The Rough Ashlar

Thoughts from a Traveling Man

The Rough Ashlar - Thoughts from a Traveling Man

What it Means to be Worshipful Master

19022009338The titles of Masonry can seem very affected and can even evoke a sense of self-imposed majesty on the bearers. We have worshipfuls, right worshipfuls, most worshipfuls, grand this and grand that, and other similarly high titles for the various appendant bodies. In fact, one friend laughed at me when I told her I was about to become Worshipful Master of my lodge. She thought the title was funny and pretentious sounding. I had to agree on some level. It is a bit pretentious sounding, but only to those who do not know what it means.

To be worshipful master of the lodge is to serve the lodge. It is not a role that is meant to be occupied and taken on with hubris or because it conveys a certain gravitas or level of power. In fact, it does come with power, but the man who aspires toward the oriental chair with visions of power is the man who should not be elected to the position. It is a station to be assumed with seriousness and reverence. It is a great undertaking to advance in the lodge and a great privilege and responsiblity to lead it.

The title Worshipful should not be worn as a mantle demanding authority, but as a mantle of piety. In the lodge meeting, the Master symbolically receives his authority from the Great Architect of the Universe. He who demands authority is unfit to wear the square. It is incumbent on him to be pious and worship and seek through prayer and devotion the guidance he needs to bring to the lodge. He is the one who worships most, at least in theory. The master of the lodge is worshipful, meaning full of worship, not meaning deserving of worship. The Mason who mistakes these two concepts has had the wrong instruction and guidance, but we are all rough ashlars in this mortal quarry, hoping to be found fit for use in the temple of Heaven. Misunderstanding these concepts is not a grave sin. Living in self-imposed darkness instead of seeking more light is the only sin in Masonry.

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