Category: Masonic Light

Master’s Message – January 2022

January 4th, 2022 by

Master’s Message

My Brother,

Mystics and Masons alike have long believed that true enlightenment can only be achieved through vigorous contemplation. One symbol that is often overlooked and should be given due contemplation is the corner-stone. The corner-stone is the foundation on which a building is believed to rest its weight on and therefore the most important stone in the entire edifice.

Of the various physical and spiritual properties this stone is to be composed firmness and durability would be the two primary characteristics. These stones are the building blocks upon which the workmen continue in their labor until the completion of the structure. It should be of no wonder why such an important idea is to be found in the first degree of Freemasonry.

Have you ever given thought as to why the corner-stone, and man as a neophyte into Masonry, is placed in the North East Corner? This aspirant for the Light in Masonry is placed their as a symbol of himself laying the foundation for the erection of his spiritual work. But this still does not answer the question as to why in the North East corner?

Every Mason is aware that the East is the source of Light, both literally and mystically; the Holy Bible makes reference to the ‘wise men of the east’. It was a common opinion held to the ancients that the first learning came from the east. Refer to the line from Bishop Barkeley “Westward the course of empires takes its way”.

The North as we refer it is the ‘place of darkness’ and Solomon’s Temple was so far north the rays of the sun could not shine upon it hence why no Masonic light is allowed to illuminate the northern part of the lodge. This should be plainly evident in the fact that no officer holds its place or station therein.

This should seem perfectly logical now as to why a candidate for Masonry is placed there upon his first entrance to our lodges. It represents his relationship to the Craft and to the world outside. He still bears some of the imperfections he carried with him, some of the darkness about him which is still a subject to the profane world of the North. Though he is aspiring for light, to put to work our tools and travel to the East, the place of light. Once he is raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason he can then be accepted to and be wholly in the East, until then he is ever part of both worlds.

The corner-stone having one face in the North and one face in the East suggests that it and ourselves as candidates are not entirely dark nor light but a combination of the two should remind us that without a solid physical foundation as mentioned above a structure surely will not stand, it should logically have the same effect on Man. Without a correct corner-stone our spiritual edifice will collapse.

Fraternally yours,

Michael S. Romano,
Worshipful Master


Master’s Message & From the East – December 2021

November 21st, 2021 by

Master’s Message

“Know thyself ” is one of the Delphic maxims inscribed above the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The Delphic maxims were said to have been given by the Oracle at Delphi and are attributed to the Greek god Apollo.

This maxim has appeared throughout history, in works from Greek playwright Aeschylus, philosophers Socrates and Plato, poets Alexander Pope and Ralph Waldo Emerson, writings by MW Benjamin Franklin, and adorns the Tyler’s chair at the Scottish Rite SMJ headquarters, the House of the Temple in Washington D.C.

Throughout history, this maxim (the invitation to self-examination) has evolved. According to Socrates, true wisdom is knowing what you do not know. Knowing yourself includes recognizing the limits of your own wisdom and understanding, and what you have yet to learn. Similarly, to Plato, knowing thyself is a matter of freeing yourself from ignorance and seeking the light of knowledge. In Alexander Pope’s poem ‘An Essay on Man: Epistle II’, Pope proposes that man should learn to look inward at themselves in an effort to learn about their own nature, power, limitations, and weakness, with the purpose of gathering knowledge about oneself as a step toward enlightenment. In 1750, MW Franklin wrote “[t]here are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”

As Masons, we strive for self-improvement, and honest introspection is an integral aspect of that pursuit. We must peer inward, strip away any preconceived expectations and honestly examine ourselves. Only then will one identify their limits and weaknesses, and be able to pursue the light and knowledge of self-improvement.

Fraternally,

Bryan S. Passione,
Worshipful Master

From the East

Brethren,

Dues notices for 2022 have been mailed and are due upon receipt. In the past year, many brothers have expressed displeasure with Grand Lodge’s desire to transition to a fully virtual blue card, and cease providing a physical blue card.

