En:The worshipful master
The worshipful master
Source: Masonic Vibes·
The principal officer of a Lodge is called the Worshipful Master and, as you are yet unfamiliar with the language of Masonry, this may sound strange, but as you progress in the Craft you learn that it is singularly accurate.
"Worshipful" means "worthy of honor" and as such the Master is entitled to the honor and respect of every member of his Lodge; "Master means that he is, in strict truth, The Master, not, as in so many other societies, only a presiding officer, but a controlling executive with many sovereign rights. As you progress in Masonry and devote yourself to serious study you will come to fully understand why this is so.
His powers and duties are, broadly:
- (1) to congregate his Lodge upon any emergency;
- (2) to summon its members;
- (3) to see that the duties of the officers are faithfully performed;
- (4) to discharge appointed officers for sufficient cause. But it is only when we begin to examine his office in detail that we discover the full scope of his powers and functions.
It is a prerogative of the Worshipful Master to convene his Lodge either for Stated Meetings, at times provided in the by-laws, or for Special Communications, which are called by him for special business. When the Lodge is convened he is to set it at work and to give its members proper instruction for their labor. It is not necessary for him to request or to persuade the Lodge members to do their duties; he may order them, and they are under obligation to obey him.
It is his prerogative to preside at the meetings of his Lodge. The only exception to this is when the Grand Master, or a representative officially appointed by him, takes the gavel of authority. Then the right of the Master is superseded for the time being. The Master may choose a brother to preside temporarily during his presence. The Master may not be denied his right to preside, nor may such power be taken from him so long as he holds office, except by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge.
When the Master is installed the Charter is given into his keeping and he is henceforth responsible for its custody and for transmitting it to his successor. A Lodge cannot be legally convened, opened, nor transact business unless its Charter is present. The Master determines what business, aside from routine, shall come before the Lodge, in what order, and the manner in which it shall be conducted. This is a more important responsibility than it may appear, because only certain kinds of business may legally be brought before a Lodge. The members may not always be familiar with Masonic law and hence may not know whether a given matter is Masonic business or not. It is for the Master to decide, and this power is a Lodge protection against possible violation of Masonic law. It is a duty of the Master to supervise all ritualistic work.
He should himself be able to take any part; he should be able to instruct and train others; and he should supervise the work as a whole to see that it is properly carried out according to the ritual recognized and authorized by the Grand Lodge.
Many matters of business or social functions may arise which do not fall within the province of any elective or appointive Lodge officer; to carry on such work, committees are necessary. Not the least of the Master's responsibilities is his power to appoint all committees.
Brethren in sickness or distress are the Master's particular charge. If he cannot visit all of them it is his duty to appoint others to do so, and in general to see that the Lodge properly discharges its duties to its unfortunates.
At this stage of your journey we do not expect you to carry all these details in your mind, but we hope that this presentation will impress on your memory the fact that the Master's is the most responsible office in Masonry, except that of Grand Master.
The Master is indeed master of his Lodge, its chief executive, its head, vested with great authority, entrusted with great powers. But there should be nothing arbitrary, nothing willful in his use of such powers and authority, because they are defined and regulated by law and by ancient custom. His duties are equal to his powers, and he must be a true Mason indeed to discharge them with credit to himself and honor to his Lodge. It is for this reason that his title is "Worshipful".