Archive for August, 2011
Sometimes in the heat of a moment, lost in the exchange of ideas during a debate or an argument, we tend to forget who we are, what we are and that ties which mystically bind us together as better men.
Not that we are “unworthy” or because we are “fake,” “unreal” or “bad.” It’s because we are humans, still, and for as long as we remain this way up till the day we die, no matter how much knowledge we’ve acquired during our lifetime, the fact remains that we are continuously vulnerable to the many sudden outbursts of our old selves.
Thus, it will not always be rainbows and butterflies. Specific switches inside our complicated and highly powerful brain will self activate periodically, thereby causing our old dark self to resurface anew. All it takes is just one right button to ignite the bomb, and — bingo! — our rottenness is back with a vengeance.
That’s why learning is a lifetime process and we can’t afford to be complacent. That’s why we need admonishing to remind us of our missteps and to guide us back to the straight path.
That’s why we need to be understanding, and forgiving, of other’s faults as others do the same of ours.
I, to be honest, have had several fierce skirmishes with several Brethren as we disagreed on certain things. Most reasons are actually trivial, but because of poor communication, or perhaps the lack of it, plus our tendency to take things in the wrong way, the trouble starts to brew.
When it happens, hurt is planted on each other’s hearts and feelings begin to darken, prompting us to turn to the attack mode and pushing us towards the ugly realm of madness.
This is human nature, the impulsion to jump to conclusion and the compulsion to seek retribution for a cup of heartache acquired. It’s the evil that we are trying to defeat since the beginning of time. It’s the battle we all have yet to win.
Thus, to expect holiness and perfection from everyone on the account of us simply becoming a Mason is not only a misguided thought but likewise illogical.
So, too, to afford each other with exceeding expectations would only result to disappointment, sooner or later, as we see our flaws glaring at our faces mockingly.
For though we learn so many extraordinary things from our esoteric teachings and philosophies, truth is that such can not guarantee our complete emotional and psychological makeover.
Time will still come when our imperfections will rear their ugly heads, surprising, or even shocking, their hapless victims.
Moreover, we reside in an imperfect world, an environment teeming with temptations and rich in adversity.
So, how then do we differ from the rest and the unenlightened? Is there really a difference, or are we only fooling ourselves?
No, we are not deceiving ourselves. Yes, there is a big difference.
In countless attributes we are different. We could disagree on many things but could also agree on even more reasonable aspects with dignity and mutual respect; as quickly as our tempers flare, that fast also is our ability to forget the damage and forgive our aggressor; our compassion for the underprivileged and our passion to defend the weak are unparalleled; our endless quest for the advancement of equality, freedom and respect for human life are relentless, timeless and paramount; our unpretentious devotion to the Almighty is also a cut above the ordinary.
And the list goes on and on.
It is in the actual knowledge of our flaws, our willingness to accept, correct, and make up for our mistakes, and our peculiar ability to render each other the highest respect affordable in spite of some hurtful acts done that we are set apart from the rest of the human species.
This, and this alone, can the world behold us in great amazement and splendor. That in the roughness and rubbles of ourselves we can, as builders, erect human milestones, so perfect they not only changed the course of history but set a new direction for the whole new world.
Yes, it’s true. We are indeed Masons, but we aren’t saints.
The French Masons say: “We erect temples for virtue and dungeons for vice;” thus, referring to the great Masonic doctrine of a spiritual temple.
There is no symbolism of the Order more sublime than that in which the Speculative Mason is supposed to be engaged in the construction of a spiritual temple, in allusion to that material one which was erected by his operative predecessors at Jerusalem.
Indeed, the difference, in this point of view, between Operative and Speculative Masonry is simply this: that while the former was engaged in the construction, on Mount Moriah, of a material temple of stones and cedar, and gold and precious stones, the latter is occupied, from his first to his last initiation, in the construction, the adornment, and the completion of the spiritual temple of his body.
The idea of making the temple a symbol of the body is not, it is true, exclusively Masonic. It had occurred to the first teachers of Christianity.
Christ himself alluded to it when he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up;” andSt. Paul extends the idea, in the first of his Epistles to the Corinthians, in the following language: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
And again, in subsequent passage of the same Epistle, he reiterates the idea in a more positive form: “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
But the mode of treating this symbolism by a reference to the particular Temple of Solomon, and to the operative art engaged in its construction, is an application of the idea peculiar to Freemasonry.
Hitchcock, in his Essay on Swedenburg, thinks that the same idea was also shared by the Hermetic philosophers.
“With perhaps the majority of readers, the Temple of Solomon, and also the tabernacle, were mere buildings – very magnificent, indeed, but still mere buildings – for the worship of God. But some are struck with many portions of the account of their erection admitting a moral interpretation; and while the buildings are allowed to stand (or to have stood once), these interpreters are delighted to meet with indications that Moses and Solomon, in building the Temples, were wise in the knowledge of God and of man; from which point it is not difficult to pass on to the moral meaning altogether, and affirm that the building which was erected without the noise of a ‘hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron (1 Kings: 7)’ was altogether a moral building – a building of God, not made with hands.”
In short, many see in the story of Solomon’sTemple, a symbolical representation of Man as thetempleofGod, with its Holy of Holies deep seated in the center of the human heart.