What would George Washington Do?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

President and Brother George Washing was born on February 22, 1732. His home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, is a testament to his leadership in both our Country and in our personal lives. When George was 16 years of age, he was given a writing exercise, and he wrote his 101 Rules of Civility. Here are a few and are presented in the language and phraseology of the era: Every action done in Company ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy…,And in all Causes of Passion, admit Reason to Govern. Shew Nothing to your Friend that may affright him. Reprehend not the imperfections of others… Never express anything unbecoming… Associate yourself with Men of good Quality, … for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad Company. Today, many, if not all of these rules sound a little fussy, if not downright silly. It would be easy to dismiss them as outdated, and appropriate to a time of powdered wigs and quills. But they reflect a focus that is increasingly difficult to find. Fussy or not, they represent more than just good manners. They are the small sacrifices that we should all be willing to make for the good of all, and for the sake of living together. Civility in our daily lives is not just something that is nice to do. Civility is politeness and courtesies in our behavior and our speech. By civil behavior, we learn to disagree without being disagreeable. Civility is the hard work of staying pleasant, even with those with whom we have profound and de-rooted disagreements. As Masons, we obligate ourselves in our three degrees to good manners and fair dealing with our Brother Masons in the Lodge. But these generous principles extend further, and are to be applied outside the Lodge as well. Excerpted from The Short Talk Bulletin Vol. 93 No....

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The White Leather Apron

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

Here’s a toast to the Lambskin, more ancient by far Than the fleece of pure gold or the eagles of war; ‘Tis an emblem of innocence, nobler to wear Than the Garter of England or order as rare. Let the king wear the purple and point to his crown Which may fall from his brow when his throne tumbles down; But the badge of a Mason has much more to give Than a kingdom so frail that it cannot long live. Let the field-marshal boast of the men he can guide, Of the infantry columns and the heroes that ride; But the White Leather Apron his standard outranks, Since it waves from the East to the Death River’s banks. ‘Tis the shield of the orphan, the hostage of love; ‘Tis the charter of Faith in the Grand Lodge above; While the high and the low, in its whiteness arrayed, Of one blood and one kin by its magic are made. Kingdoms fall to the earth; cities crumble to dust; Men are born but to die; swords are made but to rust; But the White Leather Apron, through ages passed on, Has Survived with the lodge of the Holy St. John. So a toast to the Lambskin, which levels, uplifts— To the White Leather Apron, most priceless of gifts. ‘Tis the badge of a Mason, more ancient by far Than the fleece of pure gold or the eagles of war. Franklin W....

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Friendship

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

Masonry is Friendship—friendship, first, with the Great Companion, of whom our own hearts tell us, who is always nearer to us than we are to ourselves, and whose inspiration and help is the greatest fact of human experience. To be in harmony with His purposes, to be open in His suggestions, to be conscious of fellowship with Him—that is Masonry on its Godward side. Then, turning manward, friendship sums it all up. To be friends with all men, however they may differ from us n creed, colour, or condition; to fill every human relation with the spirit of friendship; is there anything more or better than this that the wisest and best of men can to do? Such is the spirit of Masonry; such is its ideal, and if to realize it all at once is denied us, surely it means much to see it, love it, and labour to make it come true. Nor is this Spirit of Friendship a mere sentiment held by a sympathetic, and therefore unstable, fraternity, which would dissolve the concrete features of humanity into a vague blur of misty emotion. No; it has its roots in a profound philosophy which sees that the universe is friendly, and that men must learn to be friends if they would live as befits the world in which they live, as well as their own origin and destiny. For, since God is the life of all that was, is, and is to be; and since we are all born into the world by one high wisdom and one vast love, we are brothers to the last man of us, forever! For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and even after death us do part, all men are held together by ties of spiritual kindship, sons of one eternal Friend. Upon this fact human fraternity rests, and it is the basis of the plea of Masonry, not only for freedom, but for friendship among men. Joseph Fort...

