The smooth stones Josephus speaks of are without flaw or blemish. The stones we refer to in Masonry or the “Ashlars” and represent what we have been and what we hope to become. It is up to each individual Mason to pass his own judgment on himself while here on earth, and to adjust accordingly. Consequently, when he lays down his earthly working tools and makes the final journey to Heaven above he may hope to hear these welcome words “Well done Thou Good and Faithful Servant.” He might also leave behind a reputation as a wise counselor, a pillar of strength and stability, a Prefect Ashlar on which younger Masons may test the correctness and value of their own contributions to our Masonic Order. Brothers each one of us is leaving behind a mark of some kind on our younger Brothers. Is this a true MARK that can be identified as a MARK of a skillful Master Mason?
The Ashlars lie open in the Lodge for Brethren to moralize on to derive some moral benefit. Often they are quickly referred to, and just as quickly forgotten. The Ashlars in Masonry are consecrated.
The Rough Ashlar is the stone in its rude and natural state, and is emblematic of man in his rude and natural state. Through the lapse of time, education will exert its influence in expanding his intellect, restraining his passions and purifying his life. Now he is represented by the Prefect Ashlar, which under the skillful hands of a workman, has been smoothed and squared and fitted for its place in the building with our Mark upon it. However, you will notice the Rough Ashlar in a Masonic Lodge is not in its rude or natural state. It has been squared in a fashion, partially smoothed and has apparent strength and solidarity. It possesses all the qualities to make a perfect stone for use in the construction of the Temple. We must never forget, it needs the hands and skill of the Craftsman to bring about GOD’s design. Aspirants are neither ignorant, uncultivated nor vicious. Masonry does not or should not
accept men of such qualifications.
Membership in a Lodge does not make a man a Mason, it makes him a member of Masonry. The aspirant joins us, we do not join him. If one is satisfied with being a Master Mason in name only, he loses the benefit of further advancement and improvement that can be gained in actively pursuing light in the Order. In other words, he falls short of that Prefect Ashlar.
To maintain the state of perfection in absolute balance, there is a standard we must have whereby each workman can constantly test the tools he is using. We must ensure the wear and use have not changed the measurements even in the slightest degree. Do we have such a tool to test what we are working with? That which we are or hope to become is not a race, but a journey to be experienced each day. Time was not one of the essential factors in building the Temple, perfection was the goal. Our rush to advance candidates, or ourselves should be evaluated ensuring we are placing the proper Mark upon our work. In each Lodge rests on the Altar in the center of the room is a copy of the Great Light of Masonry, which must be the instrument we use to gauge ourselves. It is the solid foundation upon which we can build. It never changes. Civilizations come and go, but the Book stays the same, a guide for all mankind. Each must strive to become that Perfect Ashlar by the example we see of those more perfect example in action, reactions and deeds. Let us all work together for that goal of becoming a better person today than what we were yesterday. Each day we should begin attempting to build our Spiritual Temple towards that Perfect Ashlar by first seeking guidance. “Before any undertaking, invoke the blessings and aid of Deity.”
Word of the month: Consecrated-solemnly dedicated to or set apart for a high purpose, usually a Holy purpose.
“Our Best Is the Least We Owe Each Other”
Steven D. Hames, Senior Grand Warden
Chairman, Masonic Education Committee