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What Does “So Mote It Be’ Mean?

So Mote It Be. There is a familiarity to the term. When a Masonic Lodge is opened or shut down, it is always used. There are many who don’t realize just how old and significant this symbol is. It’s so close that we don’t even see it, which is the case with a lot of beautiful old things.

Masonic Explained: So Mote It Be

So Mote It Be meaning

We can trace this term back as far as we can in the history of the Craft. Its appearance reflects its advancing years. The word MOTE is derived from an aberrant verb, MOTAN, which originated in the Anglo-Saxon period. Exactly like we use it today, Chaucer uses the phrase “So May It Be” in the same way. It can be found in the oldest Craft record, the Regius Poem, in the same form that it is used today.

So Mote It Be vs AMEN

There’s no denying that the Masonic AMEN has reverberated through time, collecting meaning and melody along the way, until it has become one of the most profound and moving expressions in the English language. An initial gesture of agreement or agreement, it has since evolved into a sort of guardian, standing at the entrance to stillness as a reminder of the sacredness and reverence of speech.

When we have spoken everything we can say and our words seem like ripples on the ocean of the unspoken, this well-known saying somehow takes everything that is left — our foolish longings, our deepest longings – and lifts them to the One who knows. Almost as if it were speaking for us, it seems to convey to God’s ear things for which there are no words.

As a result, it naturally holds a special place in our hearts. At the wedding altar, it speaks its blessing as youthful love moves toward happiness or the agony of the hidden years. At this time, we place our newborns in the cradle and sprinkle them with the blessing of the Holy Spirit. It utters its lamentable response at the burial to the gloomy AMEN that death pronounces over our pals.

“In the Name of God, AMEN” is an old legal expression that urges us to recite it when we are ready to create a final will and testament, leaving our money and possessions to those we care about. When the voices of the world fade and the silence of God blankets us, we hear the old AMEN, So Mote It Be, as Gerontius did in his dream.

So mote it be in the bible
So Mote It Be in the Bible

It reverberates throughout the Book of Holy Law in a stunningly powerful manner. As a chorus follows another in the Psalms, we hear it repeated for emphasis. It has a stunning use in Jesus’ conversations with his friends, which is obscured in the English translation. “Verily, Verily, I say unto you,” when properly translated, means “AMEN, AMEN, I say unto you,” according to the Bible. At this point, “Amen” becomes Christ’s name in Paul’s epistles. He is God’s affirmation of human faith.

Freemason So Mote It Be
Freemason So Mote It Be

It’s the same in the lodge, both at the beginning and at the end. Masons never embark on a major project without seeking divine help. “So Mote It Be” is how he closes his prayer. “God’s Will Be Done” is another way of saying this. “So Be It – for it is wise and right,” he replied to God’s answer to his request.

What, therefore, is the significance of this simple, gentle, haunting statement that has been woven into the fabric of our Masonic heritage for so long?

Masonic Lodge Freemason Square and Compass

In the Church or the Lodge, it has two different connotations for us. One must accept God’s method and will, obey His commands, and trust in His providence even when a tender, dreadful stroke of death takes away someone dear to us and leaves us desolate. This is the first step towards accepting God’s will.

“So it is; so be it,” we must say it in some way. A man of wisdom and bravery, he accepts his fate as part of God’s plan, even if it almost chokes him to utter it: Despite the difficulties of life, I know that this is God’s will for me.

“So Mote It Be.” It’s not a surrender to the will of the Eternal that’s blind or resigned, but a sensible agreement with it.

The alternative interpretation of the word is even more wondrous; it refers to God’s consent to man’s goal

So Mote It Be refers to God's consent to man's goal.

A person can endure almost anything if he or she believes that God is aware of, concerned about, and empathizes with him or her. It helps us to realize that there is a good and wise purpose in life, despite its sadness and suffering, and that we are not at the mercy of Fate or the whim of Chance, even if we can only view it through a glass darkly.

A person’s faith and hope can be bolstered by hearing from God. If this is the case, then how? Yes, absolutely! In other words, God is not the great I Was but the great I Am. We exist because of Him, and if we have ears to hear, He speaks to us through nature, the moral code, and our own hearts. We can hear His voice most clearly in our Alter’s Book of Holy Law.

Not only that, either. In some circles, we hold to a belief that the Word of God “Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us, Full Of Grace and Truth,” in a life that was the most beautiful ever lived by a human being, illuminating the meaning of life, and showing us how to achieve great things when we follow God’s will on Earth as it is done in Heaven.

Men these days are asking themselves: Is there any benefit to praying?

Is there any benefit to praying "So Mote It Be"

The man who prays doesn’t ask such a ridiculous question. To ask if it is beneficial for a bird to sing or for a flower to bloom is pointless. Humans are born with an innate ability to pray. This is who we are. Prayer, like the rising of the sun’s rays, was designed for man. Religious faith would not be necessary if there were no religious objects to worship.

