Ritual is not enough

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Published in "Ashlar" in Queensland, and republished in MASONIC LIGHT,
    Huntingdon, Quebec; March 1952.

    Masonry has no room for narrow-mindedness, nor is its educational horizon
    confined to the Temple. It is not a secret society, for its aims and
    objects are known the world over and no attempt ought to be made to conceal them. The only secrets attached to the Craft are the modes of recognition and the methods of identification; and these, after all, are our safeguards against the admission of undesirables into a community of men who prize honor and virtue above all else.

    There are so many Brethren whose knowledge of the Craft does not go outside the Ritual, Brethren who have been given little or no instruction in Masonic symbolism or the inner meaning of the ceremonies, and who have but a limited idea of the Fraternity of which they are members. A good knowledge of the Ritual is highly desirable, but it should also be remembered that Ritualism is only the outward and visible sign of Masonry.

    The modern man is above all a thinker, an enquirer. The age of
    unquestioning faith is passed. In every phase of life men are asking "Why?"
    and expect to be answered plainly. If he answers are not forthcoming,
    enquirers turn away, and that means in Masonry a great army of unattached
  2. Chris_Ryland

    Chris_Ryland Registered User

    What a great post!!!!! I agree completely with what they are saying here. It is not enough to learn the ritual and consider yourself a Mason. I try to teach all of my students--most of them my closest friends now---the symbolism and meaning behind the ritual as my teacher and mentor taught me. It makes us a tighter group of friends and brothers. Without the meaning, the ritual is just empty words that are recited. I also continue to learn about the symbolism myself and share with all as I do. This is one of the reasons that we should continue the face to face teaching of EAs and FCs instead of just handing them a book to learn from. Without the face to face time, they may never learn those lessons that are not ritual.
  3. Payne

    Payne Registered User

    I agree with that 100%
  4. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    I read this somewhere and have no idea who first said it;
    "The beauty of ritual is that it allows tradition to be passed on by those who don't understand it."
    The other side of the coin, so to speak.
  5. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    I'm afraid that, in too many instances, this is precisely what happens. We do our students a disservice if we do not take the time to teach & explain the lessons contained within our ritual, rather than just parroting the words.
  6. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    Bro Lins, I agree up to a point but in my own case..
    I learned the lecture of the EA degree 30+ years ago and for the first couple-3 of years all I did was recite the words. As time and experience past I became aware of the lessons, symbols etc and am able to deliver it in a much better fashion. But I do not believe that my time and efforts were in vain in the beginning. I did the best I could and my attempts were much needed at that time. I also don't think that I did anyone any disservice but I gained the most from my efforts.

    Don't want to argue but, I think the quote in my previous post has some validity.
  7. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    Bro. Zack, reread your post. It states "by", not "to". I was referring to the teacher, not the student.

    You posted: "As time and experience past I became aware of the lessons, symbols etc"

    That's wonderful, but wouldn't it have been better if your instructor had made you aware of them rather than you having to discover them for yourself? Most Brethren will never get there on their own, as you have. I think we owe it to them to include the explanations in our teaching, rather than just leaving them to (hopefully) figure things out for themselves (if they ever do).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  8. tom268

    tom268 Registered User

    I once chatted with a brother from the US, I don't know any more from which jurisdiction. He told me that he just arrived home from a wonderful and amlost perfect evening in the lodge.

    I have my own opinions about how a wonderful lodge meeting has to be, so I asked him, what he took home emotionally from the lodge. He didn't even know what I am asking about. I put it on my lack of language skill, so I asked him, what touched him in the ritual, but he still did not know what I wanted from him.

    Then I asked, what he considers wonderful in the meeting, and he answered, that the ritual was performed flawlessly. Now it was on my to not understand. It took me a while to realize, that it really was just that. The performance of the ritual was his only experience for that evening.

    Well, we have a little different masonry here, more contemplative, more meditative maybe, but I found "a good show" a bit shallow for a lodge meeting.

    I guess that is, what you are talking about, blake?

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