By S:. MARIA KYRIAKONGONA
Dear Entered Apprentice,
From your line of questions, I can see the attraction you feel for Freemasonry, this Organization that you applied to be accepted for initiation of your own free will and by your own initiative but I also understand your doubts and uncertainties and I will try to address them to the best of my abilities.
Initiated in the Freemasonry many years ago, I had a rather vague and puzzled perception of this Organization which became more clearly defined and distinctive the longer I stayed as an active member of my Lodge and the more degrees I took. Freemasonry does recognize that all people have their own personal history, coming from different environments, different parents and generally from different circumstances which influenced and built their character and personality, therefore no attempt is made to crush its members by applying a severe, set in stone system that all should follow as if they were a mindless pack, without sense of reason and individuality; on the contrary, it imparts the Eternal Truth in the form of Symbols that each member, based on their idiosyncrasy and level of maturity, can decipher and discover what they represent. This is why you may have heard that that “Freemasonry does not open doors but provides the keys and allows you to open them yourself”. It is up to you which doors and how many of them you will be able to open up.
At this point I have to remind you that you must not remain a passive listener of nice speeches about high and noble concepts, limiting yourself to agreeing or disagreeing with the speaker. Our main reason for being here is to work on our crude stone and cube it. The loveliest speech or the deepest doctrine will have absolutely no effect if it remains on the level of enthusiasm. The reverse however is truth: enthusiasm can become a strong incentive that will enable the ideas to become actions, helping each and every one to apply them first and foremost on themselves. So, my first appeal to you, my dear B.·. or S.·. Entered Apprentice, is to abandon the passivity and to work actively for the fulfilment of the Masonic Ideals.
The second appeal I would like to make to you concerns your coming to the Lodge; I would urge you not to go to your Lodge because of habit or obligation but each time to go with renewed strength and spiritual predisposition so that your joy and exaltation will increase. At this point you should also be helped by all of us who are responsible for the program of the Lodge, taking care of the speeches so that they are not exclusively intellectual, a fact which does not allow the development of emotions. The more the speech resonates to the soul, the brighter the spirit becomes. The more it helps us approach the state of bliss, the more fruitful the work of the Lodge will be.
Since I talked about the character and the direction of the speeches, which must not be encyclopaedic or narrowly instructive and barren, allow me to say a few words about Knowledge which is consistently mixed with learning and information. Knowledge can very well be intellectual but it can also be instinctive; the former relies solely on the gathering of information and its logical processing; in the second case we start again by collecting information, either by learning or by encyclopaedic means, or as a product of our senses but this information is mainly processed by our emotions, hence by our subconscious and by extension, by the chaotic forces and perceptions that it represents, expresses and reveals.
Emotions constitute the nourishment of Soul therefore you need to nurture them by reining in your passions and rise above your interests and using Love, the power that brings all the beings close and holds the Universe together. The conception of high ideas such as Virtue and Duty empowers the Spirit and liberates it, thus enabling it to guide the Soul and the Body. The training and cultivation of the Spirit results in the gaining of Wisdom.
Yet it is not enough that the Body remains healthy, the Soul is inspired by Love and the Spirit is empowered by Wisdom. Harmonic development and balanced evolution of all three principles is required because otherwise each one will antagonize and contrasts the others. Only through this way can the state that my ancestors described as “Bliss” be achieved, which consists of Health for the Body, Serenity for the Soul and Vigo for the Spirit.
You need to understand that the Man cannot be redeemed by Wisdom alone, unless it coexists with love and the Beauty that it bestows on the Soul and are both accompanied by Strength which facilitates an enlightened Spirit to conceive the higher principles.
All the aforementioned lead you to the idea of Balance which constitutes one of the Universal Standards. Balance kept between the three parts Body, Soul and Spirit, between Wisdom Strength and Beauty, between the masculine and the feminine aspects, between singularity and collectivity, between centripetal and centrifugal forces, between the rigidness of absolute logic and the chaotically experienced emotions, between mercy and austerity, between parts and whole. I will also remind you that inside the Lodge the perfect balance can be achieved between the two Pillars, at point zero, where the forces represented by each Pillar meet their opposites interact and relate. You must always keep in mind that Balance is the unique quality that will help your incorporation, your merging, into the Lodge as a very sturdily forged and valuable link, forgetting yourself yet retaining your individuality.
It is this conscious and deliberate act of maintaining the Balance that reminds to all of us that no matter how long has it been, or how many degrees and offices we have conquered, we were, we are and we will always be Entered Apprentices.