Our Crypt Preserves
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
You hate it when someone else knows something you don’t and doesn’t tell you what it is. When you were a kid, there was always someone who taunted you with “I know a secret”. As you progressed through the various Masonic Degrees and joined some of the Coordinate Bodies, you were intrigued by the mysteries of the lessons to be taught by the next ritual. Zabud thought he was no longer King Solomon’s friend because he hadn’t been told about a secret project.
But our Crypt does not exist to hide secrets. It was created to preserve them. Through the wisdom of King Solomon, what might have been lost through the failings of human nature was saved for the future to find them anew. As men, we are all too likely to lose sight of our high ideals and goals when they are obscured by the needs of the here and now that pull at us from all sides. In the words of a poster from my youth: when you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.
A long-running series of commercials for a particular credit card cites the price of several things you might need, and then touts the peace of mind their card brings. They praise the ability to acquire what you need when you need it as something that will give you a sense of calm that money cannot buy. While this is true in a materialistic sense, it takes more than that for a Mason to be content with where he is on life’s journey.
Masonry enriches your life, not your wallet. It teaches you moral principles that will enable you to improve yourself in Masonry, to paraphrase the EA catechism. The mysteries within the Secret Vault do not put a penny in your pocket, or bread on your table. But they make you a better person, a better man, a better Mason. They improve your value to everyone you meet, everyone you interact with. Even those people you never meet, but who are affected by your good deeds, will appreciate your actions.