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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes October 2014  

'Due' Does Make A Difference To A Mason

The word, "due," shows up in a number of Masonic expressions, such as "due form" and "due guard."

Both express responsibilities of the officers and members of a Lodge and are admonishments as to their conduct.

According to Mackey's Encyclopedia, "due form" comes from the French expression, "en du forme," with the "du" coming from "devoir," or "to owe."  In subordinate Lodges, the officers and members "owe" it to their brothers to perform their actions properly and with attention to the established usages and customs.

The "due guard" is a mode of recognition referring to the act of duly guarding a member's obligations and in reminding him of a penalty should he violate such obligations.  Mackey reports that this expression is not found in English or continental Masonry, and is fairly recent within the Americas.

In a similar manner, "due examination" is a test procedure in correct form, as prescribed by Masonic laws.

In addition, "due" is associated with direction and indicates what is "proper."  When found on a map, "due east" is precisely east, with no variation north or south. 

Thus, the expectation imparted with the word "due," is a strict adherence and effort toward Truth and Light.

(Taken from a biweekly Masonic newsletter, edited by W.B. Lance Rommerdahl)

Maryland Recognizes Member Of Gang Of Eight

The Free State Freemason, the magazine of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, in its Spring, 2014 issue, featured an article written by Brother C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a U.S. Congressman from Maryland.

Brother Ruppersberger, now serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote, "I am pleased to say that now, my son, Cory, is also a Mason.  So now there are four proud generations of Ruppersberger-Masons."
Brother Dutch Ruppersberger is a "ranking member" of the Congressional Intelligence Committee, and therefore on the elite "Gang of Eight" – which includes the top four members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, along with the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, the Speaker of the House, and the House Minority Leader. By law, the President of the United States must keep the "Gang of Eight" informed of the country's most secret intelligence activities to maintain proper oversight.

In the article, he wrote, "Becoming a Mason helps men develop confidence, character, brotherhood, philanthropy, a respect for laws and even a sense of purpose.  I believe being a Mason has installed in me a deep desire to help people."

Minnesota Named Top Charity Group 

Each year, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) honors individuals and groups who, through their hard work and dedication, have enhanced philanthropy, their communities and the world.

This year, AFP Minnesota has recognized Minnesota Masonic Charities as 2014's Outstanding Philanthropic Organization, an award previously bestowed upon such notable organizations as Wells Fargo Foundation, Target, Cargill, and Thrivent Financial.

Minnesota Masonic Charities was nominated by the University of Minnesota Foundation, which has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the MMC, Masons and Eastern Stars.

Chosing A Vibrant Future?

Sometimes a quote or sentence just jumps out with meaning in a completely different context than written.

In The Washington Post Magazine (Sunday, August 24, 2014), a feature story told about a community with an historic past, but an uncertain future. A pastor in the community was quoted as saying that it is not that communities choose to die, "They choose not to live and take the steps to vibrancy."

Freemasons could well ponder how that thought can also be a description of a number of Lodges and related groups. Perhaps our leaders and members sometimes do not choose to fail, but often don't take the steps required to assure "a vibrant future."

Why Is Ritual Often Repetitious? 

Several "word pairs" in Masonic ritual make interesting studies, such as "duly and truly," "worthy and well-qualified," free will and accord," "parts and points," "hele and conceal."

At first glance, it may seem that these are so arranged only for emphasis.
In Middle Age English writing, especially in the 13th and 14th Centuries, when Freemasonry was in the process of formation, England had two languages.  One was Norman-French; the other Anglo-Saxon.  To make sure of understanding, word pairs were much in use -- a word of similar meaning being taken from each language.

The apparent redundancy or expression in a number of places in Masonic ritual may be traced back to these Middle Ages. The perpetuation of such usage now, when clarity of thought and understanding might be served as well with one word, is one of the many proofs that Freemasonry delights to embrace that which is  venerated and ancient."

(Taken from One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry, published by the Masonic Service Association of North America.)

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