Who are Scottish Rite Masons...

The Scottish Rite is an appendant body of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the degrees conferred in Blue Lodge. The Scottish Rite confers 29 degrees. The 33 degree is an honorary degree that is conferred by the Supreme Council for outstanding work in the community or Rite.

When we meet...

Our Valley meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month with the exception of June, July and August, at the Masonic Center at 521 North Street in Tumwater Washington, and have a program either at dinner or just prior to our meeting. Ladies are invited to all dinners. We invite all sojourners to visit and enjoy good Brotherhood. we have a dinner at 6:30 with the meeting to follow at 7:30 PM.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What’s happening in the Valley of Olympia

Absolutely nothing, at least officially, until September! (However, if you have program ideas, or would like to participate in activities for the fall, the powers-that-be are always welcoming of your volunteerism and contribution!)

For events, don’t forget that thanks to the excellent efforts of Br. Ed Woods, our website contains a wealth of information – including contacts, our calendar, and links to other sites. A simple click, and the world (at least our Valley) is at your fingertips! Go to: www.olympiascottishrite.org

Some thoughts about Masonic Charity

Many people, including a few Masons surprisingly, have an incomplete idea of what Masonic charity consists. Most of those assume that the donation of money, labor or time to worthwhile causes is synonymous with charity; and while certainly those donations are often not incompatible with Masonic charity, in some circumstances they indeed may be.

Those of us a bit ‘longer in the tooth’ in Scottish Rite may remember the distinction made between ‘alms’ versus ‘charity’ in the text of the old 18th degree. I will always recall Ill. Brother Bud Boergandine, 33° as Wise Master, reminding us that the giving of alms implies a superiority of the donor, and pity on the recipient. As a comment, this is certainly not meant to denigrate the position of Almoner, found in every Valley; or to suggest that it is unreasonable for the Almoner to place a test of need. Unlike charity, the role of Almoner should be seen as providing relief to the community – as an institutional obligation. However, if we consider the Almoner’s contributions to the needy as somehow satisfying our personal obligation to charity or acting charitably toward society, we are definitely not practicing Masonic charity.

Our degree ritual speaks to our personal obligation of charity, and as Grand Commander Pike relates as a great Truth, true Masonic charity is an attitude. If fact, if we contour or condition our charitable acts on what we expect or require from others, it is not true charity, and certainly not Masonic charity regardless of the amount given. The Master’s Charge, as stated in our Monitor, also illustrates to this attitude – to do good unto all, to make our kind offices accessible to every human being. It does not suggest that we do good only to those who react in kind, or to those who we may deem worthy.

The 20th degree work is elegant in describing Masonic charity as the acts to relieve misery and distress, to forgive errors, to judge kindly. Charity is equated with kindness, generosity, and liberality. Caring through to acts in our daily life, Masonic Charity may be demonstrated through the Mason’s smile, an offer to help someone as a random act of kindness, listening more and talking less, being less judgmental of another’s politics, house of faith, or economic situation. These acts of charity don’t cost the donor a dime, but provide immeasurable benefits to our community, and grow exponentially. The recipient, even if he doesn’t realize it at the time, will most likely pass along our simple act of charity by his own positive (or lack of negative) action. In turn, those positive acts ripple through our community. To paraphrase Ill. Norman Vincent Peale, 33° IGH: All the intelligence, good intentions and physical strength in the world is dwarfed in human relations by attitude when it comes to accomplishing the positive goals of the Freemasonry.

There is no suggestion here that we lessen our personal donations of time or money. Quite the contrary! But let’s never forget that we are a fraternity and not a service club; and as Grand Commander Pike admonished, Scottish Rite Masonry will only triumph in proportion to the degree we as Masons, truly practice Masonic Charity.

A great date in our Nation’s History: July 20, 1969
On this date, after a three day journey, the Eagle descended upon the lunar surface carrying the two intrepid pioneers, Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin.

Our House of the Temple holds a silk Masonic banner brought to the moon by Illustrious Br. Aldrin, 33°. It is a testament to his love for Masonry that Aldrin tucked away this small token. Less known is that under the Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM, the moon was ‘claimed’ under TX jurisdiction by Special Deputy Aldrin on July 20, 1969. As a later commemoration the mission inspired Tranquility Lodge #2000, and the Lodge functions as a charity to help the children of Texas. For more information, history, and just a real cool website, go to www.tl2k.org.

Fellow astronauts Gordon Cooper, Donn Eisele, Wally Schirra, Edgar Mitchell, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Frank Borman, Thomas Stafford, and Paul Weitz, and many NASA Administrators were members of our Gentle Craft. Obviously, each would agree that Freemasonry is ‘out of this world’!!

For the Good of the Order
Summer is a great time to study the Master Craftsman program. If your book is getting a bit dusty, there will never be a better time than now to delve into the depths of knowledge. Hey, several extra hours of free sunlight means saving your candlepower while you exercise the ol’ noodle.
After studying, consider joining other area Masons in mid-August as the Tacoma Rainiers take on the Iowa Cubs: Sunday, August 16. Game time is 1:30. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll get you a ticket. Wives and kids are most welcome! It’s great baseball at the AAA level – these guys have skills, and are hungry to make the big club!

See you in September!


No comments: