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The Worshipful Master
THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER'S HANDBOOK
Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M. of the District of Columbia
(Selections from The Master's Book, by Carl H. Claudy, P.G.M.)
The greatest honor comes to any brother with his elevation to the Oriental Chair of a Masonic Lodge. A Master is not only a leader of his Lodge, but a member of Grand Lodge, in which supreme body he represents his Lodge. To be Master of a Lodge is quite different from being president of a club or society. The Master is called upon to decide questions of law and practice which he cannot leave to his brethren; the honor of leadership carries also the responsibility.
The Master's first duty to his Lodge is to lead it to success and prosperity. This requires a combination of diplomat, financier, advisor, councilor, friend, critic, and executive. A Master's paramount duty is to preserve peace and harmony, a matter for which no specific instruction can be given. The Master whose rule is just and fair, whether it favors his own conviction or the opponents of his ideal, will gain respect and support even from those who do not agree with him.
A Master's duties to his members - including candidates - are specifically to open on time, to plan interesting meetings, to provide dignified degree work, to preserve order and harmony, and to promote brotherly love. Brethren who know the gavel will fall at a specified hour soon get into the habit of arriving on time. An early closing means much to many brethren who wish to go home to read or retire.
Masters of Lodges which pride themselves on beautiful degree work have an easy time. No ceremony of any kind can be done without rehearsals.
The first principle for successful presiding is to use authority without any one being conscious of it! The Masonic gavel in the hands of the Master is all powerful. Brethren must - and with practically no exceptions always do - obey its mandate. Because of the power of the gavel the good Master uses it sparingly.
Nothing succeeds from the East like a smile. Effective smiles come from a smiling heart. The act of presiding successfully has its foundation in sympathy and cornerstone in good nature and tolerance.
The Ideal Master
The ideal Master counts not his personal pleasures, his social engagements, his hours of rest, recreation, aye, even his sleep, when his Lodge calls.
The ideal Master carries a watch and uses it.
The ideal Master is guide, philosopher and friend.
The ideal Master keeps constantly before him the need for seeing his problems through a tolerant smile of understanding.
The ideal Master is enthusiastic about his work, and prayerfully conscious of his limitations; hence, he is quick to seek counsel and advice, and is slow to take it until he has thought it through.
The ideal Master is eager for suggestions, but does not follow those which seem to him unwise, no matter how important the brother who makes them.
The ideal Master is an ideal Mason. Masonry is part of him, as he is part of Masonry. With all his heart and soul and strength he strives to live the Masonic life that all brethren may see that here is no mere figurehead, but a vital force.
"Happy the Master who lays down his gavel at the end of his year knowing he has done all that in him lies; mortal man may do not more."
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Last modified: March 22, 2014