The Grand Master and the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.
Brethren, the Queen and the Craft.
Love to ONE, friendship to a FEW, and good will to ALL.
May ev'ry Mason RISE in the EAST, find refreshment in the SOUTH, and be so dismissed in the WEST, as to find admission into the middle chamber to receive the reward of a GOOD MAN.
Toast to the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario Worshipful Brother Chairman, Rt. Worshipful Brothers Grand Senior And Grand Junior Warden, Distinguished Head Table guests My Brethren & our lovely Ladies. It is indeed a pleasure to be asked to give a toast to our Grand Lodge this evening and a double pleasure for me personally. It was only two months ago that I had occasion to propose the Toast to our Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Robert J. McKibbon, at Moira Lodge's 200th anniversary celebration. About a month ago a dear friend and Brother Mason returned from his winter in Florida and asked how the event went. I told Brother Gibbs that the day was wonderful, as those of you who attended would no doubt agree. He shared with me a story that was told at Moira Lodge's 175th anniversary in 1976 by the Grand Master. I'd like to share it with you. A new Master Mason was given a sterling silver belt buckle by his sponsor soon after his third degree. The young man was thrilled to receive such a gift from a man he so respected. For on this shiny new belt buckle were depicted in glittering brass, many of the emblems and symbols he had come to know from the three degrees he had so recently taken. There was the square and the level, the plumb rule and both ashlers all beautifully cast. As the young mason looked at them, it recalled to his mind all the wonderful lessons of philosophy and morality he had learned as he traveled the Masonic path from entered apprentice to Master Mason. These symbols were so important to him and the gift of his mentor and friend was so cherished that he was afraid to let anything tarnish the belt buckle. So he placed it in a glass case on a shelf and once a month he would take it out of the case, gaze upon it, moralize upon it and carefully polish it to remove any trace of tarnish. Several years went by and the new Mason wasn't so new anymore. He, like many Masons got caught up in the politics of the lodge. In fact he had already progressed through the chairs to the office of Senior Warden; next year he would be the Master. It was around this time that his old friend and mentor happened to be in his home and he saw the gift he had given several years earlier and asked why the man kept it in a glass case. His answer was, I don't want it to ever become tarnished. The mentor smiled, in the way that only an older man can smile at one his junior, and said My Brother if you would only wear that belt buckle Every Day, you would never need to polish it and I assure you it will never tarnish. My Brethren, isn't that just like Freemasonry. For once a month many Masons will take out that belt buckle, give it a quick polish and wear it to lodge. But if we only lived every day by the principles taught to us so many years ago when we were Entered Apprentices, our Masonry, our craft and indeed our Fraternity would never tarnish. For we all possess such a gift, in a figurative sense. A shining belt buckle of sterling silver and brass, given to us by those who have gone on before us. Shouldn't we all wear it Every Day? But what of our Grand Lodge? As everyone knows a belt buckle is of no use without a belt to attach it to. Like the belt which wraps around our waste, our Grand Lodge is there to wrap its wisdom, knowledge and guidance around the whole of the craft and allows each of us to fasten it all together with the beautiful gift Freemasonry presents, if only we would choose to wear it, Every Day. Brethren to the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.
Toast to the Grand Master Worshipful Brother Chairman, Most Worshipful Brother Grand Master, My Brethren & Guests. Indeed what an honour it is to have been asked to propose this toast to our Grand Master on this historic occasion. Not only historic in that today celebrates the 200th anniversary of Moira Lodge, but historic in that, here assembled, are many masons from all parts of our fine district from every walk of life to every rank imaginable. Masons such as Brother Sheldon Uke who has recently taken his first regular step all the way through to our Grand Master who is there in spirit to guide our newest brother on his way to becoming a Master Mason. Brethren as a student of history my field of research is the medieval period when our ancient operative Brethren were charged with building the many cathedrals that illuminated a heretofore dark era of history when learning and therefore light was suppressed. While our Operative Brethren laid stone upon stone raising their structure towards the heavens, other skilled craftsman were creating stained glass to adorn the finished cathedrals. I don't profess to be an expert on stained glass as our Grand Master is indeed such an expert. Suffice it to say that the unique property of such glass is that it takes what light is available and transforms and amplifies it into something beautiful. My Brethren I respectfully submit to you that Freemasonry is a spiritual and philosophical kin to stained glass. For it takes the raw material of Good Men and strives, through ritual, symbolism and a common belief in the Father of all creation, to make those Good Men into Better Men. Taking this comparison as a given, how fortunate we are to honour a Man, a Mason and a Mentor who possesses such a gift in not only a speculative but an operative sense. My Brethren such a man is our distinguished Brother Most Worshipful Brother Robert J. McKibbon. Most Worshipful Sir, your experience, knowledge and guidance, like that of your predecessors these last 200 years, is the stained glass by which our inner light is allowed to shine and thus transform us all into the aforementioned better men. For this we are all eternally grateful. Brethren to our Grand Master.
The Brother who stands plumb to his principles, yet is level to his brethren.
To HIM, who all things understood,
To HIM, who furnished the stone and wood,
To HIM, who nobly spilt his blood
- in doing of his duty;
We hail the day! We hail the morn!
On which those three great men were born!
Who did the TEMPLE thus adorn
With WISDOM, STRENGTH and BEAUTY.
Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part