A Contribution to Maine
Working on the Masonic Education and Lodge Services Committee (MEALS) is simultaneously heavy work and a great pleasure. Rarely are we given an opportunity to marshal all so much information in so useful a pursuit. Over the last few months we have been reviewing and updating the "Instructor's Manual." This monumental collection of documents aim to help candidate coaches prepare themselves with suggestions for topics, interpretations of the ritual, and background on our Order and the degrees themselves.
For the most part this task is one of consultation and criticism, only rarely are we able to put something new into the texts. While reviewing the Fellow Craft Instructors Manual I finally had the chance to contribute a bit of new material, which was a real pleasure. As we worked through this document, it was apparent that there was insufficient detail about the symbolism of the "ancient and original Orders in Architecture." The previous paragraph discusses the first three steps in the "flight of winding stairs" and then briefly mentions the Orders in Architecture without additional information. I composed the following additional paragraph, which was accepted by the committee:
There is a hidden message in the first eight steps of the Fellow Craft Degree. Reflecting life around us, our knowledge of the Craft builds upon itself. The first three steps remind us of the three principal officers, which we were taught in the Entered Apprentice Degree represent wisdom, strength, and beauty. The “ancient original orders in architecture” also represent these same three principles. The Ionic column depicts an opened scroll, the very source of learning for the ancients, and represents wisdom. The Doric column is simple and sturdy and thereby demonstrates the essentials of strength. Finally, the Corinthian column is enriched with intricate floral designs on its capital, showing to the entire world its great craftsmanship and beauty. The principal officers, and King Solomon, King Hiram and Hiram Abif, whom they represent, are always depicted with these columns to cement our understanding of these ideas and encourage their application to our lives.