Consideration of the Working Tools of Entered Apprentice
Greetings, my Brothers. I greet you from the South, a fitting place to begin these musings. Quite some time ago, I had decided that I needed to share my particular views about the working tools that we are all given when we first clothe and present ourselves as Entered Apprentices. This was a direct result of what was considered by many to be my … overzealous assumption of what constituted proficiency. As many of the brethren who know me well will attest, I hold none to the standard I set for myself. I had often mentioned to one of the Masters who presided over my own initiation, passing and raising that I had still considered myself an Entered Apprentice
as, to me, I had not yet shown suitable proficiency in the use of the working tools, thereof. Here, it is some years later, and I can, finally, and truthfully, declare, that I am now proficient in their use, to a level I consider to be suitable. It begins with a self-realization, and ends with this address, through which I
hope to convey my own thoughts of these tools of the operative mason’s craft, and the more noble and glorious purposes to which we are taught to employ them.
I came to the realization that I have become more inclined to use metaphor to convey, to the end-users, so that they may fully comprehend, the more complicated technical issues that I encounter in working on their systems. In addition, it had become readily apparent that my skill in so doing has become rather adept. I give full credit to these changes in nature to my own practice of assisting the lodges with which I work with the delivery of the historical lectures. Note I say “credit.” Clear and concise communication is a benefit for all of society, particularly for those in my field. How such a realization would apply to the tools at hand may seem obscure, to some, but I assure you, it is a
fairly straightforward path, one that heads west. As Entered Apprentices, our masters presented us with our working tools, and instructed us as to the more noble and glorious purpose that we are to use them. One tool is to measure, and the other to shape. What could be simpler, no? No. The tools are used in conjunction and require careful inspection for their use. To measure, one must inspect what is being measured, and one must carefully inspect and delineate the rough surfaces, to determine precisely where to the land the blow or blows to achieve the desired shape. I came to my realization because I am constantly inspecting the ashlar with which I have to work.
I made my comments, originally, regarding my own proficiency or lack thereof at a time when I was commuting to the city on a daily basis. This added 4 to 5 hours to my already overworked schedule. I was given justification that since I spent the majority of my time studying ritual while on the train, I could measure that time as service to the GAOTU, and did so, but I had a further problem. I worked hard, and played hard. I knew deep-down that I not only overran my vocation allotment, but
overran that of my refreshment, as well. I strove to bring that under control, but realized that in doing so, I was alienating my family, to a degree, as not all playtime was for me. I made an adjustment, and repositioned the gavel. I had learned that being a proper husband and father is also part of the divine plan, and
corrected my earlier measurement. Though perhaps I don’t have as much time to serve outside the lodge room, I do what I can in and among them, and through my work with my church so I, at least, am acceptable of my current layout, if not fully content. Make no mistake, my brothers! The gauge is a dangerous tool. Though the gavel might deliver the blow, it is the gauge that is used to determine where. Human nature is such that it is often difficult for us to take an objective look at our own selves. I liken this to asking Velma, of Scooby-Doo fame, to mark the right spot, AFTER she’s lost her glasses. Like all other things,
and as I tell everyone regarding my delivery of the lectures, it takes time and practice. Using the tools, as instructed, after all, is what enabled me to find the time to prepare this address, thus
lending my own personal views that they may aid you, my Brethren, in your own endeavors in aiding in the construction of that house, not made of hands, as we all leave the west in search of light.
The astute among you may have noticed that I earlier mentioned that I was acceptable of my “current layout.” I do not say have, in deed, achieved a balance of life whereby are found three equal parts. I do not know that I will ever achieve such. I will consistently strive to do so, however, as I can see the Wisdom of the design, even if I have not the Strength to execute it properly. In addition, I am sure that there are some that may gaze upon my ashlar and feel that it is misshapen, and believe that the gavel should fall in other places. This, however, does not concern me, as I am shaping this particular ashlar by the light I have found, as I there (gesture to Great Light) have found it. I can only counsel they do the same. It is also by that light, however, that I have come to see that though I may not have found the three equal parts, in seeing such, I have proven that I have, in deed, made suitable proficiency in the use of the tools I have been given, tools that have enabled me to give this address before you now. After all, being proficient in the use of a tool does not imply that the work is finished, merely that it may begin properly. I would like to thank all the brethren here present for taking the time to bear witness to these considerations of mine. I am honored by the courtesy extended to me by the Lodge, through the Worshipful Master. Much as I am grateful for every opportunity I am presented with to deliver a historical lecture, as it helps focus my mind toward those ideals that lay the foundation of our Institution, I am equally so for this. I especially would like to thank those Brothers who may decide to join me on this perhaps newly illuminated path. If we are Free
in the honest measure of ourselves, have fervency in our use of the gavel, and are zealous in their practice, I am certain we will master these tools. Thank you.
W John Scapaticci
Dongan Patent Lodge No. 1134 F & A M
Grand Lodge of New York
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