Brethren,

Do you ever find yourself just overwhelmed or just thinking to yourself if there
were only a few more hours in the day, in the week, in the month. As Freemasons we always strive to improve ourselves. Well, if you’re like me maybe this article written by
Brother Michael Arce could offer you some light.

“Within each degree, the instruction on the Working Tools is one of the most
beautifully written parts of ritual. In the first degree the use of the 24-inch gauge continues to fascinate me. Every time I hear the breakdown of the twenty-four inches into
24 hours, further divided into 3 equal parts of 8 hours, which are to be allocated for
serving God, a worthy distressed Brother, our work, and refreshment and sleep — I always think, “How is that literally possible?” At some point in the history of our Craft
there must have been a time when men had time in their day to live like this, right?

Those words were created back when we didn’t sleep in one eight-hour chunk
but in two shorter periods, overnight. Dating back to medieval times two-piece sleeping as
it was called, was standard practice. Chaucer tells of a character in the Canterbury Tales
that goes to bed following her “first sleep.” And what did people do between their first
and second sleep? Everything from reading a book (most likely their Bible), talk, or go for
a walk in the countryside to visit with their neighbors.

Keep in mind this is back when time was kept by burning a candle. Your day began, literally, at daybreak and you were in bed by sundown. Dividing your time into three
equal parts wasn’t hard when your day was made up of eat, sleep, work, and repeat.
Church wasn’t just something you did on Sunday morning: it was your Sunday. Take away
my Netflix binging on Sunday afternoon when I finally get to watch TV for a few uninterrupted hours, and instead, give me a few hours every night between Midnight at 2AM for
reading and I would have that service to God box checked!

Fast forward to 2018
If I was to compare dividing my time to the Activity Rings on my Apple Watch, the large
ring would definitely be my work hours, the medium ring my sleep, and the smaller ring
the time invested in the service to God or my Brothers. I’m being very generous here with
my math. I pulled up a random day on my calendar this month… Wednesday, April 11th.
Workday for job #1 started at 8AM (up for work by 6:45AM). Work schedule has a couple conference calls, a meeting, lunch, and time at my desk to work on my daily task list.
End of workday for job #1 is at 4:30PM. Job #2 starts at 5PM and goes until 11PM. Home
by 11:30PM and in bed (hopefully) before Midnight.

My “Work” ring is dominating my life
And this isn’t just happening on Wednesday of last week, this is pretty much every weekday. The more I investigate the breakdown of my time, the only time I really dedicate to “Masonic” service are my nights at Lodge. Hmm. That’s like four hours a week.
I’m being literal on purpose because it’s impossible to literally divide your time into 8 hour
parts every day. It is also important to remember that the working tools of an EA are the
24-inch gauge AND the common gavel. One to divide your time, the other to clear your
life of distractions. That’s the important part of the Working Tools lesson: do you
examine how you spend your time? If your time is not prioritized, how can you fix the areas
that are lacking?

There is an advantage to living in 2018 versus 1518
Besides the warm shower to start my day or the fresh, brewed cup of coffee that is set to
go off at 7:15AM, I also have this little blue book that was given to me when I was raised as
a Master Mason that contains ALL of the standard work and lectures from the degrees I
took. I carry this little blue book to work to read during my lunch break or downtime. On my
drive to and from work I listen to my favorite masonic podcast (Whence Came You?) to get
my weekly dose of masonic education and discussion. I also have a cell phone in my pocket
and strapped to my wrist as a watch, which allows me to text or call my Brothers throughout the day. It might seem trivial but when I ask them how their day is going or converse
with them about their daily dilemma, isn’t that service to a distressed worthy Brother?
When I re-evaluate my day through the lens of present day, yes, work still dominates my
life (for now) but I can “steal” a few hours here and there to meet my masonic obligations.
Instead of literally dividing my time into 3 “start/stop” parts I use a combined/running
clock. Really what depresses me now is the fact that my sleep circle is pretty much nonexistent. Until I start taking naps under my desk or retire, I don’t see how I’m going to
catch up in that area. Perhaps that’s why we call them the “Working Tools.!”–
 
Michael Mattes
WM Mozart Lodge #121
Vice President of the 18th District Masters and Wardens Association
 

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Welcome to the official website of Mozart Lodge #121 of Free & Accepted Masons. Founded in 1871 & chartered in 1872, Mozart Lodge #121 has since served as a home for Free & Accepted Masons in the Camden County area. Freemasonry offers much to its members: the opportunity to grow; the chance to make a difference; to build a better world for ourselves and our children; to practice universal benevolence. It offers a chance to work with men who share the same values and ideals. Join the largest & oldest fraternity of like minded men, whose mission is to become better men, while better serving our families & community. Please explore our website & email us with any comments or questions.

Messages from the East.

Hiram

The prayer during the circumambulation of the lodge is a really extraordinary piece. It is very deep in it’s symbology. When you read or hear the piece it makes you wonder, What are the grinders? How are they few? What are the doors shut in the streets. The entire prayer deals in aging and preparing yourself for the inevitable day of our passing. The grinders cease because they are few, refers to our teeth as we age our teeth. It fully describes the change in not only our bodies but in our psyche. How fears shall over take us, and at times cripple us. Our cere- monies really can be a very beautiful. Look to the deeper meaning written within them. Treasures hidden in plain sight.

Michael Mattes
Mozart Lodge #121
Worshipful Master 2020

2020 Installation

Upcoming Events

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Monday September 12, 2022

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Tuesday September 27, 2022