After the membership voted down legislation seeking to transition to virtual blue cards in 2020, Grand Lodge once again sought to pass similar legislation to strip members of their physical dues cards at the 2021 Grand Lodge Annual Communication. However, members spoke in opposition to the proposed legislation on blue cards at the Annual Communication and the legislation was amended on the floor. The amended verbiage was approved by the membership. Per the amended legislation, members will still have access to the virtual dues card through the Grand View platform, but Grand Lodge will also be obligated to provide blue cards to all members (not upon request or subject to Grand Lodge’s arbitrary determination).

During discussion on the legislation prior to voting, MW Monacelli confirmed that under the amended legislation, Grand Lodge will proactively send blue cards to the lodges, which will be consistent with how lodges have received blue cards in the past.

Brethren, your voice was heard in 2020 when the blue card legislation was defeated, and your voice was heard again in 2021 which resulted in the adoption of the amended legislation. Your vote matters!


Master’s Message & From the West – November 2021

November 12th, 2021 by

Master’s Message

My Brother,

Charity is an inseparable aspect of our great Fraternity. Together with “faith” and “hope”, we are encouraged to make charitable contributions to those who are in need as far as our ability to give permits. Charity is such an essential piece of our teachings, that it is the first lesson we are taught upon being initiated as an Entered Apprentice. The importance of charity is also reiterated in both the Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees.

Our lodge is extremely fortunate, we have a special Trust for the dedicated purpose of charity and Brotherly assistance. The August C. and Martha Schneider Trust affords our lodge the ability to contribute financially to charities in our community.

In early September, Hurricane Ida pummeled New Jersey with heavy rain and winds, and flooding in the state was unprecedented. Rahway, a low-lying city, was hit particularly hard. Many homes, roads, and buildings were damaged from flood waters and other natural forces, including several lodges throughout the state. Our lodge building was, fortunately, not severely damaged. Although, we did appear to have some slight water damage on the second floor.

Additionally, the Rahway Food For Friends Food Bank lost the majority of their stored food due to flooding. As we enter November and approach Thanksgiving, it is another opportunity to reflect on our good fortunes and assist those in needs. Working wit the elected Officers and Schneider Committee, I have asked the Schneider Committee to authorize a donation in the amount of $500.00 to be made to the Rahway Food For Friends Food Bank to assist them in restocking the food bank. This donation would be in addition to the two previous $500.00 donations the lodge made to the Food Bank in 2020.

The Schneider Charity Committee is comprised of members who are appointed by the Worshipful Master each year. I have had the privilege of serving on the Schneider Charity Committee several times, and it is one of the most fulfilling Committees to be involved with. Please contact me or our Secretary if you have an interest in serving on the Schneider Charity Committee in the future.

Fraternally,

Bryan S. Passione,
Worshipful Master

From the West

My Brothers,

I send you greetings from the West my Brothers. With Installation only several weeks away, I thought I may dispense a little light to you on this ancient practice, though I must first mention that such an event is not entirely unique to our Fraternity.

As I mentioned above, this ceremony is of ancient origin and not exclusive to Freemasonry. Cultures and societies of the past had such practices with the succession of new kings, priest, and other ruling or governing individuals. However though, these practices were often called ‘inaugurations’, a term still in use today, because they were overseen by the augurs.

As a Masonic ceremony, the Installation was founded early on in its creation. In Anderson’s Constitutions, a stylized form of “Constituting a Lodge” was performed in 1723 by Duke Wharton, who was Grand Master at the time.

This writing contains the ceremony of installing a new Master and Wardens of a Lodge which contains the words “Shall, in due form, install them.” This is perhaps the earliest known Masonic use of the word “install”.

So when you attend Lafayette Lodge’s Installation this year and those of other lodges throughout your Masonic life, I hope you let your mind slip back into antiquity and understand you are part of something great, historic, and treasured by many.

