Note from Mike: This is part of a continuing story of Jack as he learns to Become Masonry. See previous blog posts to catch up.
Jack was running a little late but managed to get to his Lodge’s parking lot just as John was pulling in. Jack had been looking forward to tonight and learning more about Masonry from the EA ritual. In the last two weeks he had been trying to read the strange words and had managed to decipher the more common ones but was still a long way off. He knew John would take care of that tonight.
“Hey Jack, good to see you,” John said as he approached Jack’s car, “Any more strange comments from your boss?”
“No, not really, He’s been absorbed in looking his best the last couple of weeks; annual evaluations are coming up.”
“Oh is that right? Does this include yours as well?”
“Yes it does.”
“Let’s talk about that later. We need to get you started on learning your EA exam first.”
Jack and John found a quiet place inside the Lodge building and John began reading the EA examination ritual to Jack. He read a page and then Jack repeated. John continued through the book in that manner until they reached the end. He then had Jack begin reading from the beginning and when Jack got stuck he prompted him. By the end of the 45 minutes they had allotted, Jack was beginning to catch on and was doing well on his own.
“Well Jack do you have any questions?”
“Yeah, what’s the Lodge of the Holy Saint John of Jerusalem?”
“Good question and one that a lot of Masons don’t even bother to ask.” John continued, “The Masonic tradition is that the primitive or Mother Lodge was held at Jerusalem, and dedicated to Saint John, first the Baptist, then the Evangelist, and finally to both. Hence this Lodge was called “The Lodge of the Holy Saint John of Jerusalem. This is the Lodge, according to tradition, from which all Lodges have descended.”
“Is there anything else from the degree or the exam you have a question about Jack?
“Well, I don’t know. I guess it’s all pretty new and I’ll have to think about it. I’m sure I’ll have some questions as time goes on.”
“Jack I want to make sure that you understand the importance of the working tools of an Entered Apprentice. Do you remember what they are?”
“No, I don’t think I do,” replied Jack.
“Turn to the next to last page in your examination ritual and read it again.”
Jack found the page and the line where the tools were described. He thought a minute and finally remembered what was said when they were introduced to him during the degree. John purposely waited a few minutes; he knew Jack was thinking.
Finally John said, “Jack, can you think of some ways these tools can be useful to you?”
“Well, I suppose so, but nothing jumps to mind immediately.”
“Let me ask you a question then. How do you keep track of all your activities in life and how do you decide what things should be priorities?”
“I guess I really never thought about it. There are things that just have to be done. You know, like work, pay the bills, and stuff like that. Other things I guess just happen when they happen.”
John could see Jack was starting to get confused so he said, “Jack the first tool of an EA is reminding us that there are priorities in life. The degree outlines some basic responsibilities and some basic divisions of our time, but intends that each of us should fill in the details. We should each think about what is important and then devise a plan to ensure these important items are given priority. By doing so, we have outlined a plan to live our life in a manner that strives to reflect the values of Masonry and honors our god, our family, and ourselves.”
“What about the second tool?” Jack asked.
“Well to me it is there to remind us that once we have determined our priorities, we should constantly find ways to improve ourselves so we can accomplish our life plan. Remember when we first met you told me you had some dreams for your life; the second tool is there to shape you so you will continually work to realize your dreams.”
“Wow, that’s pretty powerful John, I didn’t know Masonry would do that.”
“It’s almost time for Lodge to start so I want to leave you with this thought. You mentioned your annual review at work is coming up. How powerful would it be if during that review, you outlined to your boss your plan to achieve your dreams? I think you would truly impress him and I want you to do that. The working tools in the EA degree are there to be used. Use them Jack.”
On the drive home after Lodge Jack could only think about John’s final words about using the tools of Masonry. Once home he pulled out his laptop and begin to write.
Next: Jack’s annual review.