A contingent of Grand Lodge representatives visited Worcester yesterday to participate in the city's re-dedication of its WWII monument.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
No Idle or Unmeaning Ceremony
The lessons of Freemasonry are numerous, and each one is as significant as the next in the construction of a brother’s temporal building. The candidate, having been divested of all his personal possessions prior to his entrance into the lodge, is both literally and figuratively stripped of his worldly wealth; a great equalizer and his initial lesson in humility. The Junior Warden articulates the practical application of this divestiture, explaining that the new member may then carry nothing offensive or defensive into the lodge, and that the original workman used only wooden tools in the Temple’s construction. He further explains that the personal garments he arrived in, whether tattered or tailored, were insignificant to our impression of him as a candidate and potential brother. However, the deeper and more significant meaning behind this divestiture is made clearer in a later section of the degree. The ‘right of destitution” in the first degree is a tremendously important experience for the candidate’s moral education. It is not by happenstance that this ceremony is performed individually. Isolation is a key component to the impression we are trying to instill upon the brother.
Charity or relief is taught as one of the tenets of our profession. The right of destitution is an abject lesson in humility, and by extension Charity. Only by being stripped of all possessions; only by finding oneself “entirely destitute” can a brother truly experience the empathy necessary to internalize the lesson. This lesson in empathy is intended to illicit inclination; should the candidate ever come upon a friend or worthy brother in similar circumstances that he would be “inclined” to contribute as liberally to his relief as possible. This relief is only limited up to the point of personal injury, which is to say, it should be conferred up to ones fullest extent. A rich man who gives but a minute portion of his wealth to those less fortunate can claim to be charitable, but his charity is lacking humility. Freemasonry teaches that the magnitude of charity is a moral obligation of a much larger scope, especially among our brethren.
Traditionally charity is thought to be primarily monetary, or perhaps in the form of goods and services. However charity and relief can also be demonstrated through personal investment. Our cable-tow brothers make a significant personal investment of time and energy into the guidance of our candidates; truly a humble act of charity. They give the candidates that which they lacked prior to their initiation, metaphorically filling their empty cups. This investment then pays dividends in both directions. The candidate is made richer with moral insight and knowledge as well as with newly formed friendship; the cable-tow brother is made richer through service and spiritual growth; (again, my heartfelt thanks to those cable-tow brothers who serve in this important capacity). As we all enter the fraternity through the same door, we therefore all experience the same lessons of humility, empathy and charity. The allegorical “right of destitution” is the great leveler of this important lesson.
As June signifies the close of this tremendously productive Masonic year for our lodge, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the outstanding work of ALL our officers. BY the end of the month, together we will have raised 11 or possibly 12 candidates!! Your efforts are a direct investment in the future success of our lodge. Many of these new brothers have already jumped into service to our lodge and are enthusiastic and active members! This is a testament to all of your work in creating a fun and dynamic atmosphere for all of us to prosper within. I am confident that Worhipful Ives will continue to build and reinforce the foundation of our lodge in his own significant way! If our members give him the same or more effort that I enjoyed as Master, the future is truly bright with promise.
The June 7th regular communication will feature the election of officers for next year. Please make every effort to attend and cast you vote in support of our elected officers. Quickly following on Saturday June 11th we are hosting our spring “Open House” event with the first biennial “Isaiah Thomas Day” which will feature our widows luncheon, veterans recognition and memorial tribute to our beloved departed brethren. The Mayor of Worcester, the Honorable Joseph M. Petty will join us and make an official proclamation of “Isaiah Thomas Day” in honor of our celebration. We are still awaiting word from the Grand Master on his availability. All non-officer members please contact me prior to May 30th with the number of family and friends that are planning to attend.
On Tuesday June 21st we hold our final degree of the year, conferring the 3rd degree on our current group of eligible candidates. We will be joined by a contingent from the Massachusetts Consistory who will perform the “long-form” section of the degree on our last candidate. The night will include a catered dinner between the first and second sections. Again, non-officer members please RSVP with RW Burnett or me prior to June 14th that we may get an fairly accurate count. Wednesday June 22nd will feature or 7th annual Table Lodge at The Grill on the Hill, please contact RW Burnett ASAP as seating is limited. The annual (and final) combined district LOI for this Masonic year will be held on Thursday June 23rd at Joel Prouty lodge in Auburn @ 7:00 pm. Finally, it is expected that the combined district Lodge of Qualification will be held on Tuesday June 28th location and time tbd.
Brethren all, I will save my final thoughts for the September message, but to conclude this Masonic year all I can say to each of you is “thank you, thank you thank you - from the bottom of my heart I am indebted to you all.”
