Masonic Funeral Ritual from Illinois
Courtesy of Rantoul Lodge No. 470, of Rantoul, Illinois
Worshipful Master: Let us all unite with our
Chaplain in prayer.
Chaplain: Unto Thee, O God, Father of all, do we
come in this hour of grief and bereavement. Unto Thee do we send up the
cry of our sorrowing hearts. Thou, who dost mark the sparrow's fall,
and number even the hairs of our heads, look with infinite compassion on
our weakness, and, in this hour of need give the strength which Thou
alone can impart. Standing by the open portals of this house appointed
for all the living, we pray for light — for light to illuminate
the dark path which our brother has trod, for light to drive away all
the shadows of mortality and reveal to our anxious souls those serene
heights of joy and beauty, whither, we trust, our brother has ascended.
As we consign his body to its resting place may we realize how weak and
impotent is every human arm, and trust in Thy might alone for
deliverance from the dominion of death. Grant Thy sustaining grace to
these mourners and bereaved friends. May all find rest and comfort in
Thee, and, relying upon Thine infinite love, wait in patient hope for
death to be swallowed up in victory. Amen.
RESPONSE (by the brethren): So mote it be.
Worshipful Master: Brethren, we mourn today the loss
of a brother whose spirit has been summoned to the land where our
fathers have gone before us. Again we behold the narrow house appointed
for all the living, and our thoughts turn to the silent realm, where, in
that peace which the world can neither give nor take away, lie the
unnumbered dead. The sunshine and the storm pass over them and they are
not disturbed. Stones and lettered monuments symbolize the love of
surviving friends and convey the silent admonition, "Seek ye the narrow
path and the straight gate that lead unto eternal life." Again we are
called upon to consider the uncertainty of human life, the absolute
certainty of death, and the vanity of earthly ambition.
Change and decay are written upon every living thing The cradle and
the coffin stand side by side, and it is a melancholy truth that as soon
as live begin to live that moment also we begin to die. How often the
reminders of mortality cross our path.
The funeral bell tolls in our ears, and the mourners go about the
streets; yet how seldom do we seriously consider our approaching end.
We go on from design to design, add hope to hope, and layout plans for
the employment of many years. The messenger of death comes when least
expected, and at a moment which to us seems the meridian of our
existence. What are all the externals of human dignity, the power of
wealth, or the charms of beauty when nature has paid her just debt?
View life stripped of its ornaments, and exposed in its natural
weakness, and we see the vanity of all earthly things save those which
go to the growth and perfection of individual character. In the grave
all fallacies are detected, all ranks are leveled, all distinctions are
done away. Here the scepter of the prince and the of the beggar lie
side by side. Happy, indeed, it for us-and blessed the agencies which
have made it possible-that while our eyes may be dim with tears as we
think of our departed brother, we may in the sincerity of our hearts,
accord to his memory the commendation of having lived a useful and
exemplary life and as a just and upright Mason.
And now, my brethren, let us see to it, and so regulate our lives by
the plumbline of justice, ever squaring our actions by the square of
virtue, that when the Grand Warden of Heaven shall call for us we may be
found ready. Let us cultivate assiduously the noble tenets of our
profession-Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. From the square learn
morality; from the level, equality; and from the plumb, rectitude of
life. With the trowel spread liberally the cement of brotherly love;
circumscribed by the compasses, let us ponder well our words and
actions, and let all the energies of our minds and the affections of our
souls be employed in the attainment of our Supreme Grand Master's
approbation. Then, when our dissolution draws nigh, and the cold winds
of death come sighing around us-and his chill dews already glisten upon
our foreheads-with joy shall we obey the summons of the Grand Warden of
Heaven, and go from our labors on earth to eternal refreshment in the
paradise of God, where, by the benefit of the pass of a pure and
blameless life, and an unshaken confidence in the merits of the Lion of
the tribe of Judah, shall we gain ready admission into the celestial
lodge where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides. There,
placed at His right hand, He will be pleased to pronounce us just and
or white apron, was the first gift of Freemasonry to our departed
brother. It is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Freemason.
This I now deposit upon the casket. (Deposits it upon the
casket.) We are reminded here of the universal dominion of death.
The arm of friendship cannot interpose to prevent his coming; the wealth
of the world cannot purchase exemption; nor will the innocence of youth
or the charms of beauty change his purpose.
The Master, holding the evergreen in his right hand,
This evergreen is an emblem of an enduring faith in the immortality,
of the soul. By it we are reminded that we have a life within us that
shall survive the grave, and which can never die. By it we are
admonished that we also. like our brother whose remains lie here before
us, shall soon be clothed in the habiliments of death. Through our
belief in the mercy of God we may confidently hope that our souls will
bloom in eternal spring. This, too, I deposit with our deceased
The Funeral Honors
By direction of the Master, the Secretary will read the Obituary
The Master continues the ceremony by saying:
Brethren and friends: From time immemorial it has been the custom
among the fraternity of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons, at the
request of a brother, or of his family, to perform the last rites with
the usual ceremonies of the craft. Conforming to this usage we have
assembled, in the character of Freemasons, to offer to the memory of our
brother, this tribute of affection.
The passing of our brother from the cares and troubles of this
transitory existence has removed another link from the fraternal chain
which binds us together. May we who survive him be more strongly bound
in the ties of union and friendship. May we, during the short space
allotted to us here, wisely and usefully employ our time, and in the
interchange of kind and friendly acts mutually promote the welfare and
happiness of each other. Unto the earth we consign the body of our
deceased brother. We trustingly leave his spirit in the hands of Him
who doeth all things well. With those his immediate relatives and
friends, who are most heart-stricken at the loss we have all sustained,
we sincerely, deeply, and most affectionately sympathize. He who
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb looks with infinite compassion upon
the bereaved and sorrowing in the hour of their desolation. Our
Heavenly Father will fold the arms of His love and protection around
those who put their trust in Him.
The Master, extending his hands toward the casket,
Soft and safe be the earthly bed of our brother; bright and glorious
be his rising from it. Fragrant be the acacia sprig which shall
flourish there. May the earliest buds of spring unfold their beauties
over his resting place, and, in the bright morning of the world's
resurrection, may his soul spring into newness of life and expand into
immortal beauty in realms beyond the skies. Until then, dear friend and
brother, until then — Farewell!
may follow, after which the services will conclude with the
Chaplain: Almighty God, again we implore Thy
blessing as we turn from this solemn service to the no less solemn
duties of life. We have consigned the body of our brother to its
resting place, and with unfaltering trust we commend his spirit to Thy
care. If we feel that there is one tie less binding us to the earth,
may we also feel that there is another, and a deathless tie, binding us
to heaven. And there shall be no night there. O blessed assurance; the
last farewell spoken, the last sigh breathed, the last cry of anguish
changed into an anthem of immortal joy. In our present grief we cling
to Thy promise that Thou wilt at last wipe away all tears.
Gathering here such fresh experiences of Thy love, catching here such
glimpses of the exceeding glory that awaits us, may we feel that it is
better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.
May we keep the memory of the virtues of our brother green and fragrant
And now, O God, we pray for Thy hand to lead us in all the paths our
feet may tread, and when the journey of life is ended may light from our
immortal home illuminate the dark valley of the shadow of death, and
voices of loved ones, gone before, welcome us home to that house not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens, where no discordant voice shall
arise, and all the soul shall experience shall be perfect bliss, and all
it shall express shall be perfect praise. and love divine ennoble every
heart and hosannas exalted employ every tongue. Amen.
RESPONSE (by the brethren): So mote it be.
The procession will reform in the same order as that in which it
set out and repair to a convenient place and there be
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