Official Visit to Western Star Lodge No. 50

Worshipful Master, Distinguished East,
Past & Present Grand Lodge Officers,
Brethren All

� and particularly our new Entered Apprentice

For the non-Freemason, one common question is to find out whether, as it is often said, Freemasonry is a secret society. After all, there is a common suspicion that any form of secrecy in any organization may represent a danger for the government, society or individuals.

We know that these fears are unfounded.

We can safely say, that those who are Freemasons, would resign and dissociate themselves from Freemasonry, if they were ever to find out that Freemasonry is, or would become, incompatible with the moral duties they owe to God, their country, their neighbour and themselves.

So why is it, that we must solemnly and sincerely promise and swear never to reveal the secrets of the fraternity? and we can ask ourselves: Why ? Why is it necessary, What does it mean?

To understand the Masonic concept of secret needs to be related to another aspects of Freemasonry: Symbolism

The whole teaching of Freemasonry is said to be symbolic.

Masonic symbols are the keys to a long, difficult, but rewarding spiritual journey; but it is a road which we have to travel by ourselves. Our Brethren can help us, but at the end of the day, nobody can do it for us.

Initiation does not consist in receiving any type of knowledge that can be written or said, or perceived by the five senses of human nature, it is an introduction to a type of totally different knowledge, where the Brother will learn to use his heart to conceive the beauties of Freemasonry.

As an Entered Apprentice we may be inclined to believe that these ancient symbols are meaningless, that the ceremonies have now become antiquated if not simply ridiculous, and we might be tempted to reject too hastily that what lies beyond the field of our still uninitiated understanding.

As an analogy, these symbols can be compared to a series of keys, allowing to open doors and enter successive rooms.

These precious keys should not be given to the ignorant man for he would not know how to use them, nor to the intolerant man for he would misuse them, nor to the overambitious man for he would desecrate them.

The sense of symbols, first very obscure, will progressively become clearer, and those words that the young Entered Apprentice can only spell with difficulty, will be later read with ease.

He is guided symbolically when he is given the first letter of the word. But he has to discover the second letter himself. In due time, the third letter will be communicated to him in order that he may uncover the next.

This symbolic approach, held in high esteem among the peoples of Antiquity, is still used today by Freemasons but has nothing to do with a craving for secrets or mystery, nor has this method become obsolete.

Much to the contrary, far superior to the confusion of words and of languages, Masonic symbols, so expressive, are more fitting than ever to imprint upon the memory wise and serious truths.

But if the secret teaching behind Masonic symbols is simply to convey a moral message, however wise and respectable it may be, why this need to keep secret what should be made available for the benefit of all?

For a Freemason to discover the "secrets" of Freemasonry consists mainly in studying the "hidden" sense of symbols and allegories that can be observed in the Lodge and during the Masonic ritual and ceremonies.

The story goes that the famous Greek Mathematician Euclid was taken to the court of Pharaoh in Alexandria and threatened to be put to death if he persisted in refusing to give the secrets of Geometry. Euclid is said to have answered the Pharaoh that putting him to death would not make the Pharaoh any wiser, for the only way for him to obtain these secrets was to learn Geometry like he had done.

When truth is communicated directly, without requiring any effort from the recipient, it will not leave a lasting impression, for most human beings live day by day and are not capable of forming their own opinions.

When knowledge is reduced to a mere dogma that is blindly accepted, it may appear to survive for some time, while its rules are still being slavishly observed. But as its underlying coherence and justification is being lost, truth is soon distorted and breaks into pieces.

So, it is necessary that all elevated ideas, be created again and again by each one of us in ourselves. Only when we attempt to follow with trust the inner road of our individual thought, can we hope to attain living truth.

Then nothing will remain either occult, nor secret, because the intention of the Fraternity has never been to hide, but only to transmit through the succession of ages, the most excellent tenets of our Institution.

Freemasonry is not a Service Club. It�s objectives are not directed at the profane world, but rather at the heart of each brother. �To take a good man and make him better� is the leitmotiv of the fraternity. At the closing of the Lodge, the Senior Deacon, when closing the Great Light, reminds us that the secrets of Freemasonry are enclosed in the true and faithful breast, which should also remind us that the true secrets of Masonry are not material, but within us.

Just prior to taking his obligation, the Senior Deacon speaks for the candidate: As all brethren and fellows have done who have gone this way before him. It would be simplistic to think that this alludes to the perambulation. It is the spiritual path to which the Masonic ritual alludes.

By their individual work, Freemasons can contribute to the construction of a better world. By their ideas and the example of their life, Freemasons can help in spreading brotherly love, relief and truth.

Searching within us, being sincerely in search of "that which was lost", we become enlightened by the Wisdom of Silence, fortified by the Strength of Symbols, and discover the Beauty of Secrets in our hearts.

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