FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

Last month we discussed from a literal standpoint, the adage, “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” This time let’s consider it from a more philosophical standpoint. I understand this to mean that if there is no one present to bear witness to my actions do those actions really matter? Or more simply stated, what do I do when no one is watching.

Let us consider the tree for a minute, regardless of the time of day, the season, weather conditions, if any one or any thing is watching or whatever else may be taking place, when it falls it makes a sound. The reason is very simple, it’s what the tree does and it will do it every time.

Now again let us consider the Masonic adage that “Masonry makes good men better” I think one way it does this is by purity and consistency in our thoughts, words and actions. This is what Masons do. So how do I know if I’ve become a better man? I guess I’ll find out by what I do the next time when no one is watching.

Come to Lodge and listen to the trees.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

I would like you to consider the adage “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s  no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” If we interpret this literally the obvious answer is yes it does, But then you must realize if there is no one there to hear it , the sound has no meaning, no relevance? Now let us consider the masonic adage that ” masonry makes good men better.”  I believe this is also true, but the question is how?

I would suggest one way is by our Fraternal communion, our sharing of common goals, thoughts and ideas, through our conversations at meetings and various charitable and social events, working and playing together. In this way, we become more relevant, we make a noise that is heard within the fraternity and throughout our communities.

So, we must now ask the question” if a good man joins Masonry and he does not become active, participate and contribute in the fraternity does it make him a better man?”  I look forward to discussing this answer and other topics in more detail in lodge, I hope you will be there to hear it.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

Once more, it is time for the arrival of a new Master and officers. This past year has been a challenge to us all. We have raised some new Master Masons.We had the interior of the lodge renewed. We have lost some brothers, called to the lodge on high. We have welcomed new visitors to our meetings.

But is that enough? Have we done all we can for the Lodge and the Fraternity? We strive to support the charities of the Lodge and Grand Lodge. Do we attend the meetings of the Lodge? Do we give of ourselves to those in need? Do we live our obligations every day?

The time has arrived for my term to end. I thank my officers and those who were always there to help get things done. May you all have a truly blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year!!!!!!

Fraternally;

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

“I bring you greetings….” How often have we heard these words? Yet how often do we take the time to give greetings to our brothers? We go to Lodge, we see the familiar faces; the officers, the loyal sideliners, the brothers we have known for many, many years. Do we get up to give greetings to them all? Do we take the time to acknowledge the brothers who have come to share their evening with us?

What of the brothers we do not recognize? The member who has not been out for a long while? The visitor from within our District? The first time visitor from out of state? The newly raised brother? What impression do they get of the fellowship in Harmony Lodge?

What about downstairs in the collation hall? Do you sit with the same three brothers every meeting night? Do you invite a stranger to sit and share the meal with you? How “WELCOME” do we make all our brethren feel?

“There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.” These words hang above the entrance to the Lodge room. Have you seen them? Do you make them watchwords for your treatment of all your brothers? Have you brought greetings to your brothers?

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

The Bible

In Masonry,we are told that we are going to receive Light. Light in Masonry is more knowledge. Knowledge they say is power. Masonic Light is not the power of physical strength, but the power that comes from understanding. We are told to polish and adorn our minds with knowledge. Some of this knowledge comes from a study of the liberal arts and sciences. Other comes from a study of the Great Book of Life.

The Holy Bible is our spiritual, moral and Masonic trestleboard. It contains the writings of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus. It is the rule and guide for moral and ethical behavior.

The word Bible comes from the Latin “Biblia”, which means “the books”. In Greek “biblia” literally means “Paper” and it is itself the diminutive of the word “Byblos” which means “Egyptian papyrus”. So the literal translation of “Ta Biblia” is “little papyrus books”.

The Bible is composed of two testaments, the Old and the New. The Old Testament is not the same with all Christian faiths. Most protestant bibles have 39 books in the Old Testament, based on the books of the Hebrew Tanakh. The Catholic Bible has 46 books. The New Testament is the same for all Christian faiths having 27 books. The division of the books into chapters is attributed to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the 13th century. The creation of the system of verses was done by the printer Robert Estienne in the Bibles he printed from 1539 to 1551.

The Bible is the most printed book in history. The number of translations are too numerous to count. Regardless of which translation we read, the lesson of understanding and the power that this understanding gives us is universal. We should all use this power to improve our lives and our world.

 

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

We may be confused about the terms Masonic Temple and Masonic Lodge. Are they the same or are there differences?

A Masonic Lodge is an organization of Masons that have a charter from a Grand Lodge. The Lodge is therefore the membership of that chartered organization. It is a living thing since it is composed of men who believe in the principle tenents  of Freemasonry and want to associate with other likeminded men. The Lodge will grow or shrink as its members stay active or drift away.

The Temple is the building where the Lodge meets.  It is composed of stone, wood, mortar and other materials. It can be an ornate structure with great columns and a facade of exquisite beauty. It may be a plain. but well used and beloved building. But it is nothing without the Lodge that meets there. It is sad that so many beautiful Masonic Temples have been lost as their Lodge has moved or the membership stopped supporting their Lodge.

This summer we have had the interior of the Temple refurbished. We have had the interior walls painted  and the carpet in the Lodge room replaced. We hope that these improvements meet with the approval of the Lodge. I hope that you will come out and see how good it looks.

