Wednesday, March 29, 2017
A Brother Asks: Associating Faith to Ritual
A Brother Asks: Why do so many Freemasons inherently associate the Craft with any one specific religion?
My Response: Their Ignorance, Arrogance, and Wishful thinking are the causes.
He Continues: Would you please expand upon this?
My Response: Sure! Freemasonic Ritual is symbolic and allegorical; not literal and factual. The organization’s Rituals are "morality plays". They're supposed to be understood and experienced as such and they are to be applied within the context of your own faith and philosophy, even when the veil that is used to convey any one specific story or obligation is that of another’s faith or philosophy.
In other words, the veil that is put forth through these plays to convey intended values, meanings and concepts is not the veil you should see or internalize; that would be counterproductive and contrary to Freemasonic intents and ends. You must learn to see through veils, no matter how you might be distracted by them, to gain what is truly being offered beneath each.
This same understanding applies to the demands placed upon some candidates within specific appendant bodies that appear to be literal and specific to one faith or another. These plays, and the manner to which they convey things, are symbolic and allegorical and should apply symbolically and metaphorically to the candidate’s life; not literally.
When you listen to what Freemasonic instruction intends, you will take what is shared “figuratively” and apply each insight gleaned and each experience conveyed toward your own life, as it fits within your own faith and philosophy; not the faith or philosophy used to convey.
However, when you take any ritual as concrete, historical and factual, you miss the intent of what was shared. You believe what was shared in a literal way. You miss the entire reason for the experiences and the lessons are learned superficially.
In reality, Ritual will be always be understood to be whatever the individual experiencing it wants it to be and within the limitations of that person’s capacity to understand it. And because of this limiting factor, men who have the capacity to see past the veils of dogma, both religious and philosophic, will be attacked and eventually driven off by those individuals who insist upon experiencing and interpreting these plays literally.
This is one of the reasons that both the Apprentice and Fellow Work are so crucial to Masonic development. It prepares both the heart and mind to comprehend things, even when veiled several times over. The Work is also what prepares a spirit to soar.
Brother John S Nagy