A Simple Charge to Our Fraternity...
What is Freemasonry? A simple Charge...
Blue Lodge Masonry
Masonry is the oldest sacred brotherhood in the world. Blue Lodge, Craft Lodges or Ancient Craft Lodges or Speculative Lodges were anciently dedicated to King Solomon because he is said to have been our first most excellent Grand Master, but in this country Masons dedicate their Lodges to the Holy Saint John the Baptist and the Holy Saint John the Evangelist who are said to have been two eminent patrons of Masonry. Even though there are those who claim to know, there is nothing which conflicts with your Duty to God, your Country, your Neighbor, or Yourself within our trust. Our oaths, rites, and obligations, are to impress on the candidate the seriousness of our ceremonies and teachings, and to display openly during initiation to a fellow brother ones sincerity to our craft. Masonry requires at initiation to all soon to be brothers that continue with our craft, to "profess a trust in God," and all of ones own free will and accord.
When and if a man senses the stirrings in his heart and mind for a deeper understanding of life than that he has theretofore found, he will seek until he finds the fraternity. This longing of the heart is the very beginning of his life as a Freemason, is why every candidate seeking Masonic light is said to spiritually, “first prepared in his heart.” The rites and privlidges of Freemasonry are of a serious nature, dignified in their presentation, and calculated to inculcate age-old teachings and knowledge which, if properly observed, understood, and practiced, obligate a man to lead a better life. A Freemason cannot be atheist; a man who is atheist cannot be recommended for candidature. The reasons for this exclusion are moral and historic. Morally, if a man has no acceptance of judgment beyond this world, he is seen as lacking any permanent context for his moral code. While he may be a “good” man, he has no reason to heed his moral compass other than the prospect of punishment in this life. A man that fears the consequences in the afterlife of his immoral acts in this world is seen as more trustworthy.
To obtain the greatest possible benefit from Masonic ritual, a candidate must prepare both his mind and his heart to understand and absorb the teachings of Masonry. The candidate should pay close attention to every part of the ritual. The forms of the various rituals will be new and unusual to the candidate, but such basic forms have always been part of the initiatic traditions of the ancient world. It is highly recommended that any newly made Mason attend and take part in similar degrees as soon and as often as possible so as to become more familiar with the ritual and the words accompanying it.
At the foundation of all Masonic belief lies the most important of our Blue Lodge Landmarks - the belief in the Fatherhood of God. This is a fundamental tenet of the fraternity, an abiding bond of union that unites all men of every country, denomination and opinion, who have faith in that which is not seen, a hope for a better future, and a charity or a love for truth, of Faith, of Hope, and of Charity.
No meeting of Masons will begin without the Holy Bible open on the Altar, and a prayer asked to the Almighty Father of our Faith. The inquirer who asks why the Ancient Craft Masonry is “blue” - why speak of Blue Lodge, Blue Degrees, wear aprons edged with blue, suspend jewel about the necks of officers with blue ribbons - is faced at once with two divergent schools of thought.
One of these is the practical, hard-headed, founded-on-fact school of the Masonic historian and antiquary; the other is that which associates ideas with objects, colors, numbers, beasts, birds, natural phenomena, etc., as symbolism has been developed and followed throughout the history of mankind.
Among the medieval Christians, “blue” was sometimes considered as an emblem of immortality, as red was of the Divine Love. Portal says that “blue” was the symbol of perfection, hope and constancy. “The color of the celebrated dome, ‘azure,’ was in Divine language the symbol of eternal truth; in consecrated language, of immortality; and in profane for which Masons strive.”
Our ancient brethren met on hills and in vales, over which the blue vault of heaven is a ceiling; Jacob in his wisdom saw the ladder ascending from earth to heaven; the covering of a Lodge is the clouded canopy or starry decked heaven. These allusions seem to connote that blue, the color of the sky, is that of all celestial attributes for which Masons strive. Which certainly connotes a reverence of these ancient Freemasons for Mary the Mother, and may easily be considered ground for thinking that the early builders also revered her special color.
However that may be, it is obvious that the absence of any evidence is not negative evidence; it is commonplace of human experience that in the face of any positive evidence for an idea, in the absence of any evidence against it, the fact should be admitted. All of which brings us to what we know of the earliest use of blue as a Masonic color, regardless of how much we may wish that our forefathers had adopted blue for the symbolism we are now content to read into the hue of heaven.
This has in no way intended to be an all-inclusive discourse, but merely a few words to perhaps pique your interest, and generate a few questions. In offering, Masonry is a brotherhood extending throughout the world, and never is a Mason truly alone during his travels to that undiscovered country, that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.