by Frédéric-Pierre Isoz
translation Louise Thunin
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR, a Masonry rite), on which I am working in the Grand Lodge of France, has for its motto ordo ab chao, and thus we must specify that Freemasons are builders. Legends about Masonic rites do not hark back to Aristotle’s Lyceum or to the gods of Mount Olympus. Interpreting the narrative of the building of the Temple by King Solomon, the AASR offers elements of construction with which to build a spiritual temple, freeing us from the chains of the secular world.
A Freemason, working on his personal construction, gives priority, as soon as he is initiated, to the symbolic approach of John. Unique to John, this teaching gives the initiate the possibility to experience and assimilate, little by little, the rules of construction common to both individuals and humanity. Unveiling, in the framework of a progressive and spiritual method, allows each person to find his proper place. Spiritual elevation, if it is to reach its peak, could take place, according to the model, among others, of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, described in John’s book of Revelation.
This will to find plenitude and inner peace is expressed also in the desire for a perfect cathedral, a place within oneself that would grant asylum to the remembrance of the wind of Spirit: the initiate reveals his true nature, that of the only son—in the sense of unique—of a Great Architect, but who shares this quality with all his brothers. The construction is based then on a true understanding of initiatory brotherhood.
It would, perhaps, be easy to consider the initiate as living in two dimensions, one of verticality towards his innermost experience and a horizontal one of sharing, but behind that simple view, another reality makes itself apparent : the singularity of every person. We are unique and, at the same time, we are together. Our inner order demands our own construction and, at the same time, the construction of the world. This ordo is already present in the chaos of our worldy lives, but we need to unveil it and practice it.
I personally appreciate the term fabrication. Practicing a rite is self-fabrication. Self-knowledge, gradual and progressive, as inherited from the Greek Know thyself, is a constant spiritual exercise.
Ordo ab chao, the revelation of the order hidden in chaos, is a delicate craft, proceeding by slight touches, through difficult trials. The lovingkindness of the rite is always its goal, one of a united humanity, serving, transmitting and caring for Life. But this method hides nothing of the terrible realities that constantly obscure the light.
For this hidden order is close, so close to the light, that ˝the darkness has not overcome it˝, and it illuminates John’s Prologue. Spiritual life is the life in which we allow this light, that we seek and that we discover thanks to initiation, to illuminate our darkness and guide us. The logos, translated as the Word, is that order unfolding in the life that the initiate, John, shows us : a life that little by little introduces new rules, builds a new relationship among men, founds a community based on communion, a discipline of self-knowledge and of self-transcendance for the sake of others. A Life like that of a Man, a Man-logos, a Man-Life, an Initiate.
When we experience the order of life in this way, Light appears in the chaos of the world, : we all can elevate ourselves to participate in the illumination of the world, we all are called upon to make the necessary effort to remember that life is the light of mankind and that we must be born from above, that we must experience happily the blueprints of the Great Architect of the Universe, the Creative Prinicple, by becoming who we are, kights and servants of Life.