Rosicrucian Writings Online
I Visited the AMORC Grand Master
By Cpl. William R. Reck, F. R. C.
[From The Rosicrucian Digest November 1944]
IN THE midst of war it is hard to realize that the processes of peace are still being maintained in the world today, and that there are persons and institutions devoting themselves to it. During my stay in
It was a thrill to look forward to meeting this personality. I, like thousands of others, had read his most illuminating articles as they appeared in the Rosicrucian Digest, and in other periodicals. And also, like many others, I had read his books which are published by the AMORC of America.
At last the day arrived and I set out on the journey, as one would on a mission of some kind. The Grand Lodge of AMORC for
Walking up an old but quaint street, I soon came to Grand Master Andrea's home. In appearance, it was not unlike many homes in
As I was writing, I felt a strong urge to turn around, an experience similar to what we all have when someone is gazing intently at us. I turned and saw a man approaching. Here was the modern adept, Raymund Andrea. My heart began to beat faster, as I realized that this was the man who had written some of the best in occult literature today. Here was a man who had directed thousands of seekers for the better life. Here also was a man who had walked with the great ones in their own gardens of the intellect.
Instinctively I extended my hand, and he grasped it. I felt humble indeed. At this very moment, I was so thrilled by the experience, I was so overwhelmed by the realization of this long cherished ideal, that I did not catch the features of the man. I said, "Frater Andrea," after he released my hand. And he acknowledged my addressing him in a most pleasing, quiet voice. His use of English was as I had remembered it in English poetry and literature.
"Won't you come in?" he asked, as he opened the door to his home. I was ushered into his spacious but simply appointed living room. At one end was a fireplace, over which was a hand-painted oil painting of a Master. It looked familiar, and again unfamiliar, as so many of these pictures do in this respect, possibly because these spiritually illuminated personalities have so many similar characteristics in their faces. I was urged to be seated facing the Grand Master. He was seated in the brilliant sunlight coming from the windows behind me.
He began the conversation by saying: "Is there any special question you would like to ask?"
As I answered him, I saw him for the Master and great personality that he is. Physically, Frater Andrea is of medium height. He has clear, blue eyes that have an exceptional lustre, and, yet, they are set in an elderly face; that is, a face that shows the wisdom of much experience, although the skin is as smooth as velvet. He was dressed in a conservative grey suit. He is difficult to describe, especially his personality. One must be in his presence to fully appreciate that.
In our varied conversation, we eventually came to the subject of the New York Minor Lodge, in which it happens that Grand Master Andrea has a special interest. This interest has arisen out of his correspondence with its numerous officers. He inquired about Frater Weed, as well as many of the past Masters of that Lodge. I then conveyed to him the greetings and messages from the American Imperator of AMORC, Ralph M. Lewis, which had been sent to me when I advised him I was going to make every effort to visit the Grand Master while stationed in
I then asked the Grand Master, what, in his opinion, could be done or should be done to improve the quality of the work of the Order, insofar as its dissemination is concerned, and insofar as it might serve humanity. He replied that so many members, after passing a certain phase of membership, lose sight of the fact that they are in the Rosicrucian Order primarily to work for humanity; that their task lies in aiding a suffering and often misunderstanding humanity. He definitely said: "Helping humanity, above all else, is the most important duty of a Rosicrucian." He continued by saying that Rosicrucians must live in the everyday world. They must not become extreme idealists. They must not allow their personal philosophy to exclude them from the problems of the day, or from touch with the peoples in their immediate environment. They must be imbued with the truth that the Order teaches. It must become the essence of their personality, but they must so live in their present time that they are in a position to practically apply the knowledge which they have, otherwise it is useless.
Naturally our conversation eventually turned to a discussion of the war and postwar planning. In answer to a number of questions which I directed to Grand Master Andrea, he emphasized that the Order must triple its work and its activities during this cycle. He said it is a mistaken idea that the world will immediately change and all of the problems which brought about the war will be brushed away like clouds in the sky, when the present conflagration ends. Human nature does not change as quickly as that. It has within it the heritage of thousands of years of customs, habits, and deep-seated emotions, and these must be cultivated and gradually changed. The most that the war will have accomplished, so far as humanity is concerned, is to give the people a vision of what needs to be done; allow intelligent and spiritually enlightened people to see what must be eradicated and what past mistakes must be avoided. Having clearly seen these things, their work is more definite than ever, and they will have an incentive to work harder toward a distinct goal. Specifically, education of the peoples is necessary, not just an empiricism, not just a gathering of facts, but an education that amounts to self-analysis, knowing more of ourselves; an education that leads to self-discipline and in that the Order can and must play a big part.
In due time, I thanked Frater Andrea, on behalf of the many fratres and sorores whom I personally knew and who had written to me asking to be remembered to him, if I were successful in meeting him while in England. These were persons who had read his books and had derived benefit from them. He smiled and replied that as soon as the war is over, he hopes that he can help once more by his messages.
I brought out the fact that there seems to be quite a difference between English and American Rosicrucians, and he stated that this difference is merely superficial. The goal of each is the same. The Order cannot offer anything different to English or American Rosicrucians. But the approach of each is perhaps different, due to customs, training, and manner of living. He said perhaps the English Rosicrucians were a little too conservative, but time will alter that; on the other hand, perhaps the American Rosicrucian is too much inclined to discard as useless traditional methods. Tradition is important at times, for it may be the accumulation of a wisdom of peoples who have gone before. It may represent the best that has gone before, and, therefore, we should not cast it aside just to be modern, unless what we have today truly transcends that which has come down to us.
Frater Andrea also spoke kindly of the Sovereign Grand Master of the North and South American Jurisdiction, Frater Thor Kiimalehto. As we talked, I made a little further study of the living room, without being offensive. I saw in one corner of the room a great dark-colored, bench-like seat, somewhat similar to those one sees in a cathedral, though not as elaborate. Perhaps it is better described as being Gothic in design. Above it was a shelf and on this shelf were numerous little ornaments. Ornaments is hardly the term, for they were symbols, I would say, things that represented the interests and beliefs of this man. Apparently it is where this modern mystic seats himself for hours at a time to meditate, in an environment of his own creation, where he can look upon these little ornaments and be conscious of what they represent, the truths which they depict. Likewise, there he mentally could build in consciousness what he wanted, just as a mechanic seated before a workbench would take from overhead, from his array of tools, those that he would need to physically and materially construct something to conform to an ideal which he had. The atmosphere was very stimulating. Actually, there was a quietness about the room, a dignity, a sanctity, and yet it was exhilarating in an inner way.
I departed, feeling that the Cosmic powers had indeed favored me while in
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