Brother John F. Sullivan, Master
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Join Morning Star Lodge for our 1st biennial Isaiah Thomas Day celebration commemorating the life our first Worshipful Master and Past Grand Master of Masons In Massachusetts, MW Isaiah Thomas. This event will include a luncheon honoring our beloved widows, a reenactment of his life as a Patriot/Printer & Mason, a veteran’s recognition program, and a brief memorial to our brethren who have passed to the Celestial Lodge.
RSVP’s required by Friday June 3rd 2016 at firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP’s required by Friday June 3rd 2016 at email@example.com
Sunday, May 1, 2016
You there stand…
experience than when the youngest member is placed in Northeast corner of the Lodge. Masonic scholars agree that the metaphor of the candidate’s journey to the NE represents the physical, intellectual and spiritual passage from darkness into light. As the North is a place of darkness and the East a representation of perfect light, the candidate symbolically transitions, having received light as yet partially. However, as important as the destination is, the preparation for the journey is equally so.
The Senior Warden gives the first crucial Masonic instructions. “Advance on step… your feet forming the angle of an oblong square; your body erect.” These simple directives are in fact the most important moral instructions we have communicated to our brother thus far. To the hoodwinked candidate these are merely awkward actions and don’t seem terribly impactful as yet. The significance of these easy commands are soon made more meaningful when our newest brother is “placed in the proper position” by the Senior Deacon in the Northeast corner. The Master emphatically conveys the deeper meaning of these actions in his charge when he states, “You there stand a just and upright Mason.” The physical position of his feet, that of an oblong square, is symbolically transformed into a moral position, that of justness. His physical stature, “body erect” is symbolically transformed into a moral position, that of uprightness.
The candidate is admonished to be “just”, that is to behave according to what is morally right and fair, and he is further commanded to be “upright”, in other words, strictly honorable and honest. This charge is not negotiable, as our brother is “…given strictly in charge to ever act and walk as such.” These are absolutes; there is no room for equivocation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind!!! These primary Masonic lessons form the foundation upon which the rest of the brothers’ temporal building will be erected.
The merry merry month of May is here and with it comes the gentle warmth of spring. Our regular communication will be held on Tuesday the 3rd, which will also be the night of the DDGM’s fraternal visit to Trinity Lodge. On Tuesday May 17th, MSL will hold a Fellow Craft degree for our newest brothers, and on Wednesday RW Gregory Stahl will be paying a fraternal visit to Quinsigamond Lodge. On Tuesday May 24th at 7:00 pm, the 23rd district there will hold its Lodge of Instruction at the Worcester Masonic building. Last on the calendar for May, we will organize a “ladies night” on the fifth Tuesday, May 31st -- details to come!
Looking ahead to June, I just want to remind the brethren that we are actively planning our lodge’s first biennial “Isaiah Thomas day” on Saturday June 11th, We will also confer the Master Mason degree on Tuesday June 21st and are expecting to host more special guests that evening! And lastly, the annual Morning Star Lodge Table Lodge of Instruction will be held on Wednesday June 22nd at the Grill-on-the-Hill, to make a reservation contact RW Robbie Burnett!!
Brother John F. Sullivan, Master
Friday, April 1, 2016
Esotericism & Traditional Observance
In the first degree we introduce the new brother to the initial “mysteries” of Freemasonry. A mystery, by definition, is simply something that is difficult to understand until its full meaning is known. Enlightenment, or the unveiling of these mysteries, is literally and esoterically bringing a brother from darkness to light or from ignorance to knowledge. Our traditional observances (the degrees), are not as literal as the modern generation may be used to. The time-honored language and ancient allusions are not meant to spoon-feed answers to a dormant mind, but rather to evoke thought and stimulate further exploration. Each newly initiated brother must act on his own accord to gain that which he is in pursuit; the secrets of a Master Mason which are those of an enlightened brother.
A deeper (esoteric) passage is only possible when the traditional observances are substantively presented and are made meaningful to the new brother. The “Ritualist” journey begins with his first cipher and expands and grows throughout his Masonic career. We have an obligation to give our “worthy” brothers relief in the form of enlightenment; simply reciting the ritual is not enough. The skilled Ritualist must be able to convey the inspired message in and around the words. For this, he must have a more esoteric understanding of the allusions himself. The Great Paradox is never more authentic than in our efforts to pass on the mysteries; the more you give, the more you get!!!
April will thankfully be a less arduous Masonic month than the last! Our Regular Communication will be held on Tuesday April 5th, when we hope to ballot on several candidates! We will then begin our last set of degrees for this Masonic year with a 1st degree scheduled for Tuesday April 19th, 2nd degree to follow on Tuesday May 17th and finally a 3rd degree on Tuesday June 21st. As always our 23rd District LOI is the fourth Tuesday of the month, which this month is April 26th.