Fraternally yours,

Michael S. Romano,
Senior Warden


Master’s Message & From the West – October 2021

October 1st, 2021 by

Master’s Message

My Brother,

Mental health issues do not discriminate. In 2019, more that 47,500 Americans ended their own lives, and over 750 of those were in New Jersey. For ages 10 – 64, death by suicide is a top 10 cause of death in New Jersey.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), founded in 1987, is a voluntary health organization that aims to gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:

  • Funding scientific research
  • Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
  • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
  • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission

Mental health has been an issue prior to the pandemic but has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Mental health is still a taboo topic in a lot of communities, and any steps we can take to start (and continue) the conversation and remove the stigma are worthwhile endeavors.

While there is no single cause for suicide, there are risk factors and warning signs which may increase likelihood of an attempt. Join us at our Regular Communication on Friday, October 8th for a presentation from the AFSP that focuses on mental health, warning signs, and prevention methods. Learning this information can literally save lives.

Fraternally,

Bryan S. Passione,
Worshipful Master

From the West

My Brothers,

As we begin to prepare to close one Masonic year and begin anew I just wanted to say, as your Senior Warden, ‘thank you’. Thank you to everyone who helped your Lodge and your Brothers out during these most trying of times.

Freemasonry is defined different ways by many different Brothers but there is no denying that, at its heart, is Charity and Brotherly Love. The Brothers of Lafayette Lodge have always excelled at exemplifying those qualities and this was seen, in full grandeur, during 2020 and 2021.

It is my earnest desire that we do not become complacent as life, ever so slowly, goes back to the normal we once knew. The coming year will still provide many challenges to overcome and the Lodge and Brethren therein will continue to need your steadfast support.

In closing, I would like to congratulate WB Passione for a job well done. His leadership this year, combined with his wisdom to make the right decision, his love for Freemason, the Brethren, and Lafayette Lodge are every present and will carry on for years to come.

Fraternally yours,

Michael S. Romano,
Senior Warden


Master’s Message & From the Secretary’s Desk – September 2021

August 22nd, 2021 by

Master’s Message

My Brother,

Eighteen months from the start of the pandemic, the tide of the pandemic continues to ebb and flow, impacting lives around the world. At this point last year, many of us thought the worst of the pandemic would be behind us in 2021 and we would be resuming “life as normal.” Yet, here we are, in the second half of 2021 with cases and hospitalizations once again on the rise, many still working from home, events postponed or cancelled.

In my first Trestleboard message of this year, I expressed a desire to balance Masonic activities with a conservative and safe approach so we can ensure the safety of our Brethren. Luckily, at this point a vaccine is readily available for those who want to receive it. Therefore, steps can be taken to ensure we are better protected from the most serious risks of COVID-19. However, the vaccine is not 100% effective, and adoption of the vaccine has not reached (and likely will not reach) 100%, so COVID-19 remains especially dangerous for those with preexisting conditions and of advanced age.

Freemasonry continues to be an important part of all of our lives, and many of us have enjoyed being able to meet over the past few after restrictions were lifted, but Freemasonry is not more important than any single life. Yes, there are repeat sentiments from my February message, but it bears repeating. Holding and attending Masonic events increases the risks of contracting COVID-19 among the vaccinated and unvaccinated. As we progress through the rest of the 2021 Masonic year, I strongly encourage anyone who is uncomfortable attending events in person to stay home and stay safe. Lafayette Lodge has endured uninterrupted since 1854, your Lodge will still be here when the threat of COVID-19 passes.

Please put the health and safety of yourself and your family at the forefront. Balance the risks of attending events, and do not take unnecessary risks. Look out for the well-being of our Brethren. As Masons,it is our obligation to look out for our Brethren, to collectively aid and assist our Brethren (and their families) in need. This duty is imparted to us through multiple degrees, lectures, and Masonic lessons.

Fraternally,

Bryan S. Passione,
Worshipful Master

From the Secretary’s Desk

A reminder that some Brothers still owe 2021 Dues, please have the courtesy of notifying the Secretary of any issues of why they have not been paid. We are willing to work with you on getting these issues resolved.

Every month I receive a number of return letters due to Brothers traveling or moving. Please notify the Secretary if you are going to be away and especially if you have moved. An email is sufficient.

Fraternally yours,

RW Raymond Siecinski,
Secretary


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