Friday, February 08, 2008

A SHORT TREATISE ON HARMONY

Some two years ago, MW Hermogenes Ebadane Jr., (or is it another GM?) then the incumbent Grand Master, issued an edict authorizing the creation of a Harmony Officer in every lodge under the jurisdiction of the MW Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines. This short talk will not delve on the wisdom, or the lack of it, why the said office was created, as indeed the pros and cons of the said edict was not explained except that when disputes in the lodge arise, he who is elected automatically becomes the arbiter.

On a different note, this short talk will attempt to explain why Harmony is a tenet that is of paramount importance in our Fraternity.

Harmony is a dogma that is often hinted only in cryptic codes in our rituals. To the undiscerning multitude, this very important science is not even there, but to the adepts it stares at him squarely on his face. It’s much like the parables narrated by the Greatest Teacher of all time, to many it is as clear as mud, but to seekers of truth, it’s right in front of him.

The following observations may look intelligible when read at the start after the proper connections as will be explained later, it is hoped that it will be understood at least, by a serious few.. Consider these

I. THE RELEVANCE OF HARMONYAS EMBEDDED IN THE RITUALS

*** In the lecture of the first degree, it said:

“that when the building was completed (referring to King Solomon’s Temple) it had all the appearance of the handiwork the Supreme Architect of the Universe than that of human hands.”

*** In the lecture of the second degree, the seven liberal arts and sciences were made as basis of study for fellowcrafts. Interestingly, music is ranked 6th, a science that is of greater importance to Masons even more than Geometry. And should the listener (or reader) wonder why Music is treated as a science and not as an art as it is being classified today, it is worth mentioning that to the ancients, and that is, even up to the time of Julius Caesar, they have already classified these seven categories into TRIVIUM, composed of Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic, and QUADRIVIUM, grouping Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy in this category.

*** In the lecture of the third degree, it eloquently said:

“There were employed in its erection 3 Grand Masters, 3,300 masters or overseers of the work, 80,000 fellowcrafts or hewers in the mountains and in the quarries, and 70,000 entered apprentices or bearers of burden, and those were all so classed and classified by King Solomon that neither envy, discord nor confusion was suffered to interrupt the peace and good fellowship which prevailed among the workmen except on the one occasion etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”

***And finally, in the explanation of the trowel as the master mason’s working tool it said:

“for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection which unites us into one sacred bond, or society of friends and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best work and best agree”

II. BRIEF EXPLANATIONS ON THE RITUALS MENTIONED

In the operative sense, King Solomon’s Temple epitomizes not only the temple’s magnificence but also the wonder of her age. Symbolically, it represents the Temple where the rough ashlars were first perfected in accordance with the Divine Plan confirming to the specifications of “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Music, on the other hand, emphasizes the need for harmony of God’s children through the wise use of the tenets of brotherhood where charity, filial love and truth reign supreme. This can be amplified by listening to classical music that are harmoniously orchestrated by the musical conductors using their musicao batons that produce the melodious sounds created by musical geniuses like Mozart, Beethoven and modern-day Bach!

And the workmen of King Solomon’s Temple? Imagine 153,303 workers working in unison and their fellowship not disturbed except on that one occasion where all Masons have exemplified as the legendary Hiram Abif!!

III. INVOKNG THE AID OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE

Of interesting relevance is the role of the Chaplain of whatever degree when it alternately invokes two opening prayers that says::

*** “Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passions within us, so harmonize and enrich our hearts etcetera. Etcetera, and,

***”Wilt thou be pleased that this meeting, thus begun in order, may be conducted in peace and closed in Harmony.Amen.

III. THE CREATION OF THE HARMONY OFFICER

Curiously now, is the Harmony Officer an innovation or is it a redundant duplication of one that already exist but whose functions nobody knows, hence is often omitted to the chagrin of the installing officer during installation ceremonies because none was appointed? Who then, is it?

But of course, none but the Organist who is symbolically charged by the Installing Officer with the following eloquent phrase:

“It is your duty to preside at the organ at the opening and closing ceremonies, and other ceremonials at the lodge . May the delightful labors of your position impress more deeply upon the minds and hearts of your Brethren that HARMONY is as essential for the strength and beauty of our noble brotherhood as it is for the excellence of the art and science in which you so greatly excel.”

But how many lodges in our jurisdiction have bothered to install their own Organists??

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