The Hidden Work of Masonry

Masonic Articles and Essays

The Hidden Work of Masonry

Very Ills. Bro. C. Jinarajadasa 33°

Date Published: 6/12/2024                        

What is the hidden work of Freemasonry? Are we to believe that Freemasonry is nothing more than a social club or charitable organization? Freemasonry is a work of the higher planes, one that has tangible and highly necessary effects on the consciousness of the Human Race.

Masonry holds a unique place. It is older than any religion which now exists. Yet it is not a religion with a creed, There are Masons of every faith, and they find Masonry a common bond. What is this bond? 

First, it is a great recognition of the power of Brotherhood. A Mason is a Brother to every other Mason, whatever be the race or religion to which his brother may belong. Co-Masonry has expanded the concept of Brotherhood by admitting women as Masons so that a Co-Mason recognizes all men and women in Masonry, of every jurisdiction, as his Brothers, to whom he is bound by Masonic obligations. 

But the ideal of Brotherhood is not unique to Masonry. All the religions contain the idea and there is no religion which has upheld Brotherhood in a more practical way than Mohammedanism. I do not think that Masonry would have survived as it has if the power of Masonry were solely due to the ideals of Brother Love, Relief, and Truth. The great religions of the past had those ideals and they have passed away. If Masonry survives, it is because Masonry still has work to do for humanity, a work which is essential to human progress. 

What is this work? It is not, I maintain, the development of the ideals of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. The work of Masons is more vital still. Note how, according to our traditions, we meet as Masons not to pray but to work. Can our ordinary meetings, our initiations, be called by the dignified name of “Work?” That would be an exaggeration. What then is our Work? 

It is something that is hidden and mystical. Our Work is a hidden work done for the welfare of humanity by our meetings. I say, “for humanity.” That is the value of Masonry. Masonry does not merely help the Masons who are in the Lodge; it helps the thousands who are not Masons at all! That is one of the mysteries of Masonry which we must understand. 

To understand this secret of Masonry, let us first remember how carefully the principal parts of Masonry, the “landmarks,” as they are called, have been preserved without change for thousands of years. Why must we not change the Masonic Ritual to suit ourselves? Because our secret work as Masons is done through our Ritual, and this Ritual has been carefully constructed by experts of long ago so as to make Masonry as efficient as possible. You cannot change the “landmarks” without modifying the hidden work which Masonry does. A true ritual is not merely a ceremony, but a ceremony specifically constructed with a view to producing a special effect. 

To understand the nature of this effect, let me quote a significant saying of Plato that “God geometrizes.” That is to say, the whole universe is mathematically constructed. It is a vast living mechanism, full of beauty, law and order. We Masons believe this at once. How else would T.G.A.O.T.U. construct a world and maintain it, except by the laws of harmony? Now harmony means rhythm, balance, proportion, law and order. 

In a Masonic Lodge, where all the Brethren live Masonic ideals and are all trained in the ritual, there is order and rhythm and harmony and beauty. That is one reason why a Lodge meeting is attractive. To many the Lodge serves the place of church. That is to say, in the Lodge, they find an inspiration which religious-minded men find in a church service. Truly, in a well-organized Lodge the G.A.O.T.U. geometrizes through the ritual. 

Now the special secret about a Masonic Lodge is that for the duration of its meeting it is a miniature universe. The three aspects of the G.A. – Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty – are represented by three principal officers. The brethren are the columns of the temple where the G.A. dwells for the time. In many ways, which I will not elaborate, a Lodge is a miniature universe. 

But when Masons create temporarily by their Ritual a miniature universe, the great universe is at once linked with it. For there is the ancient mystic formula “As Above, So Below.” Change the formula from “As Below, So Above,” and you have the secret power of Masonry. For the Lodge when it is opened is “perfect.” That is to say, it becomes a miniature, a model, a mirror of the great universe where the G.A. dwells and rules. 

The moment our little universe is made, the mysterious blessing of the G.A. pours to Humanity using the Lodge as its channel. That is our secret work – to offer to the G.A. a channel through which He may send His blessing to mankind. 

In this hidden and secret work of the Lodge, every brother is wanted. Every brother is like one more pipe for the water of a reservoir to flow through. And that pipe becomes larger when the brother is a true Mason. That is to say, when he understands his part in the work of the Lodge and loyally cooperates with the Ritual. 

We are not Masons only in order to enjoy something secret. We are Masons to work for and with T.G.A.O.T.U. The work done by a lighthouse may not seem important to the dwellers of the port as they go about their daily work. But it is the lighthouse which works alone and at night that guides the ships which bring what the city needs into the harbor. So it is with Masonry. Masonry still exists because through it as a channel the G.A.O.T.U can send His Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty to the world. Let us dedicate ourselves to the work of our Lodge so that at least our Lodge may be such a channel as the G.A. find “Just, True, and Perfect.” 

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