This post is part of series of entries written by the Elected State Officers of PA DeMolay. Each of them have been assigned topics to discuss and offer their opinions on. Today's post is offered by Bro. Alex Rauschenberger, Deputy State Master Councilor. Enjoy!
We have all been there; settling in as a newly installed Chapter officer and hearing about this “ritual” thing you need to learn. Somebody hands you a little blue book and tells you to memorize your lines for the next meeting, but why? Why should you have to learn the ritual of our organization? What possible importance could a few sentences have? Probably much more than you expect.
Ritual has been learned by DeMolays since Frank Marshal wrote it almost 100 years ago. Instilled in that ritual are timeless ideas and lessons, which were as important today as they were back then. Think about the life lessons you’ve learned from DeMolay, from the Preceptors, and from the induction. Our ritual can teach us important lessons that will be with us throughout our lives, such as Respect, Patriotism, and Fidelity. All of those lessons have been preserved in time in our ritual, but there is more to them than what can be learned by watching our ceremonies. When you take the time to memorize the ritual, you are taking the time to truly understand what it is that the ritual means and what it is you are saying. You are able to grasp what the lessons truly mean and by doing that, you are translating those lessons into your daily lives.
Ritual is also important for academic reasons. Want to pass with flying colors on your Knights Templar test in history class? Or do incredibly well on the reading and writing portion of your SAT’s? Then learn the DeMolay ritual. Our ritual was written a long time ago and the English language was a lot different back then. Not many changes to our ritual have occured in that 100 years and that is often a topic of debate between many DeMolays. Should we change and modernize the DeMolay ritual so that more people can understand it? Or should we leave it the same? I will leave that up to you to decide. For now, we can benefit from the fact that our ritual is relatively the same as it has always been. It gives us exposure to strange words that we have probably never heard before because they have gone out of style. Through learning the DeMolay ritual we will understand these words and when they pop up on SAT’s in the future we will have no problem understanding them. Memorizing ritual will also improve your memorization skills which will make it much easier for you to study for tests.
Ritual is not all about memorizing lines either, it is also about performance. I am sure many of you have had to give speeches in school on different subjects and for most of you there was a lot of nervousness. DeMolay ritual can remove that nervousness. Through the process of performing ritual you will become more comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. Whether it is in school, a job interview, or a presentation for work, you will be able to draw upon public speaking skills that you developed in DeMolay. These skills will also come in handy if you decide to further your DeMolay career by becoming a Councilor in your Chapter or even a State Officer in your Jurisdiction.
So, ritual is not some boring thing you need to dread, but rather you should think of it as an opportunity; all you have to do is pick up that little blue book and start reading!