Do prayers ever receive an answer?

Emerson showed us long ago that this is always the case. We don’t need to go any further than that: whoever leaves prayer a better man is the one whose prayer has been answered. Ultimately, a man’s greatest goal is to pray, and it forms his life in the form and color of that prayer. Because all prayer is answered, we should be careful about what we pray for, as we will always get what we ask for in the end.

Is there a benefit to praying?

It calms our fears and prepares us for the journey ahead. An acknowledgment of rules and our interdependence with them. Prayer is not a form of begging or attempting to get God to do what we wish. Ultimately, its goal is to lead us to do God’s will instead of our own. It’s not a matter of using God, but rather of being used by Him to further His purposes.

Is it possible to influence God’s plans through prayer?

Yes, and No. We can’t modify God’s bigger plan, which includes our responsibilities and fate. The Will of God may and does change, though, because it alters our will and attitude toward God, which is the most important element in prayer for us.

For instance, if a man leads a wicked life, we know what God’s Will is for him. All evil paths have been attempted numerous times, and we know the outcome, just as we know the solution to a geometry problem. However, if a man who lives wickedly modifies his way of life and inner attitude, he modifies God’s Will—if not His Will, then His Intention. That is, he obtains what even the Divine Will could not give him or do for him unless His Will and Prayer were invoked.

Masonry’s place of prayer is more than just a ceremonial vignette

Masonry's place of prayer is more than just a ceremonial vignette

It’s more than just an issue of following the rules. It’s essential and significant in every way. When a man is initiated into the Lodge, a prayer is said for him to God, in whom he places his faith. At some point in the future, he may be forced to pray for himself, either audibly or mentally, during a crisis of initiation. Freemasonry‘s faith and spirit are embodied in this ritual, which is more than merely ceremonial.

Later, in a scenario that no Mason ever forgets, when the shadow is at its darkest and the most precious thing a Mason can desire or pursue appears to be lost, a prayer is given in the bewilderment and despair of the Lodge. As described in our Monitors, it is a mosaic of Bible verses in which the awful realities of life and death are laid bare and a plea is made to God’s mercy and light.

We are invited to participate in on a big prayer that requires us to put ourselves in God’s hands and trust His Will and Way, following where no route leads us into the velvety and seductive darkness that mankind call death. “So Mote It Be!” is the Lodge’s response to that prayer, as well as to all others that are offered before its Altar.

Brother, do not be ashamed to pray.

As the Lodge and the Church teach you. It is a component of life’s sweetness and sanity, revitalizing the soul and clearing the mind. A muttered prayer contains more wisdom than all the world’s libraries combined. It is not our responsibility to educate God. He anticipates our needs before we do. He is not in need of our prayers, but we are – if only to become acquainted with our best Friend.

The greatest of all spiritual teachers left us a little liturgy known as the Lord’s Prayer. He instructed us to keep it to ourselves in the closet while the door was closed and the din, hum, and litter of the world were outside. Try it, Brother; it will sweeten life, lighten its burden, brighten its delight, and make the path of duty clearer.

Two small prayers, one by a great Saint and the other by two brothers, have floated down to us from bygone eras and are worth remembering. “Grant Me, Lord, ardently to desire, wisely to study, rightly to understand and perfectly to fulfill that which pleaseth Thee.” And the second is as follows: “May two brothers enjoy and serve Thee together, and so live today that we may be worthy to live tomorrow.”


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Freemasons end their prayers with the phrase “So mote it be”?

In contemporary English, it is traditional to conclude prayers with a hearty “Amen,” a phrase that means “So be it.” It is a Latin term that originates from the Hebrew word.

Why do Freemasons end their prayers with the phrase “So mote it be”

Meaning “without a doubt.” Thus, when a congregation says “Amen,” it means exactly “So be it.” The term mote is an old verb that originates in Old English and means “may” or “may.” “So mote it be” translates as “So may it be,” which is synonymous with “So be it.” With the equivalence of “Amen” and “So mote it be” established, the question remains, “Why do Masons conclude their prayers with ‘So mote it be’?” The answer dates all the way back to around 1390 AD and the Regius Poem, the first known Masonic work (now housed in the British Museum, London). It is one of the Old Charges or Gothic Constitutions that were used to regulate early Freemasons’ trade. It has a mythical history, regulations governing the Masonic trade, and standards of deportment and moral behavior. The poem concludes with this famous couplet:

Masons end their prayers with the phrase “So mote it be”

A detail from a replica of The Regius Poem’s concluding couplet (Masonic Book Club, 1970) Amen! Amen! Thus shall it be! Thus, we all declare our support for charity. Thus, Freemasons conclude their prayers today in the same manner as they did in 1390. When you say “So mote it be” after the chaplain concludes a prayer in lodge, keep in mind that you are perpetuating a 600-year-old Masonic practice.

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