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Freenmasonry and Education

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

With appreciation from Freemason.org (originally published February 2005 on CalLodges.org) Traditionally, throughout its long history, Freemasonry has taken a leading role in the promotion of learning and education. From its early beginnings, in the 18th century in England and Scotland, Masons were among the founders of learned academies. Masons have been active in education at every level from grammar school through university. The Charge of the Fellowcraft Degree reminds the candidate that the impressive ceremonies of the degree are calculated to inculcate in his mind the importance of studying the liberal arts and sciences. He is particularly reminded to study the noble science of Geometry, which forms the basis of Freemasonry. Not only does Geometry explain the properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of morality. If Freemasonry is “about” anything, it is about the education of the individual to become a knowledgeable, informed, and moral human being within society. Education is valued above ignorance. Seeking further Light in Masonry means more than learning more about the Craft. It also means that Freemasons and non-Masons alike must discipline themselves to seek knowledge through whatever means available—by studying at colleges and universities or by self-directed reading and study. Because Freemasonry places such great importance on education, we have become steadfast supporters of the Public Schools. Horace Mann, the father of our present system of public schools, wrote that the object of a free public schools system is “to give every child a free, straight, solid pathway by which he can walk directly up from the ignorance of an infant to a knowledge of the primary duties of a man.” The same can, of course, be said about the progress of a candidate through the three Masonic Degrees, from Apprentice, to Fellowcraft, to Master Mason. Freemasonry and the public schools share several important values. Basic to each is the concept of the dignity of the individual. Every man, in every condition, is great. The grandeur of each man’s unique nature makes insignificant all external distinctions. It is the internal and not the external qualifications that make a man who he is, and entitles him to be treated with respect and dignity. Respect for the dignity of the individual is essential in a free society. Human rights rest on human dignity. Man’s minimum needs must be met if he is to live at all, but men and women cannot live a human life “unless they have the chance” to satisfy the needs of their rational and spiritual nature. Democracy is the only form of government founded on the dignity of man. Equality and justice, so important to Freemasons, are the two distinguishing characteristics of democracy. Democracy enables us to enjoy the freedom to live human lives. We must be free in order to exercise those talents where with God has blessed us, as well to His glory as to the welfare of our fellow creatures. Freedom,...

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What is Freemasonry?

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

In our youth groups, they talk about a “30 second elevator speech”. They have developed one and I think we, as Freemasons, need one too. This one comes from Brother Keith Herman, a New Jersey Mason: “Due to the proliferation of the use of social media such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinekdIn, etc., elevator speeches can no longer last 30 seconds and you need to define what you do in two words.  These two words lead to a further conversation as they say enough to define your objective and at the same time intrigue the listener to follow up through inquiry or conversation. Upon reflection on the ‘two word elevator speech’ the phrase which works for me is ‘Enlightened Fellowship”. Now when I am asked ‘What is Masonry?’, ‘What does Masonry mean to you?’ or ‘What can you tell me about Masonry?’ I can answer that Masonry is Enlightened Fellowship. The usual response is ‘can you tell me more?’ At this point, I can expand that masons consist of men who through common experience, inquiry, personal growth and acquired knowledge come to know one another, become friends and share personal bonds, which will last throughout their lifetime.” This sounds like a pretty good one. Anyone care to create one of their own? Let me know what it is, submit it to me in a word document and I will print it in this missive. Fraternally, The Mouse (c/o:...

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Warmth and Welcome

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

Across the crowd-thronged city ways When night hangs black and friendless there, A tide of strangers ebbs and plays Along each cheerless thoroughfare, And never a face lights up to see One’s self to pass, and none to care How lone and wary one may be. ‘Tis then unto one’s Lodge one turns For there he finds within the door The fire of hearty welcome burns; If one’s not known its flames the more Send forth a warmth his breast to fill Until he finds his joy returns Within that haven of good will. The Mason’s secret lies in this,— “A stranger here, ye took me in”’ It’s Royal Art would stray amiss Amid the world’s harsh hue and din If warmth and welcome were to die; Its greatest strength in these consists; Of these is made its Mystic Tie. H.L....

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Love

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

The only end to the human problem is love. The only end to war is love. The only end to family discords and hates is love. The only solution to every uncertainty that plagues us today among nations and individuals, the only thing that can lead to honesty, integrity and honor in world affairs and in the development of our own characters, is that we shall learn how to love. In order that we may learn to love, we must learn to discover in everything around us that we are in the presence of an eternal love that is so great and so wise that there is no place in it for hate. We find understanding, courage, wisdom, insight by uniting our own small affection with that vast affection which is the infinite itself. We understand God only by love. In its highest expression, love means not that we will be happy, but that we shall give happiness; we must learn to love change, and then its pain is no more. We shall learn to love the comings and goings of things, because these are a part of life. In the springtime we must love the bursting forth of the twigs and branches and buds upon the trees; in summer we must learn to love the great fields of yellow grain; in autumn we must learn to love the changing of colors and the falling of the leaves; and in winter we must learn to love the snow and the bare branches which symbolize death. We must learn to find beauty in all these changes. We must find the love of God in that which God gives, and we must find the love of God in that which God taketh away. Beyond our small decisions and our little judgments, there is this infinite love that takes all things to itself. All things, in their proper time, return to the heart of God. Manly Palmer Hall Submitted by: Brother John Logan Parsons...

