[This prayer is used at all DeMolay meetings, and other appropriate occasions that include the hour of nine o'clock. Whenever the circumstances are appropriate, this ceremony is preceded by nine chimes and the lights are dimmed.]
"Brethren at this hour all over our land, mothers are bending above the beds wherein lie the children they love. At this hour also, the guests in homes and hospitals are preparing for the hour of rest. Let us pause a moment in our deliberations while the chaplain offers a prayer.
* * *
"Brother Chaplain, you will lead us in prayer.
"Active DeMolays will kneel on left knee. All others will remain standing."
"Our Father, as sons of loving and indulgent parents, we invoke Thy divine blessing upon all the fathers and mothers of our country and of all the world and wilt Thou pour out a special blessing for our mothers who have watched over us with unceasing care during all the years of our lives. We ask Thy benediction upon all who labor for the relief of suffering and need. May we ever realize that we are brothers of the helpless and suffering and rejoice in every call to the relief of pain or the alleviation of sorrow. Wilt Thou help us to lead upright and patriotic lives worthy of the devotion of all who have labored for our beloved country in every field of sacrifice and service.
Active DeMolays (in unison): "God bless mother. God bless father. God bless the purposes of DeMolay.
[This address is authorized to be given to new initiates after receiving the Initiatory OR DeMolay Degrees; arrangements are usually made to have the talk given during an open meeting.]
My brothers, you have just been permitted to take upon yourselves the name of one of the world's most heroic knightly figures. Now you can say "I am a DeMolay." To be deemed worthy of the privilege of entering into the comrade- ship of that great army of youth both here and abroad who have dedicated themselves to the ideals of Jacques DeMolay, demonstrates our confidence that the fineness of your purposes will guide your development into the highest type of manhood. To be accepted as a DeMolay is, therefore, an honor of which any young man may be justly proud.
In being received into our ranks, you have been instructed in the seven cardinal virtues of this Great Order. We hope you have been deeply impressed with the lessons they teach. There is no better foundation on which to build your character and future life than the practice of these virtues. The Order of DeMolay teaches many beautiful lessons, but none is more important than honor and true respect for womanhood, and more especially for motherhood. It is fitting, therefore, that you have been called upon to stand again before this Altar in a few moments of special emphasis upon the virtue which has been given first place among the jewels adorning the Crown of Youth þ Filial Love.
For my purpose now, this Altar is dedicated to our mother's whose love never fails. You may rise to positions of great influence in commercial, political or professional life, but you can never reach the heights of your mother's secret hopes for you. You may sink into the lowest depths of infamy and degradation but never below the reach of her love. The memory of it will always stir your heart. There is no man so entirely base, so completely vile, so utterly low that he does not hold in his heart a shrine sacred and apart for the memory of his mother's love.
Were I to draw you a picture of love divine, it would not be that of
A Stately angel
With a form that is full of grace,
But a tired and toil-worn mother
With a grave and tender face.
It was your mother who loved you before you were born who carried you for long months close to her heart and in the fullness of time took God's hand in hers and passed through the valley of shadows to give you life. It was she who cared for you during the helpless years of infancy and the scarcely less dependent years of childhood. As you have grown less dependent, she has done the countless thoughtful, trouble-healing, helpful and encouraging things which somehow only mothers seem to know how to do. You may have accepted these attentions more or less as matter of course and perhaps without conscious gratitude or any expressions of your appreciation. You are rapidly approaching the time in life when you will be entirely independent of your mother. The ties with which dependency have bound you to her may be severed as you grow older, but the tie of mother love can never be broken.
Thinking back upon the years of your life when you have reached the threshold of manhood, your mother might well say in the words of the poet:
"My body fed your body, son,
But birth's a swift thing,
Compared to one and twenty years
Of feeding you with spirit's tears.
I could not make your mind and soul,
But my glad hands have kept you whole.
Your groping hands
Bound me to life with ruthless bands.
And all my living became a prayer,
While all my days built up a stair
For your young feet that trod behind,
That you an aspiring way should find.
Think you that life can give you pain
Which does not stab in me again?
Think you that life can give you shame
Which does not make my pride go lame?
And you can do no evil thing
Which sears not me with. poisoned sting.
Because of all that I had done,
Remember me in life, O son.
Keep that proud body fine and fair,
My life is monumented there.
For my life make no woman weep,
For my life hold no woman cheap,
And see you give no woman scorn
For that dark night when you were born."
