Each time I witness a new brother reciting the obligation of an Entered Apprentice for the first time, I am swept back to the night in January, 1978 when I first saw the light after repeating that very same obligation.  Most of the events of that evening remain a blur but several things were seared into my memory from that night.  The sharp implement, the intensity of Light for the first time, and the overwhelming array of symbols introduced during the lecture.  I recall moving from one important point or symbol to the next at a dizzying pace and leaving that evening thinking that the depth of meaning in that brief lecture was beyond comprehension.   Of that array of symbols that were presented that evening, the Rough and Perfect Ashlars were among the most memorable.  Our ritual provides a brief explanation that introduces the rough ashlar as the stone as taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state which represents each of us as we entered the doors of Freemasonry.  The perfect ashlar is that stone improved for the builder’s use and represents that state of perfection which we hope to arrive by virtue of an appropriate education.  This explanation provides a good explanation of what value these emblems have to offer.   Carl Claudy says “It is a poor symbol that has but one meaning.”  As I contemplate the ashlars, I am immediately impressed with how these emblems set forth the beginning and end of a journey that lasts a lifetime.  As an Entered Apprentice, like the rough ashlar, I have many areas where improvements could be made.  With the proper education in the use of the common gavel, the square to check my work, and the trestle board to keep track of my progress, my rough ashlar was able to shed a few of the vices and superfluities of life assisting me in taking one step toward that perfect ashlar that I aspire to emulate.   Our lodge is the best place to reconnect with the wonder and awe I recall from my first Light in Freemasonry.  It is the best place to share the Brotherhood we all sought when we entered the West Gate of Freemasonry.  It is the place where we can labor together in the quarries of Speculative Freemasonry to enlighten and improve ourselves.  Our Lodge officers are elected to offer opportunities for growth and instruction for new Masons and long time Masons alike.  Our obligation is to do our best to ask for opportunities for growth and to participate in the life of the Lodge to make it the kind of Lodge we are glad to attend and one we look forward to visiting each time there is a meeting.   See you in Lodge. Dan Hrinko, PM  

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