MASONIC SOUL SEARCHING
W. Master and Brethren,
FREEMASONRY is to be enjoyed. The PRIMARY aim of lodges is to keep its members happy and content, so that they can communicate happiness to others. It has been founded upon the purest principles of Brotherly love, Relief, Truth, Peace, Love and Harmony in order to survive.
Described as a BROTHERHOOD of men. It is purported a fraternity of men who are supposed to have the same ideals and objectives. That is all well and fine.
BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
Implies that we ought to be a FAMILY! But how often do we think of or consider others when we participate in lodge matters? Personal aspirations (rank and status), creating petty jealousy and backbiting; thus thwarting the members attaining the ultimate glory of PEACE, LOVE and HARMONY, not only in the lodge but throughout ones daily lives.
These concepts have been driven home to us repeatedly and we are expected to have the highest ideals and objectives. Over a period of time, I have come to realise that the Craft like any other organisation is only as strong and good, so long as its members respect and uphold its ideology.
Freemasonry has suffered all the stress and buffeting by those wanting to destroy us both from within ( those who are disillusioned for reasons best known to them ) and from ill-informed outsiders ( those who believe we are actively involved in acts against God and country ). Despite all these, our fraternity has survived for 300 years.
Recently Freemasonry has undergone a change of heart from its original strange practice of secrecy to one of openness to society. Yet this has not been enough. As early as last month, our CEO from UGLE appeared on the local news and TV to welcome Questions and for discussions to put right all misconceptions. But there will always be the hard cores who will not accept anything.
In the first degree we are acquainted with the virtue of CHARITY. We inevitably think in terms of ALMS. The Irish impress upon us that is not necessarily restricted to the giving of money but of TIME, ADVICE and ASSISTANCE. Do we make a genuine and concerted effort to practice this virtue?
Many wear the Charity jewel indicating they have donated money. What about extending the greatest of all charitable virtues – Charity of Heart and Mind?
Is it not time to examine some of the causes of declining membership or the falling away of members? Should we not ask ourselves why there is a large dropout of brethren after their initiation? Why do we have this situation? What is lacking? Have we selected the WRONG people?. No!
It simply means that we as senior members have a greater responsibility and a greater role to play. But we take the easy way out and say “he’s that brother’s candidate. Let him deal with it.”
It is the onus of everyone to extend the hand of friendship to the new comer. How many of us present know every member’s name in the lodge? ( I AM AT FAULT AT THIS TOO). Let us take stock of ourselves rather than blame the intake.
To quote George Bernard Shaw who said “What we want is to see a child in pursuit of knowledge not our pursuit of knowledge of the child”. If we have failed to do this, then we need to rethink. Now it’s time to be teachers to STIMULATE rather than be concerned about RANK and SELF IMPORTANCE!!!
What do each of us want IN and FROM Freemasonry? RANKS, STATUS SYMBOL, POWER? In the first degree charge we are exhorted to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge. How many make the effort?
Mentors are supposed to be leaders in this area. I had the experience of observing a mentor with his charges: down at the bar and his first instruction to his three charges was that each of them is required to buy him a whisky.
The rest brethren I leave to your fertile mind. I said to myself “WOW” if this is one of the perks of that office, I appear to be missing out. Maybe I should volunteer to be a Mentor. Then again if a candidate asks too many questions, he is tagged as a trouble maker or smart alec because the said brother seems to have more knowledge to ask those questions.
I’m told by some young masons many a time, their questions receive vague answers or subtly avoided. Choice of mentor is crucial to a lodge.
Whilst the WM is responsible for everything that occurs in the Lodge; it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the rules and regulations are obeyed to the letter. Lodge by-laws are not even conformed to and followed implicitly. Why then have these at all?
Are these laws there simply to be broken? Brethren after 35 years, I have come to the following observations and have categorised brethren under various headings. This is not going to go down well and I can expect brethren to complain to the WM.
I am however entitled to my views for my ten years of continued service to this District both as DGDC and DGS. I have heard many ENDEARING remarks made of me supposedly of my arrogance. These very same brethren in front of me are all sugar and spice and everything nice!!
Especially when it came to promotion time. Suddenly they appear frequently in the lodge and “drop by”. One senior mason’s wife once commented to me, “ You people are all hypocrites”. “Oh brother it’s so nice to see you” and shake his hands profusely even to the extent of his hand coming off its joints and at the same time stab him between the shoulder blades with the other hand.
Our wives are very observant people brethren.
Not only senior brethren but many junior ones are heard throwing names especially our RWDGM, giving the impression that they are privy to him and his inner most thoughts. “WOW” They even have the audacity to say they are part of “THE INNER CIRCLE” and they spout from both ends of their anatomy without batting their eyelids.
Having observed from a distance I note our RWDGM is friendly to everyone without any airs, but I doubt he’s a “BLABBERMOUTH”! But to hear these brethren it takes my breath away.
Rank and status is all he is interested in and tries to monopolise the RWDGM at every opportunity, practically breathing down his neck and sticking like a leech and giving the impression that he’s having a tete-a-tete with him.
In athletics as you all know, we have many events among which are HOP, STEP and JUMP and POLE VAULT.
The new trend is to join as many lodges and many constitutions. Some newer masons and senior ones have taken up these very ardently and seriously pursuing this trend. They hop from one to another; offer themselves as the first set to take up a position and then hoping to jump to the top.
The Pole vaulter wants to jump over others to be at the top.
Brethren if you have the money and time and GENUINELY interested in learning, then by all means who am I to say anything? And if your intentions are to learn and not about positions, good for you.
However it has been noted that some of them run up bills and that’s when the lodge runs into a problem.
These are the silent killers. They go around quietly with a smile planting seeds of mistrust and discontent whilst at the same time outwardly are all smiles and everything nice.
These take the cake. They are seen everywhere under the pretext of supporting the lodge and use their rank as a means to have a free meal. Brethren there seems to be a fallacy that Grand Officers can just walk in and expect to be hosted.
Let me ask “What’s grand about a Grand Officer?” I’m one and have been so for ten years but I don’t think as such. In fact I know that there’s nothing grand about us. But brethren, all is not lost! I have chosen the “NOT SO GOOD” that have crept into our fraternity.
There are the many who do yeoman service subtly and never think of personal rewards. They are the true masons.
“ The most interesting of all human studies is the study of oneself.
How do I know that the knowledge I have is knowledge?
The Dutch philosopher Spinoza used to ask “How do I know that my senses can be trusted in the material which the craft brings to my reason? That my reason can be trusted with the conclusions which it derives from the material? We need to distinguish carefully the various forms of knowledge and should examine the vehicle”
Finally Brethren let us examine ourselves. Are we
COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY in the many ways available to us and especially with younger masons?
PARTICIPATING ACTIVELY & POSITIVELY?
Putting the CRAFT before SELF?
Herewith is food for thought
Keep your thoughts POSITIVE because your thoughts become your WORDS. Keep your WORDS positive because your words become your BEHAVIOUR. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your HABITS. Keep your HABITS positive because your habits becomes your VALUES and keep your values positive because your values become your DESTINY.
WM thank you for the opportunity to vent my thoughts on the very much less talked truths that are happening in the Craft. Before the night is over there will be many who will TELL (not ASK) why you allowed this paper and heavy flak will be coming your way. Brethren those not accepting today’s views are most welcome because you are entitled to your views just as I am entitled to mine.
Brethren unless you walk the talk “DON’T TALK”.