Tidings from the West
Brethren, as we have practiced the Master Mason Degree through the month of April 2014, we have done so to become proficient in our ritual. Please allow me to share another “p” word with you, that of perfection. Perfection, what is it? To answer this question I draw liberally upon the writings of Dr. E. Otha Wingo, PPGL 38, FMLR.
Dr. Wingo had this to say. “Perfection means Excellence (“the highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence”). Perfection has a bad reputation; it does not mean flawless, but finished. It is not a destination, but a process. It means doing your very best. A related word from the same root is proficiency, which since 1544 has meant advancement in knowledge or skill, competence, expertise, mastery, or the quality of being well-qualified. The injunction “Be ye perfect” (te’leios, complete, Matt.5:48) refers to completing or putting the finishing touches on an action or goal.
We should strive toward perfection in our Lodges, from performing the ritual to educating our members, to having a dinner. We often hear in our Lodges the excuse that “nobody is perfect,” therefore it is ok if we don’t do the ritual perfectly. My response is that everyone can strive for perfection (learning) the ritual correctly and completely). The place for doing so is in private study and in continuing practice with those who will be working in the degree. Ritual workers may not be professionals, but the best ones are those who review their designated part of the ritual before the degree is conferred, then do their best in the degree….”
“We could well observe the words of notorious English satirist, Charles Churchill (1731-1764), who wrote the year before his death: “By different methods different men excel;/But where is he who can do all things well?” Or Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who in his Essay on Studies pointed out that we are “perfected by experience.” I mentioned private study of the ritual, because only when each person strives for perfection in learning his particular part will the ritual practice provide its best advantage. If every ritual worker learns his part perfectly in private, but never joins with others in practice, the finishing touch will not be achieved.”…
As Dr. Wingo admonishes us brothers, “Strive for Perfection, but until you achieve that goal, strive to do the ritual to the best of your ability, enjoy the work, and whatever you do, do it for the candidate. In your striving we should not allow perfection to be “the greatest enemy of the good” (Brother Voltaire, 1964-1778; “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien (The perfect is the enemy of the good).”
SW F.L. “Jim” Lee, Jr. , Senior Warden