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Article # 171
Working Tools

Author: W.Bro.Stephen M. Osborn    Posted on: Sunday, September 25, 2005
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Working Tools by Steve Osborn 32

Working Tools
Steve Osborn 32° Scottish Rite Mason

[ Freemasons, not being operative, but free and accepted or speculative are enjoined to apply the Working Tools to their morals. The learned author, in this short article mainly written for The Scottish Rite Journal has indicated that we are all self acting tools of the G.A.O.T.U. It is a concept found in the Vedas and the scriptures. This erudite article, we are sure will stimulate us to contemplate on the Symbolism of the Working Tools]

  SINCE that evening we first stood in the Northeast corner of the Lodge, we have been presented with many working tools, from the 24-inch gauge and common gavel to the instruments that help us to understand ourselves and  the universe. We have heard many lectures on them and their uses, but how much thought do we give to them?

How many of us, for instance, have watched a sculptor at work and compared his labor to Freemasonry? The sculptor takes a piece of wood or a block of stone and studies it. Finally, he finds the key to release the beauty in it and he begins to work. He starts out with crude tools, an axe and an adz, or a coarse stone-splitting chisel and mallet and begins trimming away big chunks, pausing every once in a while to consider, then continuing to hew and chip. Eventually, a blocky form begins to emerge.

Then he begins to use finer tools, knives, chisels, and mallets with a lighter touch. The final form begins to emerge more clearly. The sculptor now works more slowly and carefully. As the figure becomes more distinct, he picks yet finer tools.

Finally, the sculptor steps back, and before him is the figure which, at the outset, only he could see, but it is now revealed to all. To the sculptor, it  may be no great feat, but to us, it is akin to magic. Leonardo da Vinci is reputed to have answered the question as to how he carved a particular piece from a block of marble with these words: “I simply removed all of the stone that doesn’t look like an elephant.” Simple for him, nearly impossible for us.

We are, to a great degree, the tools in the hands of the Grand Architect of the Universe, but we are self-acting tools. Thus, we have more responsibility. We receive direction from our Masonic teachings, our readings, our rituals, but it is up to us to perfect the rough ashlars, which are ourselves. We must keep ourselves sharp and learn to strike true. We must recognize what is superfluous and what is part of the sculpture. How many apprentices have spoiled a block of marble by a wrong blow? We must learn to be guided by the plan of the Creator as we shape ourselves  and our world to fit into that perfect edifice, not made by hands.



The learned author is the W.M. of Camanio Lodge No. 19 . He is a member of Garfield Lodge No. 41, Walter F. Meier Lodge of Research No. 281 and Esoterika U. D. all of the G. L. of Washington, a 32° Scottish Rite Mason, Valley of Everett, Orient of Washington, of the AASR Southern Jurisdiction and a member of the Knights of St. Andrew, a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society, the Philalethes Society, the Southern California Research Lodge and Lodge Journeyman Online 2002. As a prolific writer, he has contributed many articles for the Scottish Rite Journal and the Washington Masonic Tribune. We thank the learned author for forwarding this article along with his permission to post this article in our website.

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