Preparation: the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty
How do you make yourself ready for Lodge? How do you help your Lodge become ready to carry out the will of the Worshipful Master?
Freemasonry is, at its core, a self-improvement organization. We have lessons and philosophies that a Brother can use to “…improve him(my)self in Freemasonry.” It is your responsibility to prepare your heart, mind and spirit for a lodge meeting. You do this by praying, studying and thinking on the lessons learned in the Craft. If you come to Lodge without any preparation, the only thing that will have meaning to you is the fellowship with the Brethren; it will be hard for you to consider the deep lessons that are thinly veiled, even in our Opening and Closing Ritual. How do you prepare your heart, mind and spirit for a lodge meeting?
The business of the Lodge is mostly done outside the formal Lodge meeting. Committees appointed by the Worshipful Master should meet to act on his Plan; to work on the more difficult problems and come to a consensus on what to present to the Lodge for a vote. Brethren are encouraged to provide their input to the committee while they are in discussion so that when they bring something before the Lodge, there will be little dissension or conflict. This hearkens back to the building of King Solomon’s Temple. The trees were hewn and prepared in Lebanon, away from the Temple Mount. The brass and golden ornaments for the temple were cast in molds in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredatha, and the stones were perfected in the quarries. The building was constructed without the sounds of instruments; all parts fitting perfectly. Freemasonry should take this to heart and do our work by quiet and orderly means, “without the hammer of contention, the axe of division, or any tool of mischief.”
The working tools of Freemasonry are many, but they are divided based on the three degrees. As we learn from WB Kent Henderson, “Each of the nine tools has a moral significance: The Twenty-four Inch Gauge, the Common Gavel and the Chisel of the First Degree are the tools of preparation; the Square, Level and Plumb Rule of the Second Degree are the tools of proof; the Skirret, Pencil and Compasses of the Third Degree are the tools of plan.” In the workings of the Lodge, it is the Worshipful Master who employs the tools of Plan to lay upon the Trestleboard the plan for the lodge during his year.
We as Craftsmen in the Lodge are to employ first the tools of preparation. We are to look at the plans laid upon the Trestleboard and do our due diligence in ensuring that the Master and the Lodge (Brethren) have the best base materials with which to work to build our edifice. This is true for the internal and the external preparation that we should accomplish. We provide our Master with the advice and ideas to help him maintain a perfect plan.
As skilled Craftsmen, we then use the tools of proof to assess our work and that of our Brethren. It is our duty to ensure that their work, and ours, meets the needs of the Plan of the Master. We do this on the Square and Level, and always by the Plumb, showing us that line of Rectitude to which we must adhere. We also must work with humility. While at work building a previous edifice, we may have been selected by the Brethren to serve as the Master; now it is our opportunity to serve and advise the brother selected by the Fraternity to lead us in the building of our current edifice. We must do this with grace and equanimity. The plan is his and it is our duty to work within his plan.
As stated previously, most of this is done outside the regular meeting. By the time of the Communication of the Lodge, we should work as one, with no sound of Discord to be heard in the confines of our Lodge Room.
How well are you using the tools of preparation?