A Masonic paper created by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy and presented to the Victoria Lodge of Education and Research on February 17, 2009. photo credit Bro. Steven R Noble
On numerous occasions throughout Masonic Ceremony, the word LIGHT is used & it is the intent of this paper to explore, from my personal perspective, what the intent may be on those occasions and what may be the effect on our own personal lives.
To begin, in an effort to provide clarity on what I am referring to as LIGHT, I am providing the following selective definitions from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
5. a. spiritual illumination; b. inner light; c. enlightenment; d. truth;
Now let me share with you the following extract from the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey (1917).
Word explanations have been added by me.
“Light is an important word in the Masonic System. It conveys a far more recondite (esoteric) meaning than it is believed to possess by the generality of readers. It is in fact the first of all the symbols presented to the neophyte, and continues to be presented to him in various modifications throughout all his future progress in his Masonic career.
It does not simply mean, as we might have supposed, truth or wisdom, but it contains within itself a far more obtuse (not easily seen) allusion to the very essence of Speculative Freemasonry, and embraces within its capacious signification all the other symbols of the Order.
Freemasons are emphatically called “sons of light” because they are, or at least entitled to be, in possession of the true meaning of the symbol; while the profane or uninitiated who have not received this knowledge are, by a parity of expression, said to be in darkness.
The connection of material light with this emblematic mental illumination was prominently exhibited in all the ancient systems of religion & esoteric systems.”
Mackey then goes on to relate how important the concept of “Light” was then, and still is to this day, to all Religions dating back to the Ancient Egyptians etc.
As it is not my intention to deliver a “Historical Lecture” I believe the above extract will suffice for the purpose of this paper as I doubt if there would be any Freemason who would question the definition and explanation given.
Now, having reached this point of understanding and agreement, I would ask that you open your mind to another definition and interpretation of the word LIGHT again from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
To shine; something that makes vision possible; spiritual illumination; something that enlightens and informs; a set of principles, standards or opinions; a beacon.
It is this last piece of the definition that I wish to pursue with you.
That is the concept of us, as Freemasons and having received the Light, then becoming Beacons and transmitting that spiritual illumination; enlightenment; principles and standards in our daily lives.
How many times have we come into contact with a brother who is simply a joy to be around, positive in every way, lives life to the fullest and adheres to our Masonic principles. What I also find fascinating is that if you were to ask these brethren WHY they behave the way they do, they would be hard pressed to explain, other than to simply state that “That’s just the way I am”
Personally I have had the good fortune of meeting many such Brethren & have made the attempt to live up to the very high standards that they demonstrate. Hopefully with some success, but I do know my Ashlar has a lot of polishing yet to do!!!
Through the Mentorship Program I have come into contact with a number of Seekers who when asked “Why are your interested in Freemasonry?” have told me about a particular man whom they knew to be a Freemason and the impact that that person had on their lives. On one occasion I was told that the impact was so strong that “joining Freemasonry was the only sensible thing to do”
My message, and the purpose of this paper, is to stimulate the thought of what the World would be like if every Freemason became a living Beacon and exemplified all that is best in our Fraternity.
This challenge is not one for Grand Lodge, or any other Administrative Body, it is PERSONAL.
“Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in Heaven”
At my actual presentation there was excellent feedback and discussion relating to the impact that we as Freemasons could have on our family, friends, neighbors and communities by daily living the Masonic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. It might sound easy, however, in reality it is a HIGH road to follow. We also know that perfection is impossible but that should not stop us making a daily effort to polish our Ashlar just a little.