As Masons, most will remember when we were initiated into our fraternal order.
We would probably agree that we were blown away with what we experienced and understood little, but we were told we were now Masons, being that of “Entered Apprentice only.” Then, came that labor of memory work. Memorizing answers to many questions. In my case it was of interest that my mind would change words heard, to words of my vocabulary that meant the same. But then I had to learn and use that part of my mind, and to discipline my mind to learn the “correct wording” of the answers. At first, I must admit, I thought I could never learn all that. But as the weeks and months went by, I realized, I was learning all of that. Recently I researched this subject and found the following:
“…the first degree of freemasonry, in all the rites, is that of entered apprentice.. In French, it is called ‘apprenti;’ in Spanish, ‘aprendiz;’ in Italian, ‘apprendente;’ and in German, ‘lehrling.’ In all of which the radical or root meaning of the word is a learner. Like the lesser mysteries of the ancient initiations, it is in freemasonry a preliminary degree, intended to prepare the candidate for the higher and fuller instructions of the succeeding degrees… …there is a still further recognition in what is there called "the apprentice charge," one item of which is, that ‘he shall keep council in all things spoken in lodge or chamber by any masons, fellows, or freemasons.’ This indicates they had close communion with members of the craft.… their degrees being considered only as preparatory to the greater initiation of the master's degree.
What did this teach me? First, that through the help of Masonry, and the brothers that labored to meet and teach me every week, I was able to accomplish the work at hand for each of these goals. This required commitment of both the Mason teaching, and also me, the Mason learning the work. It required interest, appreciation, time, perseverance, an attitude of not giving up, and believing in myself, and much more. Also, as time went by, I remember ‘putting things together,’ as I learned the ‘lessons’ of Masonry that started to benefit me personally. Secondly, I learned and realized I could do things now that before I thought I could not do. That was a big deal for me! It improved my own self confidence and it improved my ability to listen more attentively when others speak. It improved my trust in God and men. Many more things could be said, but in the end I truly enjoyed the process. As of now, I am still learning, still appreciating the fact that I am a Mason. I am sure I will make mistakes, but I will also learn to improve myself, for, after all, the purpose of Masonry is “Making Good Men Better.”
Sal Pacheco, Worshipful Master
The Guiding Light / Oct. 2015 7