The Best Gifts

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by iainmason, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. iainmason

    iainmason Registered User

    The best gifts

    In the V.S.L. there occurs the injunction "Covet earnestly the best gifts."
    It is a noble counsel and is, for Freemasons especially, emphasized during
    one of our most beloved ceremonies, the annual Installation of Officers.
    You know the scene. The Wor. Master-elect stands before the altar and the
    Installing Master has recited to him the qualifications essential in one who
    is about to take on the responsibility of governing a Lodge. "He ought to
    be exemplary of conduct, easy in address, but steady and firm in principle;
    able and willing to undertake the management of the work, and well-skilled
    in the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge, and in the Antient Charges,
    Regulations and Landmarks."And then, these profound requirements uttered, he stresses them by asking, "Can you my Brother, conscientiously undertake...?"

    Now, since the candidate can be presumed to be aware of his own limitations
    yet has to make the response, "I can," as set forth in our Book of the Forms
    and Ceremonies, it is well for us to ponder the meaning of the demands made
    upon him-and ourselves.

    For think of it. Here is a Brother, a truth loving Mason, who, when asked if
    he can conscientiously take on the duties of Wor. Master in strict regard to
    the possession of the veritable catalogue of virtues required for that
    office-the enjoyment of some of which (easy in address, for instance) would
    require years of application and effort, to say nothing of quite uncommon
    natural inclination, is calmly expected to respond, "I can."

    We may imagine that he would wish to say something like this:-"Far be it
    from me to lay claim to these qualifications, but with humble sincerity and
    the aid of the Great Architect I will do my best."

    It is an impressive moment. And its meaning is conveyed with the force of a
    striking revelation. For, aware of the fact that very few of our Brethren
    possess the qualifications in any complete degree, we realize that we are
    not expected to-literally. Freemasonry is the soul of reasonableness. It
    makes no impossible demands. We are positive that the recital of what are
    termed the essential qualifications by the Installing Master is simply the
    holding up of an ideal, a prompting that we should, in the words of St.
    Paul, covet the best gifts, should strive to attain higher levels of
    achievement and usefulness, so that we might be the better enabled to serve our order and humanity thereby.

    This, surely, is the lesson of this particular phase of the Installation of
    Officers ceremony. It is a challenge to us to develop our best gifts and
    apply them. For while all of us cannot stand before the altar to utter the
    response of Wor. Master-elect, we are all privileged to make the occasion
    one of resolution and hope, thus rendering ourselves worthy of honour, that
    we in turn may honour the Craft.

    By Bro. L.J. Humphrey
    Nanaimo No. 110, BCY
    Published in Masonic Bulletin, BCY, January 1945

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