Ashlars ; Rough & Smooth
.“The Rough Ashlar is a stone, rough and unhewn as taken from the quarry, until by industry and ingenuity of the workman, it is modeled, wrought in due form, and rendered fit for the intended structure ; this represents man in his infant or primitive state, rough and unpolished as that stone, until by the kind care and attention of his
The Perfect Ashlar is a stone of true die or square, fit only to be tried by the Square and Compasses, This represents man in the decline of years, after a regular well spent life in acts of piety and virtue, which can no otherwise be tried and approved than by the Square of God’s Word
And the Compasses of his own self convincing conscience”
I believe we all have a very good idea of what a Rough Ashlar looks like and to what, in Masonic terms, it relates to, so I will consider the description given above to be adequate. The following is an article that I received some years ago and I feel to be truly relevant at this time.
When a sculptor chooses a stone for his work, he looks for one, which has within it the innate beauty and perfection that he needs. He sees the finished product within the stone and removes that material which is not part of his final design.
In Freemasonry, a potential candidate for admission brings himself and his desire to become a Mason to the attention of a Lodge. The Lodge, knowing that he is a rough ashlar, tries to make certain that this rough ashlar has no flaws or imperfections within it that could marr the making of a perfect ashlar. It is frequently said that masonry takes a good man and makes him better. We think of it as taking rough ashlars and trying to make them perfect.
Having recognized this objective, we must recognize that a mason is not an inanimate stone, which cannot grow; he is human, made of flesh and blood, who is striving not only to survive in his environment, but to make sense of and to enrich his existence.
His very soul requires him to make adjustments in himself, and in his environment, to meet his needs for happiness. Each and every individual, in his own way, attempts to grow to his level of greatest potential.
Abraham Maslow, a great educator & psychologist referred to this as “self actualization”
The individual, therefore has a tendency to correct any flaws and imperfections which come to the surface, if he becomes aware of them, and if they should in any way prevent him from reaching his goals. This process, according to Maslow, takes an individual his lifetime. Some stumble in their quest and some reach a plateau from which further growth seems impossible.
Freemasonry possesses the necessary tools and conditions to stimulate a Brother to further intellectual and spiritual growth or to guide the wayward back onto his true path.
One is, what one is, and at any particular point in time one cannot possibly be everything else. A good Lodge with sensitive, charitable, understanding, tolerant, humanistic and dedicated members makes a large and long-term investment if time and energy into aiding the personal development and individual potential of each and every member of the Lodge.
Instead of being perplexed, annoyed or turned off, others can, and ought to, take all aspects of his character and use them to the benefit of everyone, including himself.. This process requires a great deal of effort, patience and perseverance as time and circumstance of one’s interaction with his social and physical environment may demonstrate unexpected character traits.
To those who have attended an Annual “Installation of Officers” I bring to your attention the following excerpt from the “Charge to the Wardens”
“ suffice it to mention that what you have seen to be praiseworthy in others, it is expected you will carefully imitate, and what in them may have appeared defective, you will in yourselves amend”
Adapted from a paper written by George Jendyk. Pembina Lodge #126, Grand Lodge of Alberta.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF FRIENDSHIP
Friendship is a Golden Chain. The links are friends so dear
And like a rare and precious Jewel It’s treasured more each year.
It’s clasped together firmly With love that’s deep and true,
And it’s rich with happy memories And fond recollections too
Time can’t destroy it’s beauty For, as long as memory lives
Years can’t erase the pleasure That the joy of Friendship gives,
For Friendship is a priceless gift That can’t be bought or sold.
But to have an understanding friend Is worth far more than Gold
And the Golden Chain of Friendship Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together As the years go passing by
From Poems by Helen Steiner Rice.