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The Mystery Schools

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

Three steps (degrees) lead up to the temple door, and all who wish to enter, whatever their race or their religion, must climb them. There is no other legitimate way of gaining wisdom. Those who seek to enter the temple of the Mysteries by any way other than the gate appointed by the Masters, the same are thieves and robbers. Man is willing to spend from ten to fifteen years on his material education in order that he may surpass his fellow man in some pursuit. Should he, then, expect to attain his spiritual wisdom in any shorter time? The position a person occupies in the Mystery Schools is not the result of choice, ballot or election; it is his life and the way that he lives it that is the determining factor in all his spiritual studies. He is automatically placed upon the path of wisdom according to his vices and virtues. The rapidity of his advancement depends wholly upon his own merits- the sincerity, integrity, and devotion which marks his daily life. He may remain many years in one grade or pass like a comet through many grades in a few years. This depends entirely on how sincerely and honestly he has labored and how completely he has mastered the temperaments and failings which hold him back. Here are a series of suggestive rules for those who desire to become true students of wisdom. Learn to cast away from thee all vile affections and in constancy of mind let all thy dealings be free from deceit and hypocrisy. Keep thine own and thy neighbor’s secrets; court not the favors of the rich; despise not the poor, for he who does will be poorer than the poorest. Give to the needy and unfortunate what little thou canst spare; for he that has but little, whatever he spares to the miserable, god shall amply reward him. Be merciful to those who offend thee or who have injured thee; for what shall man’s heart be who would take heavy vengeance on slight offense? Be not hasty to condemn the actions of others, lest thou shouldst, the next hour, fall into the very same error; despise scandal and tattling; and let thy words be few. Study day and night and supplicate thy creator that he would be pleased to grant thee knowledge and understanding. Covet not much gold, but learn to be satisfied with enough; for to desire more than enough is to offend the Deity. Manly Palmer Hall Submitted by: Brother John Logan Parsons...

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The Theory of Education

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

Blind condemnation is as superstitious as blind acceptance. We would humbly remind the scientist that astrology, for example, has not been scientifically disproved. We can find no record of any scientific body examining and analyzing the premises of the starry science. On the other hand, we have plentiful evidence of so-called learned men who, scarcely knowing one astronomical symbol from another, are so ‘’unscientific’’ as to base their judgment not upon examination and observation but upon the bigotry of their colleagues. Incidentally, there is no man alive actually qualified to disprove the existence of God, and yet the more materialistic in the realms of science depart so far from the trestle board of their craft that they begrudge Deity the meager benefit of the doubt! The presence of supreme intelligence directing creation may not be demonstrable to the physical sense perceptions or to a mind firmly grounded in mechanistic theory. Yet it is not a scientific ‘’fact’’ that God does not exist, nor is it a scientific ‘’fact’’ that cabalism is a superstition, nor is it a scientific ‘’fact’’ that alchemists were mad, nor is it a scientific ‘’fact’’ that the ancients suffered from a common benightedness, nor is it a scientific ‘’fact’’ that miracles are frauds. These are opinions held by certain groups, but while opinions may be very intriguing to those who chance to hold them, they demonstrate nothing; they neither prove nor disprove anything, and for the most part clutter up the field of learning. Opinion is the antipode of wisdom, and the fewer the opinions the greater the likelihood of intelligence. Mysticism is not a vagary to amuse superannuated midwives. It is a distinct department of learning which, if given proper consideration and opportunity, could make a definite contribution to world normalcy and well-being. Manly Palmer Hall Submitted by: Brother John Logan Parsons...

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Purification of the Mind

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Masonic Mouse | 0 comments

No one can speak ill of another without making the illness his own, because the one speaking ill of others is ill himself. Thus the purification of the mind, from a moral point of view, should be learned in one’s everyday life by trying to consider things sympathetically, favorably, by looking at others as one looks at oneself, by putting oneself in their position instead of accusing others on seeing their infirmities. Souls on earth are born imperfect and show imperfection, and from this they develop naturally, coming to perfection. If all were perfect, there would have been no purpose in their creation. And manifestation has taken place so that every being here may rise from imperfection towards perfection. That is the object and joy of life, and for that this world was created. And if we expected every person to be perfect and conditions to be perfect, then there would be no joy in living and no purpose in coming here. Purification of the mind therefore means to rid it of all undesirable impressions; not only of the shortcomings of others, but one must arrive at the stage where one forgets one’s own shortcomings. I have seen righteous people who have accused themselves of their errors until they became errors themselves. Concentrating all the time on error means engraving the error upon the mind. The best principle is to forget others and forget ourselves, and to set our minds upon accumulating all that is good and beautiful. When in this world of imperfection we seek for all that is good and beautiful, there are many chances of disappointment. But at the same time if we keep on looking for it- not looking at the dust but looking for the gold- we shall find it. And once we begin to find it we shall find more and more. There comes a time in the life of a man when he can see some good in the worst man in the world. And when he has reached that point, though the good were covered with a thousand covers, he would put his hand on what is good, because he looks for good and attracts what is good. Hazrat Inayat Khan ( Spiritual Dimensions of...

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