Throughout life you have heard the scripture of Luke 2:14 repeated, especially at Christmas time. It reads: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” As that this message is reaching you at the beginning of a new year, I would like to suggest an understanding of this scripture that suggests why it should be on your heart constantly, and might be of further benefit to each of us, even to help us in our efforts to live by the Scottish Rite Creed.
The message of Luke 2:14 seems clear cut – the birth of the Messiah, something we should praise the Divine for the gift of, will bring peace to the earth and spread good will among men, or mankind. This message is, undoubtably, critical to the whole human race. However, we can perhaps take away another message if we consider the original Greek it was written in. Those words were “ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας” and, by today’s understanding of language translation, means “on earth peace to men of good will”. This passage, taken alone, would seem to suggest that the peace to be felt will only be experienced by persons of good will.
This “good will”, synonymous with compassion, kindness, benevolence, and charity, ought to speak to every Freemason and ought to reinforce not just the charitable nature of Christianity, but also answer a time-old philosophical question: How do I find happiness?
I’d like you to imagine happiness. Feel it. Is it not a sense of satisfaction, a sense that all is right, a sense of… peace? Throughout the scriptures, more especially with the New Law or Law of Love, we can consistently see the importance, for better or worse, of actions we perform for, or on, others. And, similarly, when others perform acts of kindness on us. Perhaps the meaning in the scripture, as translated in the KJV, is to say that through the teachings of Christ mankind can achieve peace. Deeper still, these lessons are teaching us about the death of the ego – another lesson we ought to be taking away from our various Masonic degrees, especially in the Scottish Rite.
What does all this mean for you? It means that if you want to find peace, true happiness in your life, you can only do so by being more concerned for others than yourself. You will have to practice good will to your fellowmen. This good will does not have to be monetary or extreme. Open a door for someone, offer to help a Brother with whatever project he is involved in, visit the sick. There are simply so many ways to practice good will.
Now, then, is this peace something you only want to feel for a few weeks a year – or through your whole life? And, now that you know, what will you do about it?
By Jared F. Stanley, 32°, Wise Master, Chapter Rose Croix
Originally Published in the Jan-Mar 2019 Meridian Valley Scottish Rite Bodies Newsletter