|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 comradeship 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 can 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: Filial
For my purpose now, this altar is dedicated to our mothers, 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
|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
matters of course, and perhaps without conscious gratitude or any
expression 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 has 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
|My body fed
your body, son,
|But birth's a
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.
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
not me with poisoned sting.
|Because of all
that I have done,
|Remember me in
life, O son.
proud body fine and fair.
|My life is
|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
love. The white, the love of the mother who is gone. 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
|'Tis here she
kneels in prayer
above long shafts of light upon her shine.
|Her heart is
flower fragrant as she prays.
|Aquiver like a
|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 the 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: his mother's love. Take her
in your arms and say, "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 give me."
Someday 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. Done. DeMolay can ask no more
of you than that you shall endeavor so to live as to be worthy of your