Monday, February 14, 2011

‘Masonic Week 2011: Nine Muses’

There now are more than 400 councils of Allied Masonic Degrees in the United States, and they all are special, but there is one in particular that is constitutionally capped at nine members, all of whom are elected for life, and “who have made outstanding contributions to the field of Masonic Literature Research,” according to said constitution. It is called Council of Nine Muses No. 13, and it also meets only once annually, at Masonic Week during AMD’s various events.

Prior to the installation of officers, the exiting Master delivers a lecture, and this year it was M.V. David Hargett’s turn. I believe he said the title of his paper is “Faith, Hope, and Love.” Of course that trio of virtues is known well to Freemasons, especially to those of us with a Rose Croix background.

It’s funny, but attending weddings over the years, I have noticed how common it is for there to be readings of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians for its discourse on love. I think it funny because it is clear St. Paul is not writing of romantic or marital love that would fit the occasion of a wedding; his subject actually is a form of charity, but he also makes it understood it isn’t the-giving-of-alms kind of charity, but rather the spiritual gift of brotherly love form of charity (from the Latin caritas) necessary to community life. And that is where Bro. Hargett was going as well on Saturday morning, despite the approach of Valentine’s Day.

“I am grateful for a fraternity that allows me to embrace all mankind,” he said. “All nations in a brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God.... Freemasonry is a sacred thing because we can see the religious faiths of all men, and use our own faith to bring us closer to God and to one another for the noble and glorious purpose of making brotherhood a reality....

“When a man knows how to pray, how to love, and how to hope, he’ll know Freemasonry.”

He said a lot more, but I believe that is the gist of his prepared remarks. I have no idea if he chose this message for that day for any particular reason, but it meant an awful lot to me. Furthermore, his soft-spoken delivery made this lecture sound like the most important thing said all weekend. Maybe it was.

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