Three Distinct Knocks

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB. Martin O’Brien 

Envision if you will a young man, a man who has grown up in relative financial and material comfort but in moral and spiritual ambiguity. Understand, that this man I am describing is not me but I can tell his story. You may even know him or another person like him. This man, at least he believes himself a man, no event in his life apart from the tearing of pages from a calendar has marked his transition from adolescence to manhood, comes from good stock. Salt of the earth people who were faithful to their creed and mindful of harder times, struggles that they have strived to shelter their son from. This young man is popular and has surrounded himself with friends of like mind and opinion. Perhaps this man has had the benefit of formal education beyond high school and so feels that he knows much and because life has been gentle on him he has faced no adversity to inform him otherwise.

He believes that he doesn't need superstitious religion because he has reason. He is comfortable. More passive than purposeful in his decision making, he goes easily where the tides of life take him. He does what his job requires of him, no more, no less, because he invests his time and energy more fully in leisure pursuits marking time through the week to get to the weekend and when he arrives he imbibes too much and makes morally questionable decisions. Perhaps he treats the fairer sex disrespectfully, allowing his passions to hold sway over that reason that he values over religion. Perhaps he has no male role model to show him there is another and better way.

He lives his life in a repetitious cycle, monotonous week to intemperate weekend over and over again. This pattern is reinforced by his circle of friends, all of whom are equally adrift. Until one day he sees something, a sign on an old brick building, an ancient sign that hints at a different way, a different path the wanderer can take. This sign pulls at something in his mind, perhaps the prick of conscience. 

As this feeling comes to the fore a feint spark flickers in his chest and draws him towards that symbol. Walking forward he begins to leave behind the chaos and apathy that have marked his life to this point and he moves Eastwards, towards something better. He gets the sense that he is drawing closer to something important and his excitement grows but still there is a shroud around the place he wishes to be and he is filled with uncertainty and trepidation. Yet that spark, flickering weakly in his chest, draws him onwards and soon the veil parts slightly revealing a gate guarded by stern faced sentinels that bar his way. 

They examine this traveler, their probing eyes, experienced from long years of labor in the quarries beyond, search for any sign of dishonesty or impure motive. Their examination is thorough and they can see that feint lights inside our supplicant and it is this that assures them of his sincerity. They step aside allowing him to advance through the West gate. Once through the portico he is met by gentle hands welcoming him in friendship, guiding his steps lest he should falter. He is reassured and told to fear no evil, for evil cannot take root in this place. He is prepared for what is about to transpire, taking off the trappings of the world he is beginning to leave behind and pass a threshold into a new way of being. He is given some time, a few moments, in which to gather himself and prepare his mind to receive the priceless gift that awaits him.

He is in darkness by design, his vision taken away the better to align his other senses. He is guided forward until his outstretched hands meet with obstruction. A door. He is told to reach for the heavy brass knocker that adorns it and taking it firmly strike the door with it three distinct times. His hand is shaking with nervous anticipation as it reaches for it. His fingers can trace a shape, the same symbol he found on the side of the building. 

The square and compasses. The knocker rises and falls, One! farewell to apathy. Farewell to the chaos of selfish and disordered thinking. He lifts it again. More forcefully this time the knocker hits the strike plate. Two! As the sound of it fades away so too does the man he was, he is already changed. A third time his hand rises, this is perhaps the first purposeful act he has undertaken, the first real movement towards taking responsibility for himself and his place in this world. Three! The door opens. Though blindfolded he is aware that a light is shining on him from within and that spark in his chest that was once so weak flairs brightly.


WB Martin O'Brien is a Past Master of Cuyahoga Falls Lodge #735, now Star Lodge #187 in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. He is a member of Cuyahoga Falls Chapter #225 Royal Arch Masons and Cuyahoga Falls Council #144 Royal & Select Masters.

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