 

I am earnestly inviting all our members to come, visit, and reacquaint yourself with your Temple and your Lodge. Both miss you and will welcome you. Our Lodge has been here in Toms River since 1853. Our Temple has been a fixture in Toms River since 1957. Without the support of the members, how long will the Temple or Lodge survive?

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

We are all aware that Compasses occupy a central part in our ritual.But what exactly is a compass and why do we refer to it in the plural?

The Compass we are referring to is the one used in geometry and navigation. It consists of a handle , legs, hinge, pencil point and needle point. The handle is located at the top of the compass and is used to hold it. The legs end in a pencil point or other marker and a needle point which is used to anchor the compass. The hinge is the method allowing the angle of the legs to be adjusted and locked.

Some compasses have two needle points and are used for navigation. They are used to measure a known distance and then step it off to determine the distance between two points. These are called dividers.

A beam compass has two legs that are not connected. The needle point is connected to a beam along which the pencil point slides to enable larger circles to be inscribed.

In Masonry, the Compasses are matched with the Square. They are, more correctly, a square and a set of compasses joined. That is why they are referred to in the plural: Compasses. They are used to teach us to keep our action circumscribed within due bounds. Each of us has to use the Compasses of our own mind and conscious to inscribe the boundaries that allow us to live a life in accord with the tenants of Masonry. Have your Compasses made their mark?

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

The Square

The square is an instrument used by operative craftsmen to square their work. But the square has many symbolic meanings as well, beyond those it has in Masonry.

Square comes from the latin quadra, which descended through Italian squadra, Spanish Escuadra and Poruguese esquadra to Old French esquare to English:square. It has accumulated many distinct definitions and meanings over time. Many of us know the geometric meaning of a regular four sided figure with equal sides and four right angles. But it has also been defined, per the Oxford/English dictionary, “Of actions: just or equitable; fair, honest,  honorable straightforward” also, “Of persons: not readily moved or shaken in porpoise, etc; solid, steady, reliable”

Square is used to describe a good and just man. George Puttenham, an English writer and literary critic, in a treatise on poetry printed in 1857, translates, Aristotle as saying: ” a constant minded man – a square man.” Someone who treats us fairly is said to act upon the square.

It has entered the language as a part of many expressions. Sir Frances Bacon in 1607 coined the expression: Fair and Square. We have all heard of getting a square deal. A good soldier is squared away. Paying a debt to someone is squaring up with. And who has not been fortunate enough to have had a square meal.” The last example is one that does not really relate to the other since it means a good filling meal, nothing to do with honor or honesty: ” A square meal is not, as may be supposed, a meal placed upon the table in the form of a solid cubic block, but a substantial repast of pork and beans, onions, cabbage, and other articles of sustenance.”

Square has many varied meanings, but do you follow the Masonic definition in all your dealings with others? Everyone we meet and have contact with should be able to tell we are Masons since we should always treat everyone by the square.

Fraternally

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

We all know about the Orders of Architecture and how they describe the different types of classical columns.  But what do we know of the anatomy of a column?

A column may be a monolithic or segmented column, a monolithic, literally “one rock” column is made from one piece of stone. Monolithic columns are the heaviest type of columns, and the heaviest stone used in architecture, and are not generally used. A segmented column is made up of several pieces that are either joined by mortar or dry filled. In many of the segmented columns found in classical site, the segment has a center hole or a recess to allow pins to be used to join the pieces together.

The design of most classical columns incorporate entasis, which is the inclusion of a slight outward curve in the sides, and a reduction in diameter along the height of the column, so that the top is as little as 83{f0ed2aaa3fb7ddd69261355be2338eead051890858040af1fe175960f320b2fb} of the bottom diameter. The bulging and narrowing gives the appearance of a longer and straighter column to the eye.

The column can be smooth or fluted. The Tuscan is almost always smooth. The Doric is almost always fluted, or having vertical grooves in the column’s body. The other orders can be smooth or fluted and do not appear to have a preference.

Classical columns have a base or plinth that rests on the stylobate or foundation. The stylobate is used to level out the ground and provide the foundation of the building. Many classical buildings hide a colonnade, or a porch that had columns in it. The stylobade in Greek architecture was usually three or four steps and they were used as access to the colonnade as well. Roman architecture had a higher stylobate and had actual entry stairs at the front of the building to access the colonnade and entry.

The capitol or chapitar is the capstone of the column. The Doric and Tuscan have no base, arising from the stylobate, and not capitol as such, generally just an inverted frustrum, or truncated cone or other geometric solid. The Ionic’s capitol has scrollwork known as volutes. The Corinthian and Composite have very ornate capitols.

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM

 

 

FROM THE EAST

   I turned around and it is March already. Spring is almost here and with it; renewal. The days will start to lengthen, green will return to the landscape, warmth will return. So the seasons change: Winter into Spring. As Masons, we know about the change of seasons. By Astronomy, we can mark the passage of the stars and other heavenly bodies that herald the arrival of Spring. Geometry allows us to ascertain the duration of times and seasons. In fact, these observations are what is used to determine the date of Easter in the Christian church since Easter falls on the Sunday following the full moon that follows the Spring equinox. We should each run out and check our calculations against the calendar to make sure they have it right.

We are instructed to pursue the study of  the Liberal Arts and Sciences to give direction to our intellectual curiosity and to improve ourselves. By it we learn to sharpen our thinking and be more discerning. It broadens our minds and gives us new avenues of thought. Have you thought about looking further into extending your mind for a wider and more extended range of thought.

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM