The Personal Spiritual Journey.
You must do the travelling yourself. In the supplication the words” that you may the better unfold” are significant. Indeed, you are told that the initiation ceremony is but the foundation on which you must build your own superstructure perfect in its parts and honourable to the shipwright. You are qualified by a general desire for knowledge, and by a sincere wish founded on worthy motives to be ranked among the members, and you have been well and worthily recommended as a fit man (woman) to participate in the richness of The Mystical Court experience… but the task of attaining to that richness and fullness of life, is left almost entirely with you.
The Mystical Court will assist you, but the effort remains as an individual one.
So we find in the ritual, instructions which are the last word in directness. The new brother or sister is left in no doubt whatever, as to how the effort is to be made. You cannot at the end of any ceremony feel bewildered as to what is expected of you. The demands on your effort are unmistakable, direct and final. They are unequivocal.
First and foremost you are to use the Sacred Book not keep it as an ornament. You must regulate your actions by its divine precepts. Thus you can always know whether your effort to become rich, is proceeding according to the plan of unerring truth and justice. You are not told to understand or contemplate the moral, social, civic and domestic virtues, but actively to practice them.
So strong are the instructions that at one point you are told to be exemplary in the discharge of your duties…not merely faithfully obedient, but so active in interpreting the spirit of the law, that your conduct besides being correct is an example to others. You must keep your emotional life under control by following rigorously a prudent and well-regulated course of discipline, such as to preserve your mental and physical faculties in their fullest energies so that he can exert the talents with which you have been blessed.
Brethren must keep within the length of his cable tow (Will explain in another lesson) by making quite sure that none of his actions overstep the boundaries set down by the four cardinal virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice. You is to value education for your own sake….as a polish or adornment to the life of the spirit enabling him to delve more deeply into the hidden stores of rich and happy human experience. He is to study such of the liberal arts and sciences as fall within the compass of his attainments.
And so, one might go on showing, not only from the first (Entered Commanding Officer Degree), but also from the second and third degrees (Assistant Commanding Officer’s and Vice Commandficer’s Degrees), examples of plain demands made by the Ship on a brother who would attain the great and valuable privilege of true Mystical living.
So many and so great are the efforts demanded that even in the first degree a man might be pardoned for thinking that the task set is beyond him. Were we gifted with a mortal life seven times the allotted span of three score and ten, we could never measure up to the Masonic ideal.
Herein lies the great strength of Thr Mystical Court. The possibilities are unlimited. It is for each one of us to decide how far he will make his own the treasures of character which The Mystical Court offers us. We enter the Ship of our own free will and accord, as free men and women, and we remain free.
At no time does The Mystical Court reduce us to servitude to an organization. The exercise of free will is never taken from us. Each must decide for himself how great his effort will be, but each must also realize that his attainment will always be commensurate with his effort.
In the last analysis it is to the Great Architect that we must measure up. The quantitative results of our earthly striving will remain behind. We cannot take them with us. We shall stand in the The Mystical Court above still in a state of helpless indigence, but we shall take with us the qualitative result of our earthly striving. As the spirit has grown, so will it stand for judgement. He will be a happy Sailor who, on rendering an account of his stewardship in the The Mystical Court above, receives that highest of all commendations,
“Well done, true and faithful servant.”