Masonic Etiquette – Part 8
Tonight we’ll cover Prayer, Preparation room and Punctuality!
Prayer ~ Belief in a Power greater than ourselves predates organized religion by Tens of Thousands of Years. Humankind has always offered prayer to that Power simply because they knew things that happened were beyond their own making – and beyond their own understanding, developing a Faith in the unseen. As Masons we are taught never to enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the Blessing of Deity. Prayer supports the Most elementary character of the Craft. Our belief is the Essence – NOT – an Accident – of Masonry.
It stands at the Heart of the Fraternity just as the Altar stands at the Center of the Lodge, as a symbol of our Faith and Practice. The Chaplain Performs Prayer with Deliberateness – Not with Haste – but with earnestness, sincerity and dignity, befitting the genuine character of the Craft.
The Worshipful Master and the Brethren will discontinue all work or memorandum, will rise, and keep absolute silence while Prayer is offered. Our Prayers are always universal in homage to our God, so as to not insult or disturb anyone’s personal religious practice. To do otherwise is Un-Masonic.
Preparation room ~ The wise Worshipful Master will use every available precaution to see that good taste, courtesy, and thoughtful kindness are displayed in the Preparation Room…because it is where all degrees begin. It is here that a Candidate receives his earliest first hand impressions of the Lodge – to it’s requirements and practices – and is often nervous, ill at ease and apprehensive fearing that he might disappoint.
If he finds a room littered, full of frivolity and loud laughter, he may develop an erroneous impression of Freemasonry that will last for years. By showing respect for him, he will see that the Lodge is worthy of respect. Clothing him in the ritualistic garb and preparing his mind for what is to follow, should be done with tact, by Brethren of considerate spirit (pleasant, gentle and reassuring)… who realize that this entrance into Masonry is NO mere formality. It is a serious and fateful experience.
When he is led through the Inner Door, he should find silence, and each Officer ready and alert to their specific function. The Stewards are to maintain decorum prior to entrance, as the Candidates are in their charge. The Senior Steward is asked “How should a Candidate be prepared?” And when answered, ordered that “when you have thus prepared them” – in the manner the Senior Steward described. By a proper atmosphere and attitude toward the Candidate, his respect for the Institution will be enhanced and inspired.
Punctuality ~ Is, as described in the Law, the essence of the contract wherein a Mason stands – to his Lodge. For a Lodge, its Officers AND its members not to be punctual is a discourtesy…to each. If the Officers aren’t punctual, then the Brethren expect that and may become consciously tardy themselves. The Worshipful Master is charged with the responsibility of breaking that cycle. Falling within his authority, he must insist that his Officers be on time, and notify him in advance if they expect to be tardy or absent, so that he may make provision to fill their stations.
If the Worshipful Master will open his Lodge at the proper time prescribed in the By-Laws, with the constitutionally required number of Officers and members present, and make a practice of doing so, he will find that the members will reciprocate in kind, by expectation, also developing the habit of being on time.
Our manual makes no mention of closing, however. So as to not contribute to delaying that…
I shall CLOSE!
Thank you Worshipful Master!