Lastly, I want to thank ALL who participated and/or helped out with our fantastic Past Master’s night; truly an exceptional night for our candidate and our Lodge. To all the Past Masters and DDGM’s; I offer you my deepest thanks. Each of you continue to be a profound inspiration to me and to all the brothers in our lodge and beyond. Special thanks of course to RW David R. Lucas and his suite for attending and making the evening even grander! And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge and thank all the junior officers and regular attendees of Morning Star Lodge who carry the majority of the burden of keeping our lodge vibrant and strong! You guys are the best!!
Br. John F. Sullivan, Master
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Today, as speculative masons, our journey is far more cerebral and spiritual than primal. Our labor is not the desperate pursuit of the basic requirements of life, but rather the vigorous pursuit of self-improvement. Master’s pay for the contemporary brother is a personal journey toward the liberation of each man’s ultimate potential. Today’s master mason is not guaranteed his wages; He must “earn” them as arduously as his predecessors earned theirs.. The secrets communicated to each new master are the same “wages” secured by our predecessors, albeit directed to a different end. Our emancipation is the ultimate liberation of the greatness within each mason.
So why do we do it? Why do modern Masons labor in the trenches of character building? Why do we seek Master’s pay? We do it because we seek a greater ambition that transcends our personal self-interest. The wages of our Masonic toil transcend the individual Mason. Each enlightened Mason communicates the virtues of our fraternity to their families and to their communities. The ripples of virtue, the influence of every just and upright Mason are the true recompense we seek. Master’s pay - it forward!
The month of March is upon us, and with it, longer days and warmer sunshine. We kick off this busy month the very first day with our Regular communication, Tuesday 3/1/16. There are 2 scheduled Fraternal Visits of the DDGM on Thursday 3/10 at Matthew John Whittall Lodge, and Monday 3/14 at Boylston Lodge. All officers are welcome by the RW Stahl; just arrive before 7:45 pm to come in on the suite! We are planning a “Past Master’s” night on the 15th for our 3rd degree for our two current candidates. Lastly, we have our multi-district exemplification workshop on Saturday 3/12 @ 08:00 am at the Worcester Masonic building, and the Exemplification of the 2nd degree on the last day of the month Thursday 3/31 at 7:00 pm. Dinner will be served at 6:00 pm w/ RSVP and payment $25.00 made to Wor. Dave Shea – Quinsigamond Lodge at the March LOI on Tuesday 3/22.
Lastly, we are in the planning stages for our first biennial “Isaiah Thomas Day”. This celebratory event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday June 11, 2016 (the 223rd anniversary of our lodge), and will include a luncheon to honor our Masonic widows, a short program to commemorate the memory of our brethren who have passed to The Celestial Lodge, a short historical tribute to our first Master, Isaiah Thomas and finally a few moments to honor our Masonic Veteran’s. Please put that date in your calendar as a “must attend”!!!
Br. John F. Sullivan – Master
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Discovering the Deeper Meaning of the Letter “G”
The Supreme Architect has carefully crafted our Masonic degrees to help us “worthy brothers” unlock the mysteries of this world, in preparation for the next. We learn through these lessons that our success in this endeavor is directly proportionate to our labors. In the search for enlightenment, we rely on the principles reflected in Geometry to guide our thoughts and actions. We learn that each of us is a point within a circle, and that our journey is infinite, never ending We utilize the moral symbols indoctrinated in the working tools of architecture to help build our Masonic edifice; our temporal building,. This Masonic labor is not linear; there is no direct path along a one-dimensional line; we cannot not gain admission into the Celestial Lodge above on an unsteady two-dimensional superfice. That house, not built with hands, is only possible when the foundation is a solid, having length, breadth and width.
As Masons we are given a great gift to aid in us in that journey; the gift of Fraternity. The secrets of Freemasonry, those universal sacred truths safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts, are, through a succession of the ages, passed cheek-to-cheek or mouth-to-ear to the next generation. Through these relationships, through these lessons, through these symbols we discover the deeper meaning of the letter “G”. We develop a deeper understanding of ourselves in hope of glorious immortality.
February’s cold will not stiffen our resolve to complete our work. Our regular communication is scheduled for Tuesday February 2nd. We will perform a Fellow Craft degree on Tuesday the 16th for two candidates, with a rehearsal on the second Tuesday the 9th if necessary. Our LOI is scheduled for Tuesday February 23rd. Lastly there are two Fraternal Visits of the DDGM scheduled for February, first on Thursday 2/4 at Franklin Lodge and Tuesday 2/9 at Level Lodge. All officers are welcome on the Deputy’s suite and should arrive at by 7:45 PM.
I want to congratulate Brother Mahendra Vichare on receiving his Rookie Award this past month. He is a light to his brethren in every sense of the word. Also, I want to thank ALL of the brothers who give so much time and effort to making MSL the very best Lodge in the state, especially those selfless brothers who serve as cable-tow brothers to our new members. Yours is truly the work that matters, the work inspired by the Great Creator.
Brother John F. Sullivan, Master