By: Lance Card
I intend this to be the final article in the Virtue of Order series. Within this article, I’m going to expand Brother Franklin’s possible meaning to include something a little more directly relatable to our Freemason ideologies.
One prominent way that I think about Order is that there is an order to all things. In Life you begin as an embryo, advance to an infant, then a toddler, child, adolescent, pre-teen, teen, young adult, adult, middle-aged, elderly, venerable, and then return to the Great Architect of the Universe having (hopefully) gained a great deal of knowledge through your experiences as well as having done a great deal of good. In education, you advance through the various grades and classes having to complete one before proceeding to the next until you are awarded academic accolades related to your accomplishments. In your career, you face the same organizational advancements; having to show competency in one before being allowed to advance to another. Church, social circles, in hobbies, and most definitely in Freemasonry, there is an order to all things.
Why is this? Why are there such defined restrictions for advancement placed before us when we are such an impatience race? Admit it, we are a people of immediacy. We are fast food junkies who want our services delivered upon demand. We do not like to wait. When the announcement of new technology is made, there are often fits of lamenting as people are forced to wait for the new tech’s arrival. While such a demand for delivering the latest and greatest has caused the human race to step up production and advance our technologies, it has also caused us to sacrifice in many areas we would quite possibly be better served. Perhaps—and now I am truly hypothesizing—we’ve lost a great deal in Freemasonry through the quickened pace of our advancement through the degrees.
I’ve heard tell that once upon a time the advancement through Blue Lodge degrees took years by the requirement. A candidate was made to truly have mastered the degree previous before advancing to the next, and thus was able to instruct those who followed with similar capability to their own mentor. Those years in education were not spent wanting for they allowed the candidate a chance to really investigate all that the degree has to offer. The time was spent in contemplation, in practice, and in Masonic discussion as prudently appointed in the Entered Apprentice Charge. Compare that experience to your own advancement through the degrees, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there is a lot about Blue Lodge that we are still learning, and so much more to Freemasonry awaiting us on the horizon.
There is order in all things for a reason. The Great Architect of the Universe designed it in such a way as to provide us with ample time to educate ourselves and advance at a pace prudent to the experience. Patience should not be lost to us free-thinkers, but it should be embraced. We should strive to truly understand the teachings of our forefathers, the education of Solomon, and the tenets of our ancient and honorable fraternity before we hasten down another corridor, or open another door. There are beautiful things to be discovered in the First Degree. Surely the Second holds even more. And the Third? Well, that goes without saying. Can a man genuinely claim to be a Freemason when not fully practicing the landmarks and tenets delivered in previous degrees while advancing with a fury through to the next? Can a man truly claim to be a Freemason when he skips mindlessly through the fields of the Blue Lodge in his rush to gain admittance to an appendant body?
Consider, my brothers, the order in which Freemasonry is designed, and then please consider the pace at which you are traversing these stairs. Take the Blue Lodge education with leisure and studious pursuit to truly appreciate the order of our fraternity, and advance your knowledge with a keen eye for self-improvement. What you put into Freemasonry you will most certainly have returned.