Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beyond the Veils : The Apron

The most distinguished mark of a Mason is the apron.   Thus, great men like George Washington, Jose Rizal or Andres Bonifacio, when depicted as Masons, always have an apron on them.  While the Apron has multiple meanings, it always alludes to the inner states of the Mason - whether it is his character or levels of consciousness.   -  Editor

Candidates Apron 

An apron is worn by operative masons to preserve their garments from stain;  and thus, in speculative Masonry, the apron reminds us that we must keep ourselves from moral defilement;  or in the figurative language of the Holy Scripture, must keep our garments white and keep ourselves unspotted from the world.  White is a color which has always been considered as emblematic of purity and joy.  The apron is made of lamb-skin because the lamb has in all ages been recognized as the emblem of innocence, and was therefore chosen by God Himself to be offered to Him in sacrifice, as a type of great propitiatory sacrifice, the Lamb of God - the Lamb without blemish and without spot, that taketh away the sin of the world.  The Mason's apron is, therefore, not only a symbol ever reminding him of the duty of maintaining to the utmost possible degree Purity of heart and Purity of life, and of ever seeking greater perfection in both, but also of propitiation for sin, and the pardon ready to be granted to every one who seeks it in the way appointed.   I thus inspires him to work with hope, and that hope further encourages to further endeavors after those attainments which will make him a good man and a good Mason, exercising an influence for good amongst all around him - in the Lodge, in his own family, and in all the relations of life.  (Wm.W. Vickers, W.M., originally published in The Canadian Craftsman, June 1898)

The first, and among the most impressive symbols of Masonry to confront the candidate, to most initiates, is the apron.   The candidate is told that it is "an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason".   

What is "innocence", as the word here is used?  Surely not ignorance!  The lamb, the baby, the lily are "innocent", in the sense that they know nothing, especially nothing of evil.  But a man grown - and no male less than a man grown may be a Mason - must know evil to distinguish the good ...  The innocence is that of intent not to do evil, not of knowledge of evil.  The Mason is "innocent" when his heart is gently towards weakness, chivalrous towards those dependent upon him, tolerate of his fellow's weaknesses, forgiving of his brethrens' mistakes.

Beneath this is the really great meaning of the apron;  that of the dignity and worth of labor, the honor of being a workman, the glory of being a contributor to life and living.     (Torrione Lodge of Research, 1954,

Freemason Lambskin Apron

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You will find another hint of this teaching(of the higher self and the lower self in a human being) in another symbol of the craft :   the apron.

In the Entered Apprentice, the triangle fold is lifted up, symbolizing the separation between the higher self and the lower quarternary.  In the Fellow-craft, the lower square is folded halfway, symbolizing the partial subduing of the lower personality by the higher.  In the Master's degree, the square lap is fully covered by the upper lap, thus the lower self is fully mastered by the higher.   (Vicente R. Hao Chin, Jr., Introduction to Morals and Dogma)

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1.  The Apron is a symbol of the corporeal vesture and condition of the soul (not so much of the temporal physical body, as of its permanent invisible corporeity which will survive the death of the mortal part.)

2.   The soul fabricates its own body or "apron" by its own desires and thoughts (see Genesis III, 7, "they made themselves aprons")  ans as these are pure or impure so will that body be correspondingly transparent and white or dense and opaque.

3.   The investiture of the candidate with the Apron in each Degree by the Senior Warden as the Master's delegate for that purpose is meant to inculcate this truth;  for the Senior Warden represents the soul which, in accordance with its own spirituality, automatically clothes itself with its own self-made vesture in a way that marks its own progress or regress.

4.   The unadorned white Apron of the First Degree indicates the purity of soul contemplated as being attained in that Degree.

5.  The pale blue rosettes added to the Apron in the Second Degree indicate that progress is being made in the science of regeneration and that the candidate's spirituality is beginning to develop and bud through.  Blue, the colour of the sky, is traditionally associated with devotion to spiritual concerns.

6.  In the Third Degree still further progress is emblematized by the increased blue adornments of the Apron, as also by its silver tassels and the silver serpent used to fasten the apron-strings.  In the First and Second Degrees no metal has appeared upon the Apron.   The candidate has been theoretically divesting himself of all base metals and transmuting them into spiritual riches.   With Mastership he has attained an influx of those riches under the emblem of the tassels of silver, a colorless precious metal always associated with the soul, as gold by reason of its supreme value and warm color is associated with Spirit.   The silver serpent is the emblem of Divine Wisdom knitting soul's new-made vesture together.

