J. Sumulong Mem. No. 169
Mandaluyong City No. 277
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OUR MASONIC APRON
by Bro. B.J. Torres PAGS(147), Researcher/Compiler
Posted on July 2006 Issue No. 5 of RIVER DELTA
Our Monitor informs us that the lambskin apron is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, because the lamb in all ages has been deemed an emblem of innocence. It also implies Purity and Honor.
The use of the apron is extremely old, as with the operative masons as a protection of clothing and body against tools and stones but as a badge of distinction. As a badge of antiquity, the apron puts emphasis on the value of the past, and its contribution to the present and future happiness of man.
As a badge of distinction it was used by the priests of Israel, by candidates for the Misteries of Mithras in Persia, by the ancient Japanese in religious worships and Egypt and Ethiopia also knew the apron. In all times and climes it has been a badge of honor and it is as such that Masons wear it, for he who wears the lambskin apron is continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.
The Masonic apron, significantly is the "first gift" which the aspirant receives, one of the first symbols in which he is taught, and hence been appropriately termed as "badge of a Mason". The reward is done through the Rite of Investiture, one of the several ritualistic symbolism of the Craft, which is now referred to in common language as the ceremony of clothing.
Some earlier Masonic books picture ancient aprons as one piece, wider in the lower or bottom part, and gradually narrowed in the upper part, with a cord attached to it to tie it around the neck, and another two cords in the middle with which it could be girded around the waist. With the advent of time, the design intentionally or not changed gradually, until the present time with the apron having two geometrical figures, a triangle on the top and a square for the bottom.
Most Lodges at present, for obvious reasons, make use of white linen to represent the lambskin apron, but its multitude significance esoterically remain, due mostly to the geometrical figures, the triangle and the square, and two cords in the middle to gird it around the waist. With such a design, whether intentional or by Devine intervention is rich with significant symbolism.
The top as equilateral triangle symbolizes the Kingship of GOD to our lives, that we must govern the one wearing the apron as symbolized by the perfect square underneath the equilateral triangle and the Supreme Architect being considered as the Master of one's conduct to attain moral life.
The two cords are symbols of Faith and Love which bind mankind into brotherhood which cannot be broken, similar to the symbolism of the Cable tow.
The top as an equilateral triangle has three equal sides significantly emblematic of the Three Principal Tenets of Freemasonry. Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth; while the Three Corners or Angles symbolically refer to the Three Great Pillars denominated Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, it being necessary that there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings.
The main body of the apron which is the Perfect Square with its four corners or right angles represent the foundation of morality which are Purity, Truth, Honesty and Sincerity. The four equal sides on the otherhand represent the Four Cardinal Virtues, that Masons may have Temperance in words and deeds; Fortitude in a noble purpose; Prudence in judging wisely; and Justice to the humblest and the greatest alike.
The two cords representing Faith and Love, when tied around the waist of the one wearing it, form a Circle to symbolize the Spirit of GOD. Because a Circle appropriately is a symbol of GOD because He is a Circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. A Circle has no beginning nor ending to symbolizing GOD's omnipresence (all powerful), omniscience (ever knowledgeable), and infinite (no ending). Thus the Circle teaches all these things to remind Masons wearing the apron of the ever-living GOD in his daily life.
All Masons, therefore, should always be wearing his spiritual apron when outside the Lodge to remind them of the noble teachings the Fraternity that they may never err in their daily life.
The Masonic apron derives its significance, originally from two sources - from its color and its material. Since the material is no commonly available, the linen apron has been accepted, buth with the color which should be "unspotted white".
It is not proper, therefore, to have the number or even the name of the Lodge printed on the apron. And at times, during district conventions, said affair is also printed on the apron. This practice should be stopped so as not to destroy its significance.
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