The title of this post is a question all brothers will be familiar with. After all, it’s one of the first questions he’s asked before joining the lodge.
And the answer given? In my heart.
But what exactly does this mean for brothers who pronounce their answer with great enthusiasm? Let’s take a look now.
In Freemasonry, symbolism plays a vital role. Through various symbols and rituals, Masons learn important lessons about the history of the universe and the way to live a virtuous life and dedicated to Masonic values.
In the history of humankind, the heart as a symbol has evolved over time. For instance, Plato spoke of the pumping of the valves of the heart as the origin of human passions. To an extent, this is how the heart is symbolised in many countries today.
From a merely symbolic perspective, the heart symbol has its roots in the writings of Aristotle and Galen. Aristotle claimed that the significance of the heart is more profound than that, as it is the resting place of the soul’s vital spirit. Moreover, Aristotle described the human heart as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle, and his description of the symbolism of the heart gave birth to its usage in popular culture.
That being said, the heart as a symbol became mainstream in the Middle Ages, when artists and scientists attempted to draw representations of ancient medical texts. For instance, the Italian physicist Guido da Vigevano made a series of anatomical drawings featuring a heart that closely resembled that described by Aristotle.
From here, the heart progressed to represent romance and courtly love in medieval times, and it grew in popularity throughout the Renaissance, when it was used in art to depict the Sacred Heart of Christ. The heart has long been known as the centre of emotion and pleasure within the body, and this gives us a clue as to the significance of the answer to the question posited to Masons at the start of their journey.
Freemasonry is not a religion, as we all know. Instead, it takes inspiration from numerous religious sources to educate brothers the value of living a good life. The heart is extremely important in Masonic teachings.
Masons are taught that brotherly love is a major element of Masonry, and that caring for one’s brethren enflames all real Masons’ hearts.
Masons have the responsibility to do philanthropic deeds and aid in the advancement of their communities from the heart. It is the responsibility of brothers to bring light into the darkness, which can only be accomplished if actions are taken from the heart.
A flaming heart represents the process of improving people’s lives in Masonry, and it appears in more than one of the Scottish Rite Degrees. The burning heart symbolizes a fervor for truth and doing what is right, even if it means sacrificing oneself for the greater good, according to Masons.
Every brother’s search for meaning as they progress toward the Universal Truth is at the heart of their Freemasonry journey. It might be argued that the Masonic degrees’ structure mimics the idea of a fiery pursuit of knowledge.
Masonry teaches us that the flaming heart can become magnetic. Brothers are said to join the world and become part of the spiritual quest for knowledge when their hearts begin to beat in unison and seek for a similar goal.
When a brother says that he initially prepared to become a Mason in his heart, he means that he feels Masonry is a part of his soul and that he is willing to accept the Masonic way of life in order to become more ethical and moral.