In the 1st degree masonic initiation ceremony there is a small ritual known as the North-East Corner. It is both simple and beautiful. The candidate is dressed in simple sack cloth and has had his wallet,money,watch,ring etc removed. He is on entering the temple poor and penniless . He is then asked to demonstrate his humanity by making a donation to help those who are suffering. There is a moment of embarrassed panic before it is explained to him that the next time he comes across a person in distress he will remember that moment when he too had nothing and act accordingly with kindness, empathy and charity.
The north-east corner
Arriving in the Temple’s north-east corner we finally meet,
I have but one thought ,is this a man of morals I now greet,
of a character I have sought.
I therefore call upon you to give some mark of your favour,
even some small coin, or choose gentle kindness to waiver
and your integrity purloin.
I’m pleased you would gladly give,if you were not now poor,
that your heart would melt, if those at life’s low ebb you saw,
now their pain you’ve felt.
We do not seek to embarrass you or with your feelings sport,
our intent is pure, remember the lesson you’ve just been taught
and help poor souls endure.