Return to the Tracing Board
There is a Blueprint to Becoming a Better Man.One of the means by which Freemasonry helps men become better is by helping them recognize that through labor they can achieve the things they desire in life. It helps them achieve great things for themselves, their families, their community and the world. However, it is important to recognize that those goals are achieved only through hard labor, of course, but also through carefully measured improvement. The Master builder traces his plans on the tracing board for his workers to ensure a unity of effort; a shared vision and ultimately the successful execution of that vision. Similarly, as Masons, we should be compelled to follow the lessons, which have been traced before us, in order for our vision of improvement to be realized.
"the ancient temple-builders would have been fools to labor incessantly without ever referring back to the original design"If we apply this thinking to our own life, we can imagine that the legacy of our life is the finalized vision that The Master has laid before us. We therefore become responsible for separating that final vision into smaller, more manageable projects and tasks, which will give way to the final vision. Just like the ancient temple- builders would have been fools to labor incessantly without ever referring back to the original design, we would be fools not to frequently refer to the tracing board of our life. I mentioned that we can achieve great things for our families, communities and the world, but it begins with the builder; it begins with you. Imagine how irresponsible it would have been of the Master Builder to entrust a newly admitted apprentice to the complex geometry and arithmetic of designing the foundation of the building. Instead it would be prudent for the master builder to help that same apprentice to labor on the tasks he is qualified to perform, while following a learning program to help him learn more complex tasks. This progressive improvement is what we are after in Freemasonry. When we sit in the North East corner of the lodge, we are certainly eager to learn about the great mysteries of the Craft. However, one thing I have seen countless times with the newest members of the Lodge, is that unless they are paired up with knowledgeable mentors to help them understand the true purpose of Freemasonry, their progression through the degrees tends to become more of a memorization challenge than an actual application of lesson learned. The new candidate, once initiated and considered a Brother, is then entrusted with the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice. These tools help him, if taught properly, to make good use of his time and measure it carefully. To focus on his imperfections in order to become a more perfect ashlar for the building of the Temple. It is therefore wise for a man, despite his ambition to continue progressing through the degrees, to not only memorize the work of the Entered Apprentice, but to fully embrace the lessons of this Degree before setting his sights into the upcoming ones. Returning to the allegory of the building of a temple. If the initial steps of the building process are not done carefully, then the stability of the rest of the building is compromised. Let's take measured steps. Steps of intention. Let's return frequently to the tracing board to make sure that we have been following that plan, which will ultimately help us reach the perfection we seek.
"If you see a fellow Brother cutting corners in his progress or neglecting any of the fundamental lessons of our Order, be courteous and courageous by speaking wise counsel into his ear."I personally ask you, If you see that I am neglecting any of the steps necessary for me to reach the ultimate vision in my life, please speak wise counsel in my ear and help me reconsider the lessons laid on the tracing board. If you see a fellow Brother cutting corners in his progress or neglecting any of the fundamental lessons of our Order, be courteous and courageous by speaking wise counsel into his ear. After all, this is one of the things which makes this Brotherhood special, we are all working towards the betterment of each other and towards the betterment of society as a whole. Therefore, let's return together and review the plans on the tracing board to make sure that we are progressing in the right (90 degrees) direction.
Please answer this:
If you see a Brother who has forgotten those early lessons and seems to be heading down a dangerous path, How would you courageously speak wise counsel in his ear, while still being courteous?
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