Friday, September 18, 2009

Why the York Rite?????

The following was taken from an email forwarded to me my PGM Charles Cathey.

Ray Hayward PM, KCT, HRAKTP
(Copied from the Spring 2009 Minnesota Supplement, Harland L. Thomesen, Editor)

If I were asked why anyone should join the York Rite, one of my first answers would be that anyone who has joined a Blue Lodge in practically anywhere in America, is already a York Rife Mason and can continue the journey. I would tell them that the oldest and most accepted version of the Lost Master's Word" is revealed in the York Rite where future ages found out the right,
Many parts of the dialogue between the second ruffian and Hiram, and between King Solomon and the craftsman all become: clear in the later York Rite degrees: I would tell them that the York Rite is the template for all degrees that have been added or rewritten in the last 200 years. I would say that the York Rite degrees engage all five senses as well as the spirit, intuition, and emotions, instead of just the eye and intellect.
I would tell them that the York Rite follows a. basic Biblical sequence with the degrees imparting lessons from various books of the Bible. The three degrees of, the Blue Lodge, the four degrees of the Royal Arch Chapter; the three degrees of the Cryptic Council, and the first Order in the Commandery, the Order of the Red Cross follow the Old Testament. Beginning with the Order of Malta and concluding with the Order of the Temple, (Knight Templar degree), the Commandery ritual follows the New Testament. Even though the fundamental York Rite ritual ends with the New Testament, I would tell them there is no graduation or end to Masonic learning. In every degree after the Master Mason degree, a York Rite candidate continually seeks further Light because there is no end to Light. No finishing schools exist where you get to the end of Light and seek no more.
I would also put to rest the most questioned and confusing part of the York Rite, the Commandery, with its Christian overtones. There are many applications of the teachings of Christianity, some of the most well-known being Roman Cat holicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and the various Evangelical movements. I would say that the Commandery and its chivalric ritual, is a uniquely Masonic application of these teachings, just as the Blue Lodge is a Masonic application of the teachings of Judaism.
I would say that the appended and invitational bodies in the York Rite are some of the most interesting and educational. These York Rite bodies preserve many or the traditions and history its all of Freemasonry. The Allied Masonic Degrees in which members study and confer some of the ancient degrees that have fallen out of usage. I would mention that the York Rite College degree shows the intimate connection between King Athelstan of York, England and the Masons who built York Cathedral. York is also the home of the ancient brethren who wrote the Regius Manuscript, which is the oldest Masonic document in Freemasonry. The Knight Masons "Green Degrees" are some of the oldest, unchanged, degrees in America. Many people know that there is a 33' degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. Few people know that the York Rite has a 33' degree, that of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest, which is the 33' degree, and name, of the invitational body that confers that high honor.
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then I would: say the York Rite deserves the highest praise. Not only have its degrees been imitated, rewritten, and sampled, they have been outright-copied cherry-picked, and plundered by Masons and non- Masons alike. Some of the best parts of the York Rite degrees have been taken and inserted into many other newer degrees. It is invaluable to see the York Rite degrees in their entirety, using the original arid traditional form, imparting the light and wisdom preserved arid worked by numerous generations of York Rite Masons.
I would say that although a gift is more important than the package, if an engagement ring was given in a plastic bag ; it would not have the same dramatic effect as one given in the traditional black velvet box. Indeed, the lessons in York Rite ritual are more powerful when taken in context.
I like to point out to questioners that the York Rite is really Scottish, the Scottish trite is mostly French. The York Rite, more than any other Rite, really deserves to be called the American Rite. Using good old-fashioned American ingenuity, the York Rite has, catalogued the best from European Freemasonry and made it truly an American institution. And I would add that the various bodies in the York Rite each have their own charity which they fund and support, in addition to educational and research programs.
The most important point that I could share when asked as to why someone should join York Rite Masonry is simply this: after a Master Mason has been exalted to the sublime degree of Royal Arch, passed through the circle of perfection of a Select Master, and dubbed a Knight Templar, he has found the York Rite to he the best Masonic Rite for himself as an individual. Indeed "he, who tastes, knows"
Because a Mason feels an affinity for the York Rite from their own personal journey of light, not from someone else's evangelizing or pressure.
This is the best reason to join, support, maintain, promote, and be, active as a member of the York Rite.

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