News From The Ninth Arch

What\’s Your Talent?

What\’s Your Talent?
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey

What\’s Your Talent?
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\’If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.\’ -Dolly Parton

My Companion:

Yes, that Dolly Parton: the one known for her big hair, her big voice, and her big ….business. Born the fourth out of twelve children of a Tennessee tobacco farmer, she is now the head of a multi-media corporation. There’s her singing career, her acting career, Dollywood, directing, producing…you name it, she’s done it. She also has set up philanthropies ranging from hospitals to books for children. She has used her talents to show others what they can do to help those with less. What a perfect example of what a Mason should be.

Years ago, I read a science fiction story whose premise was that everyone had some magic trick that they could perform. The trick, which was real, not just sleight-of-hand, was hidden from the performer; only by constantly trying different things could he learn what the trick might be. And not everyone knew that something special existed within them. Only when someone who knew their own secret told them about it and proved it to them could they begin to search for their own hidden talent.

You too have at least one hidden talent. Your talent might be a good memory so that you can help with the ritual work. It could be the ability to make things so that the conferrals will be visually impressive and the Assembly instructive to your Companions. It could be your ability to raise money, to support your Council’s charities and the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation. You will never know what that talent is unless you try to find it and use it.

It could also be that you are an inspiration to others. Your knowledge of Masonry in general, and Cryptic Masonry in particular, and your willingness to share it without reserve, can lead others to look beyond the form of our rituals and its trappings to see the lessons within them. Perhaps if you are shown the one item that someone else already knows, you will be inspired to look from something within the ritual that you can share. Dolly’s quote paraphrased John Quincy Adams; who was inspired by his father, John Adams. Who knows how far back to look for inspiration?

And having looked within the allegory and symbols of Masonry, you will then look within yourself for the secrets that lie within the crypt that is your heart. It was there that you were first made a Mason. It is in that faithful repository that the secrets of Freemasonry are safely lodged. But that repository should never be locked to a Companion. While the secrets of a Brother must be kept from prying eyes, the knowledge of our Craft is best shared. Like seeds in a field or garden, nothing will grow if the seeds are not spread on the fertile soil, fed and watered, weeded and tended. Then the harvest will be fruitful, and the new seeds can be sown again.

Grow the knowledge, to feed those who are starved for it.

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