7.   The pale blue and silver of the Master Mason's Apron become intensified in the deep blue and gold ornamentation worn by the Grand Lodge Officers, who in theory have evolved to still deeper spirituality and transmuted themselves from silver into fine gold.   "The King's daughter (the soul) is all glorious within;  her clothing is of wrought gold," i.e., wrought or fabricated by her own spiritual energies.   (Walter Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry)

 Past Master's Apron

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The Apron, which is made of lambskin, is in its fabric a badge of sacrifice.   The lamb in all ages has not only been a symbol of innocence but also an emblem of sacrifice.   He who wears this lambskin with an understanding must be prepared for the time when hard things are to be done, when trials are to be endured, and fortitude glorified.   A good example of which is of the 60,000 or so Freemasons interred in the Concentration Camp during World War II.   The crime for which they were there?  Being a Freemason.
(Christopher A. Harris, MPS FGCR)

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 The "Right of Investiture", the ceremony of emblematically clothing the candidate, is neither original nor unique to  Freemasonry.   Use of the apron in the Hermetic ceremonies of ancient Egypt is evident.   The apron was worn as a symbol of priestly power in the Levitican economy.   The Persian mysteries incorporated the white apron and, in the Hindustan, the investiture consisted of a scarf being tied around the candidate's waist.  Without question, the Operative Masons used the apron as an item of protective clothing.  (Plez A. Transou)

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"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering cna the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."  -  Helen Keller

Monday, September 20, 2010

Message from the Worshipful Master - September 20, 2010


The 20th day of September marks the beginning of the nine days of novena prayer leading to the celebration of the Feast of Señor San Miguel.  This is also the "pagkanaog" day when Señor San Miguel is lowered from his lofty pedestal.  Perhaps not known to everyone, there is a local "tinuhuan" or folk belief associated with this event - it augurs well for the People of Iligan if Señor San Miguel allows himself to be lowered in one easy heave, while it is bad omen if several attempts are required.  So, in spite of the fact that this ritual has been carried out repeatedly in the past, the devotees still anxiously look forward to and pray for a smooth and quick "pagkanaog."  This is the reason why many devotees also celebrate this day.  We therefore join them in their celebration as we also pray for peace and harmony in our community in this deplorable present.

The "pagkanaog" is also opportune time for us Brethren to have a fellowship among ourselves.  It has been months since we last had a similar bonding activity.  Everyone is urged to attend this meeting, specially, the fellowship afterward.  You don;t want to miss the gimmicks prepared by JW Abel Gomez.

We visited our sister lodge, the Leonardo T. Pañares Lodge No. 220 last September 6th.  Aside from the three lights, we were joined by DDGM Ben Alipio, DGL Edward Banawa, WB Ed Ulindang, VW Fem Calio, VW Warly Sanguila, Vw James Yu, and VW Willington Yee.  VW Fem Calio gave the Masonic Education talk.  We were all warmly but separately, received.  Dinner and fellowship followed at the Philtown Hotel.  WB Raul Cinco, Worshipful Master of LTP 220, proposed their reciprocal visit on November due to hectic schedules.  My deep gratitude for the brethren who supported us in this undertaking.  Thank you.
WB Oscar V. Badelles

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5:00 pm - Opening of Lodge of Master Masons

5:30 pm - Main Business
                Reading & Approval of the Minutes of Last Stated Meeting
                Reading & Approval of Secretary's Financial Report
                Reading & Approval of Treasurer's Report
                Reading of Communications

6:00 pm - Committee Report
                Visit to the Leonardo T. Pañares Lodge No. 220 - Bro. Jaime P. Magnetico, SW
                Membership Development - VW G. Audwin T. Garzon, Secretary

6:20 pm - Masonic Education
                VW Eufemio L. Calio, PDGL
                Topic:  "Peace And Harmony Prevailing"

6:40 pm - Acknowledgement of Visiting Brethren

6:45 pm - Messages / Commentaries Visiting WMs, GLI, DGLs, and DDGM

6:50 pm - Closing of the Lodge

7:00 pm - Fraternal Dinner

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       October 2 (Saturday) @ Oroquieta City  :   Conferral of 4th to 14th degree A&ASR

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Bro. Boyd F. Siao - September 10
Bro. Lowell D. Chiong - September 10
Bro. Mark Stanley K. Siao - September 15
VW Eufemio L. Calio - September 16
Bro. Alberto V. Espejo - September 17
VW Datumanong D. Sarangani - September 17
Bro. Miguel T. Valbuena - September 18
WB Melanio D. Siao - September 19
WB Ferdinand P. Bartolome - September 27
Bro. Rene A. Tan - September 30

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Felicitations also to the love birds of Iligan Lodge on their WEDDING ANNIVERSARY:

VW Edwin & Sis Annie Co - September 8
VW Robert & Sis Joy Co - September 15

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"Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open." -  Elmer G. Letterman

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Amusing Anecdotes

A Junior Deacon and a Visiting Brother

A Lodge in the National Capital Region was unexpectedly visited by a foreign Masonic dignitary.  The Junior Deacon told the Worshipful Master :  "Worshipful Master, there is an alarm at the door", and the Worshipful Master said, "Attend the alarm and report your findings".

When he opened the door, the Junior Deacon saw, to his amazement, a Brother impeccably clad with an elaborate apron and jewels.  The Tyler being slow in answering for the visiting Brother, the latter solemnly said,  "I am Brother John Smith, Past Master of my Lodge, Past Grand Master of Masons in our Grand Jurisdiction, Past Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite in the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States, York Rite Legion of Honor Awardee, and Imperial Potentate of Shrine Temples in North America.  I humbly request an audience with your Worshipful Master."

Hearing the visiting Brother's words and awed by his apron, jewels and titles, the Junior Deacon immediately closed the door, returned to his post, and said tremendously, "Worshipful Master, the Grand Architect of the Universe is at the door and desires admission into the Lodge!"

Keep it Under Your Hat

The Lodge had just opened.  As the Master looked around the Lodge room, he noticed a brother on the back row over in the southwest corner who was wearing a hat.   Not wanting to embarrass the brother, the Master called on the Senior Deacon to quietly ascertain why the brother was wearing a hat.  After  whispered conversation with the offending brother, the Senior Deacon reported back to the Master.  He said that the brother was overjoyed to be asked.  It was the third time he had attended that Lodge, and this was the first time anyone had spoken to him.  -  At Refreshment (1987) by Ill. Steward M. L. Pollard

Source :   The Cabletow, March-April 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Masonic Educational Tidbit

Question :   What is meant by "travel in foreign countries"?
Answer   :   The ancient operative brethren desired to become Master, so when they travelled in foreign countries they could still practice their craft.  Speculative Freemasons desire to "travel in foreign countries" and study their craft so that they may receive such instructions to enable them to receive Master Mason's wages.  But "foreign countries" do not mean to us the various geographical and political divisions of the world.  It is to us a symbol.  Like all the rest of the symbol, it has more than one interpretation.  But unlike the other, it is not very difficult to trace or understand.

Freemasonry itself is the first "foreign countries" within it.  There are the foreign countries of philosophy, of jurisprudence, of history.  No Freemason is really worth of the nae who does not understand something of how his new land governed, of what it stands for and why.   There is also the foreign country of symbolism.

As a Master Mason, he has the right to travel in all the foreign countries of Freemasonry.  One will find the gateways to those lands in the library, in the study club, in the books and magazines and most and best of all, in the quiet hours alone, when what he has read and learned comes back to him to be pondered over.

Question  :   Why is the Acacia an emblem of Immortality?
Answer   :    The Acacia is the "Shittah" wood referred to in the Old Testament.  It has the peculiar property of seeming to have everlasting life.  Bare beams of wood have been known to put forth fresh sprout.   Thus, it was easily established as the symbol of resurrection and life everlasting.

Question  :    What are Masonic "Landmarks"?
Answer   :     According to Dr. Albert G. Mackey, they are "those peculiar marks of distinction by which we are separated from the profane (non-Masonic) world and by which we are enabled to designate our inheritance as the "Sons of Light".   The universal language and laws of Masonry are Landmarks, but not the local ceremonies, laws and usages.   Mackey lists 25 Landmarks. These are given in our Masonic Law Book.

Question   :  What is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?
Answer    :   Judah was symbolized as a lion in his father's deathbed blessing.   The Lion was upon the standard of the large and powerful tribe of Judah.   "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" was one of Solomon's titles.  It is the Christian interpretation of the phrase which springs from Revelation V : "Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Question  :  What is a Masonic "Charge"?
Answer   :   At an appropriate place in the ceremonies of each degree, the candidate receives a concise summary of his new duties and responsibilities;  and he is "charge" or exhorted to perform them in a creditable manner.

Source :   Iligan Lodge No. 207 Bulletin and Notice of Meeting  August 21, 2010
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"You can catch yourself entertaining habitually certain ideas and setting others aside;  and that, I think, is where our personal destinies are largely decided."   -  Alfred North Whitehead