As practiced today, Master Mason is the third and last Degree in the Masonic Blue Lodge. This Degree was originally called the “Summit of Ancient Craft Masonry.” The whole system of Craft Masonry is intended to present the symbolic idea of man’s pilgrimage on earth.
The First Degree is often referred to as a representation of youth, of the period of learning, or the time for the purification of affections, as the period of preparation for advancement into higher spheres of life here on earth. The Second Degree is often referred to as the representation of the period of adult life, of manhood, a time for increased and enlarged learning and of work. The Third Degree is referred to as symbolic of mature life, of ripened experiences, and a time of continued activities, but of decrease in toil and laborious endeavor. That there should be continued increase in knowledge and wisdom is a prime goal.
But it is also a period of heavier responsibilities in many respects, of trials, of sufferings, and of inevitable termination in Death. Foremost in the conceptions of this period of
life is that it is a time of waiting by the wearied workman for the word of the Grand Master of the Universe which will summon the Master Mason from the labors of earth to the central refreshments of heaven.
For these reasons, and because of the superlative beauty and significance of the Ritual, the Ceremonies, and the Symbols of the Degree, it is called “The Sublime Degree Of Master Mason.”
As a Fellowcraft, the Mason is taught to continue his investigations into the science of the Ancient Fraternity, and to labor diligently in the tasks prescribed by the Order, just as a man is required to enlarge his mind by the acquisition of new ideas and to extend his labors for the welfare of his fellowmen.
As a Master Mason, he is taught the last, the most important, and the most necessary of all Truth, that having been faithful to all his Trusts, he is at last to die, and to receive the reward of his Fidelity. Foremost of all the Truths taught and emphasized in this Degree is the immortality of the soul of man, and the certainty of the Resurrection of his body to Eternal Life.
The whole scope of the Ritual, and the ultimate of the symbols of the Master Mason Degree place supreme emphasis upon the Truth that when a man’s life has spent itself on earth, has passed away as the fleeting shadows, his soul returns to God who gave it and his body which returns to dust will be Raised, incorruptible and glorified and qualified for entrance into the Grand Lodge of the Celestial City of God. By the instructions of the Notable Legend and of the entire Ritual, it is implied that we have been redeemed from the death of sin and the sepulcher of pollution. The Master Grip of the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” brings ultimate triumph to every true, tested, tried and faithful Master Mason.