archive for April 1, 2008

I’m Ready For My Last Degree (A Poem)

(From the Scottish Rite Reporter, Vol. XXXVII, March 2007)  

An old man lay sick in the Masonic State Home

His face was as white as the White Sea foam

His eyes were dim, his hair was gray

His back was bent with the toils of the way

He unflatteringly spoke, and I heard him say: 

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

I’ve come to the end of that level of time

That leads us all to the Grand Lodge sublime

From whose sacred form none ever returns

More light in Masonry there I shall learn

By an altar where light ever more burns. 

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

With the apprentice’s gauge I divided my time

And this I have found amidst life’s great turmoil

Time for work, for worship and rest for my toil

My wages are due in corn, wine and oil. 

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

Each day from life’s quarries I’ve hewn out a stone

With the gavel I’ve shaped them each one alone

And shipped them alone beyond that bright strand

To build me a house in that bright, better land

A spiritual house not made by hands. 

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

I’ve squared each stone by the virtue square

And plumbed them all true as I shipped them there

With the compass, I’ve measured the Master’s Designs

And kept in due bounds with his points and his lines

My blueprints are folded — I’ve answered his signs. 

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

A few moments later the old man was dead

And I fancy I could see his soul as it fled

Upward and onward to that great door

Where he gave his alarm with these words once more:

“I’m ready for my last degree.” 

That night in a lodge free from strife and storm

He took his last degree – his last in due form

So may I live as to build day by day

A spiritual house in that land far away

So when I meet my Grand Master I can say: 

“I’m ready for my last degree.”


Hidding Behind the Box

STRANGE BUT TRUE that the fate of every individual desiring admission into this Fraternity lies gravely in world’s most basic color combination – black and white. 

            It’s this peculiarity that, perhaps, makes Freemasonry not only eccentrically unique but – again strangely – mysterious to those outside. 

            And possibly too that such strangeness is what gives every aspirant the so-called “chill of his life” while awaiting the outcome of the balloting. 

            Every man aiming to become a Mason, regardless of his stature, is being voted for or against by members of the Lodge before he receives the First Degree of Masonry. 

            Recommendations from other Masons and paying the corresponding application fees do not guarantee an outright acceptance. Subsequent investigations will be conducted first to verify his good standing.

            Remember that Freemasonry seeks only good men!

 If the candidate gets favorable remarks from at least two of the three investigators, the balloting follows. Members shall thereby decide whether the candidate deserves to be given a “white ball” or a “black cube.” 

            With an all-white ballot the applicant is granted admission; with a black-marred vote, rejection. One black cube, in fact, is what it takes to vitiate the ballot of a hundred white balls. 

 Black-cubing (or black-balling, others say), by nature, is not actually wrong. It’s the means by which we weed out the unworthy from the good. 

            What is Masonically sinful, meanwhile, is to cast a black cube from improper or retaliatory motives.  

            Hiding behind the ballot box to exact vengeance against anybody at the expense of someone is nothing but pure cowardice, is disgraceful, and an absolute betrayal of our obligations as Masons — in the highest degree. 

            Freemasonry teaches us to spread Brotherly Love, and to treat every brother as our self; to whisper good counsel to the confused and to aid and assist a brother in distress. 

Masonry flourishes through time because of growing memberships around the world.  

Balloting must never, ever, be made as a tool for personal vendetta, or, a medium for practical jokes. 

Balloting has been part of our ancient tradition and, therefore, it must not be disrespected. 

No faithful Mason, honestly, would ever dare to do commit such a sin. Not even in his wildest dream.