The Power of Ritual

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Brian L. Pettice, 33°

Recently I had the pleasure of attending an installation of officers ceremony for a Chapter of DeMolay. The Order of DeMolay is a Masonic affiliated organization for young men from twelve to twenty-one years of age. In a Chapter of DeMolay young men learn moral lessons and develop leadership skills. The installation is a beautiful ceremony and, on this afternoon, the installation team was doing a fine job of it. When it came time for the flower talk though, I witnessed something very special.

The flower talk is a presentation of prose and poetry describing a Mother’s love and the gratitude, honor, and respect-- that love should inspire in a son. The talk is given around the Chapter Altar— in our case with the presenter on the East side and the members of the Chapter facing him on the West. I was seated in one of the sideline seats behind the presenter.

The presenter, a Senior DeMolay and Master Mason, delivered a flawless talk. By flawless I don’t mean that the ritual was letter perfect. Judging by his delivery it very well may have been letter perfect, but I and most, if not all of those in the room wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t. What I found flawless was the emotion with which he gave the talk. I teared up as he spoke and I was reminded of my own Mother’s love. I looked around the room and saw that I was not alone in having to wipe the moisture from eyes— other sons and mothers wiped theirs as well. What really struck me though was the reaction of the boys of the Chapter. Those dozen or so young men, ranging in age from twelve to seventeen, seemed mesmerized. They silently listened to this man talk. There was no fidgeting, no looking away, no distraction.

I don’t know if one talk can change a life, but for those few minutes those young men and all of us there were touched. It was great to witness and especially to FEEL the power of that ritual.


Brian L. Pettice, 33° is a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No. 980 and plural member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, IL and an Honorary Member of a couple of others. He is also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rites. He cherishes the Brothers that have become Friends over the years and is thankful for the opportunities Freemasonry gives and has given him to examine and improve himself, to meet people he might not otherwise have had chance to meet, and to do things he might not otherwise have had chance to do. He is employed as an electrician at the University of Illinois and lives near Alvin, IL with his wife Janet and their son Aidan. He looks forward to sharing the joy the fraternity brings him with others. His email address is

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