These flowers which you see on our Altar are symbols of that mother's love þ the white, the love of the mother who has gone þ and the red, the mother who still lives to bless your life.
Far in the dim recesses of her heart
Where all is hushed and still
She keeps a shrine.
'Tis here she kneels in prayer
While from above long shafts of light upon her shine.
Her heart is flower fragrant as she prays.
Aquiver like a candle flame, each prayer takes wing
To bless the world she works among
To leave the radiance of the candles there.
We want each of you to take a flower from this Altar. If your mother has passed over to the other shore, you will choose a white flower and keep it always sacred to her memory. May the sight of it always quicken every tender memory of her and strengthen you anew in your efforts to be worthy of her hopes and aspirations for you. If your mother is living, you will choose a red flower. When you go home tonight, give it to your mother. Tell her it is our recognition of God's best gift to a man þ his mother's love. Take her in your arms and say þ "Mother, I've learned a great lesson tonight. The ceremonies have helped me realize more fully how much you really mean to me. I'm going to try to show you daily how much I appreciate the sacrifices you have made and the love and care you gave me."
Some day you'll find that flower, I know not where, perhaps in her Bible or prayer book or some other sacred place, a silent witness to what this night has meant to the one whose love for you, her son, is beyond the comprehension of any son. My brothers, each of you will please take a red or white flower from the Altar.
DeMolay can ask no more of you than that you shall endeavor so to live as to be worthy of your mother's love.
CEREMONY OF LIGHT
[This ceremony briefly summarizes the basic teaching of DeMolay]
I stand before you at this sacred DeMolay Altar, upon which we have placed the mighty bulwarks of our faith, the Holy Bible and the school books. Not far away rests the banner of our beloved country. Standing as sentries are these seven burning candles, beacons in the darkness, lights to illuminate our pathway as we journey ever onward down the road of life. They are the symbols of all that is good and right with the world. They are the standards upon which we as DeMolays have pledged to base our lives.
The first candle symbolizes the love between parent and child, that love which existed before we were born, has remained with us all our life through, and will follow us even beyond the grave. The sages named this love "agape", love for no other reason than the sake of being.
The second candle is emblematic of reverence for all that is sacred. A young man crossing the threshold of DeMolay for the first time professes a deep and abiding faith in one living and true God. Without this steadfast faith and the grace of our Heavenly Father our toil would be for nothing.
This third candle stands for courtesy, a courtesy that transcends friend- ships, a courtesy which reaches to the stranger, to the aged, to all men. It is this courtesy that brings a warm feeling and a smile, and makes this life more pleasant for others as it lights the pathway before us.
The fourth candle, the candle in the center of our seven, stands symbolically for comradeship. Millions of young men such as ourselves have knelt at this symbolic altar and dedicated themselves to the same high principles of good sonship and good citizenship. As long as we remain faithful to these pledges, as long as there is an Order of DeMolay we are one.
The fifth candle stands simply for fidelity. A DeMolay can never justly be false to his vows, his promises, his friends, his God. He is called upon daily to defend the bulwarks and precepts of the Order that he might never fail as a leader or as a man.
The sixth candle is symbolic of cleanness, not only the bodily cleanness which we all practice, but the cleanness of every thought, word, and deed. Only in cleanness can a DeMolay rightly be representative of the pureness of our teachings.
The last candle is emblematic of patriotism. Perhaps we shall never be called upon to defend our country on the field of battle, but each day affords new opportunities to stand as good and upright citizens in behalf of that beloved banner and our hallowed land.
[The speaker slowly begins to extinguish the candles, timing this so that he finishes on the word "darkness" in the second paragraph to follow]
Yet we live in troubled times when tumult is upon the land; when the bulwarks of the Bible, flag, and schoolbooks are in danger of sinking into the waste of doubt and uncertainty; when these seven glorious precepts are not the most coveted standards upon which to base one's life; when trust and justice and brotherhood are not considered the most virtuous qualities.
And if we as DeMolays do not stand unswervingly in defense of the teachings of our Order, if we do not seek to perpetuate these in our daily lives; then perhaps these flames will be extinguished, muted in the shadows and darkness shall inherit the land.
[Now in darkness, the speaker moves to, and lights the center candle]
Yet each of you, as a DeMolay holds, within your heart a flame, a beacon to guide you through the darkness. If you can make this light shine upon another, if you can reach into the innermost depths of his soul and set his flame afire, then therein lies the purpose of the Order of DeMolay, and therein lies your purpose for living.