"Suitable Proficiency"

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Bro. Kurt P.M., Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Bro. Kurt P.M.

    Bro. Kurt P.M. 2018 14G DCO Premium Member

    In the Middle Ages operative apprentices were required to labour seven years before they were thought to know enough to attempt to become Fellows of the Craft. At the end of the seven-year period an apprentice who had earned the approbation of those over him might make his Master's Piece and submit it to the judgment of the Master and Wardens of his lodge.

    The Master's Piece was some difficult task of stone cutting or setting. Whether he as admitted as a Fellow or turned back for further instruction depended on its perfection.

    The Master's Piece survives in Speculative Masonry only as a small task and the seven years have shrunk to a minimum of one month. Before knocking at the door of the West Gate for his Fellowcraft's Degree an Entered Apprentice must learn "by heart" a part of the ritual and the ceremonies through which he has passed. Easy for some, difficult for others, this is an essential task. It must be done, and well done. It is no kindness to an Entered Apprentice to permit him to proceed if his Master's Piece is badly made.

    As the initiate converses with well-informed brethren, he will learn that there are literally
    millions of Masons in the world – three millions in the United States. He does not know
    them; they do not know him. Unless he can prove that he is a Mason, he cannot visit in
    a lodge where he is not known, neither can he apply for Masonic aid, nor receive
    Masonic welcome and friendship.

    Hence the requirement that the Entered Apprentice learn his work well is in his own

    But it is also of interest to all brethren, wheresoever dispersed, that the initiate know his
    work. They may find it as necessary to prove themselves to him as he may need to
    prove himself to them. If he does not know his work, he cannot receive a proof any
    more than he can give it.

    It is of interest to the lodge that the initiate know his work well. Well-informed Masons
    may be very useful in lodge; the sloppy, careless workman can never be depended upon
    for good work.

    Appalled at the apparently great feat of memory asked, some initiates study with an
    instructor for an hour or two, find it difficult, and lose courage. But what millions of
    other men have done, any initiate can do. Any man who can learn to know by heart any
    two words can also learn three; having learned three he may add a fourth, and so on,
    until he can stand before the lodge and pass a creditable examination, or satisfy a
    committee that he has learned enough to entitle him to ask for further progress.

    The initiate should be not only willing but enthusiastically eager to learn what is required
    because of its effect upon his future Masonic career. The Entered Apprentice who wins
    the honour of being passed to the degree of Fellowcraft by having well performed the
    only task set him goes forward feeling that he is worthy. As Speculative Freemasonry
    builds only character, a feeling of unworthiness is as much a handicap in lodge life as a
    piece of faulty stone is in building a wall.

    But the most important reason for learning the work thoroughly goes farther. It applies
    more and more as the Fellowcraft's Degree is reached and passed and is most vital after
    the initiate has the proud right to say, "I am a Master Mason."

    Introduction to Freemasonry – Entered Apprentice – by Carl H. Claudy

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