By Rudy Olano
Sequoia Council No. 228 (AMD)
Somebody mentioned that it is far easier to ask for answers than knowing the question. Having said that let me say that searching for truth will depend on one’s acceptance of the perceived truth. You have asked me questions that seem to seek for the official view of someone of an authority in the study of our Craft. Forgive me for warding the issue but in my humble opinion, I am not in a position to speak for the rest of the brethren or the Craft as a whole. But if you will allow me to take a portion of the real seekers within the group, I would speculate that each of us is searching for our version of Truth, be it may, the Holy Grail, Fountain of Youth, meaning of life, one’s own self and quite possibly, our own Faith.
In the Blue Lodge, we are coached to seek for the Lost Word, as we were made aware of the substitute during the course of events following the Tragedy in the Temple. If the newly raised Master Mason deciphered one of the Mysteries or Lesson in the Blue Lodge and seek further light in Masonry, in the Royal Arch Degree, a seeker will find the Real Word safely deposited in the faithful breasts of true friends. Our Mother Lodge also imparted a valuable lesson of adorning great and important undertakings. In the Council of Cryptic Masonry, deep inside the vault of secrecy, an attentive ear will hear the importance of appreciation to the labor expended during the search of that which was lost---the preservation of the Word. Hence, accepting the fact that we lost something valuable is the first step of the search (Blue Lodge), then if even one is successful in finding what was Lost (Royal Arch Degree), it is not the end of the search, it is equally important to preserve or keep the object of the search (Cryptic Degrees). Finally, the Order of Knights Templar is about defending ones belief---the squaring of the circle which might or seems to represent the paradox of our existence. The Lessons or Mysteries of Freemasonry does not end in the Blue Lodge. There are more knowledge and opportunities beyond the Symbolic degrees.
As to the other lessons of the Temple Tragedy, note that not all Fellow Crafts will receive the Word, it is only reserved for those who will be found worthy. Even repentance of wrongdoings will not save transgressors from earning their penalty—it is simply wise to avoid the unsavory and expedient ideas in the first place. Guilty by association.---stay away from the bad crowds. Wearing of white gloves and apron has the same effect of washing hands--- it is only for show and does not work therefore, no excuse. It is the internal not the external that matters.
In your conclusion of the allegorical message of the Temple Tragedy, the answer will depend on how we see our search through the prism of our individual perception. Does knowing His Name is enough to gain admission to His place? Born Again Christians says all we have to do is to believe in Him--- Faith not Work. We Masons are taught to keep our apron spotless---Work not Faith. And mind you, we are not religion but we are religious. Knowing the Master’s Word will enable craftsman to expect to earn his just wages; however, he still has to work in order to receive the fruits of his labor. The mere possession of the Master’s Word is not a ticket to anyone’s salvation. Finding what was lost is not the end of the journey. An equally important question to ponder is what we mortals have to do once we find what we are looking for.
I am tempted to say that I hope I answered your query but rather I would wish that I provoked you for asking yourself for more inquiry. I am glad to meet a Brother who finds value of asking thought provoking questions--- a seeker of Truth.
Published in The California Encompasser, the official publication of California York Rite Bodies, Vol 21, June 2006.