Fidelity of the Slipper

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by AlfonsoMGonzalez, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. AlfonsoMGonzalez

    AlfonsoMGonzalez Registered User

    Here is an essay I presented to the Lodge as a Fellowcraft. Some education and thoughts on the Book of Ruth, I hope you enjoy!

    Why were you barefooted nor shawed? This was in allusion...etc… Brethren, you might recognize this from the 2nd part of the Entered Apprentice Proficiency Examination. Tonight I hope to inform you on the story of Ruth and the Fidelity of the Slipper.
    Let me start by first familiarizing you with the story of Ruth. The Book of Ruth commences with a famine in the land. We are introduced to a family who, leave Bethlehem and go to the Gentile nation of Moab. This family is made up of a husband, a wife and two sons. Each of their names has deep meaning. The husband was Elimelech, which means "God is my King." His wife was Naomi which means "Pleasant". The first son was called Macho meaning "unhealthy, sickly." The second son was called Chilion, meaning "wasting or "pining." In Moab, Maclon marries Ruth, which means "friendship, desirable" and "Chilion married Orpah, meaning "fawn" or gazelle. But within ten years all three men died, leaving behind widows without children. In this male-dominated society, women without a father, husband, or son to care for them could quickly become destitute; they had few rights. When they moved to Bethlehem they discovered a wealthy landowner Boaz, who was in fact a close relative of Naomi. To make a long story short, Boaz married Ruth. This great grandmother of King David is remembered as a gentle heroine in spite of the fact that she boldly approached the man she wanted to marry. Her story is one of an indigent widow who eventually remarried and gave birth to a family of kings.
    Brethren, at this time, let each of us call to mind that special moment, when we took upon our first Masonic obligation, and try to recall the sensation felt by the slipper / slipshod heel.

    From the most ancient times it has been customary, as a token of respect, to remove the shoes before stepping onto holy ground. The practice is mentioned many times in the Bible, on the first occasion when Moses saw the burning bush and the Angel of the Lord said to him: "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is Holy ground".And in most Eastern countries it is customary to remove the shoes before entering a temple, such as the Muslims do before entering a mosque.Boaz did this as a sign of his Fidelity to Ruth. Relieving a slipper to a neighbor was truly a testimony, because not everyone had shoes, and in those days the roads were rough were they traveled.
    Symbolically, within Freemasonry, the "slipshod heel" might be regarded as equivalent to removing the shoes on Holy ground. However, let us ‘speculate’ tonight that the slipshod heel is actually a confirmation of the obligation taken by the E.A. candidate and a sign of fidelity.

    We have heard the word “fidelity†many a time. It has been a very common word in the Proficiency Examinations but some of us wonder as I have, what does “fidelity†mean? Webster’s Dictionary describes Fidelity as the quality of being faithful or loyal.
    Experts have said that maintaining a secret is one of the most difficult of deeds for people to accomplish. Well Masons must be EXTRAORDINARY people, for according to the public, our Order is nothing but secrets, which of course we know is untrue. But we can, and do, preserve some things sacred and inviolable, and one of those things being our obligations.
    Interestingly, the obligation we all took as an Entered Apprentice is one of the most unforgettable moments in our lives. If there is a lesson to learn tonight brethren, it is that there is more to our obligations then just the spoken words. I believe it is the totality of the ceremonies, which creates the fervent desire to “honor†our obligations to bring “honor to the fraternityâ€. The 'safe and sacred repository', Brethren, is our hearts, and our act when we perform the gestures accompanying those most important words implies that we are enshrining the value of fidelity therein. Let us hope that we can apply the teaching of Fidelity to all the usual vocations of our lives, the better to square our actions.

    Thank you,

    Alfonso Michael Gonzalez
    M.M. Rio Grande Lodge #81
    Brownsville, TX

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