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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes August 2005

Appeal for Florida

The Grand Lodge of Florida has been receiving many calls for assistance from the Pensacola area which has suffered two hurricanes in what has turned out to be an extremely active hurricane season. Many people are still trying to recover from the 2004 hurricane season as well and the need is very great.

Please forward to MSA such funds as you feel appropriate to help our devastated Brethren and their families in this stricken jurisdiction. Please make checks payable to the MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send to 8120 Fenton Street, Ste. 203, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.

Bishop Ussher

A frequently asked question is why Masons use the dating A.L. adding 4,000 years to the current year. This question was also recently posed to Quator Coronati Lodge #2076. This was their response:

Can you tell me please who was Bishop Ussher and how he arrived at the year 4004 B.C. for the creation of the world?

James Ussher (1581-1656) was born in Dublin on 4 January 1581. In 1594 he matriculated at Trinity College Dublin and later became a fellow. He was ordained in 1601 although under canonical age, became Professor of Theological Controversies (1607-21) and Vice-Chancellor (1614-1617). He was appointed Bishop of Meath in 1621 and Archbishop of Armagh in 1625. He went to England in 1640, was appointed to the see of Carlisle in 1642, but moved to Oxford later the same year. From 1647 to 1654 he was preacher at Lincoln's Inn, London. He died in 1656 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

He was an eminent scholar, an expert in Semitic languages and he wrote many books of great learning. It is regrettable that today he is remembered mainly for the fact that he claimed the year 4004 B.C. as that in which our terrestrial globe was created, though in the Craft, we now add 4,000 not 4,004 to calculate the year Anno Lucis.

Being such an erudite person he obviously based his calculations on a careful study of the Bible but I know of no reference that will give you a precise explanation of his calculation.

Prayer of Approach

(Adapted from the 125th Anniversary Service, July 13, 1980)

Our Father and our God,
  we have come together this day to celebrate the years past
  and the heritage which is ours in this our Grand Lodge,
  and to peer expectantly beyond the horizon which is tomorrow.
Some of us come with fond memories of the past,
  wanting to be back in the good old days,
  when great accomplishments were achieved.
Some of us come rejoicing in the present,
  to be thankful for what we can be done now,
  not concerned about the past or the future.
Some of us come with a vision of tomorrow,
  to reach for the new and the startling,
  and to live only in that dimension.
Give to all of us, O Lord, a deep respect for the memories
  which hallow our Masonic craft.
We remember those whose labour have built our lodges
  into places of refuge and fellowship, of comfort and peace,
  of inspiration and enlightenment.
Enlarge our vision, O God, to look to tomorrow.
Give us always openness to the newness of our Masonic life
  and especially the teachings of the sacred writings.
Let us not be content with what we have done, can do,
  but rather,
  give us the courage to do what you would have us do.
Give us the enthusiasm that dares us to reach beyond our grasp -
  to dream, to hope, and to celebrate your presence.
And now, speak to us through the rest of this service,
  as we open ourselves to you,
  cautiously, expectantly, thankfully,
  anticipating the presence of your Spirit in our midst. AMEN

(This prayer was used in July 2005, at the Divine Service celebrating the 150th Anniversary of The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario)

What are Gauntlets"?

Gloves worn by Knights Templar; sometimes by Grand Masters. Often used in lodges of the Revolutionary period.

(Source: MSA Digest - Pocket Masonic Dictionary)

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