By: Jon Patrick Sage
The Masonic Institution, in sheer generalities, could be best summed up as “The Brotherhood of Man, under the Fatherhood of God”. This is not only a nice catch phrase, but if a Brother were to strive to live up to the very high ideals, embodied in those 9 words, he might very well change not only himself and his Lodge, but also his community, on up to and including his County and State. The Brotherhood of Man, Under the Fatherhood of God; the ancient quote that so many Masons are familiar with; those 9 words contain all that has ever been written about our gentle Craft.
“The Brotherhood of Man, under the Fatherhood of God”
- Masonry- By the Numbers
It has always been the view of this Author, that the Living Stones which make up the true and level foundation of any Masonic edifice, are found in the first 3 lectures, of the first of the 3 degrees- those of the Entered Apprentice- specifically, in Lecture 3rd. During this long and sometimes sleepy eyed lecture (keep the lights up- lest the Brethren fall asleep!!!), we learn of, among other things, the tenets of a Mason’s profession. Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. These are, quite possibly, the MOST important lessons taught in Masonry, for the simple fact that, as tenets, they support ALL else, much as the 3 great Pillars support the grand fabric of the entire universe! Each part of Masonry supports one thing and then begets another, and the 3 important tenets are no different!
Found in Brotherly Love, is a profound respect and love of our fellow humans. While in Lodge assembled, and even without, it is fine and proper to recognize a Brother, and to greet and then treat him accordingly. However, this is never to imply or even to remotely suggest that those creatures who walk upright among us, and who are NOT Masons, deserve less respect. Quite the contrary! As works of the Almighty Creator, each and every man AND woman, be they Black, White, Yellow, Red, or Purple, deserve an utmost respect. If God were to create each of us in his own image, and then if we, as Masons believe that there is an eternal seed of the Almighty within us, carved out in His own image, then is it not so that to stand in the presence of any of God’s creation is to stand before God himself? Indeed, we should endeavor to behave in the presence of ANY person as if we were in the presence of the Almighty! He created “them”, so “they”, Masons or not, are extensions of our Father. Let us treat everyone as such!
Tell me it is not so- explain to me how should I mistreat one person, claiming him not be a Brother, but to then exclaim that I adore the Works of our Grand Architect? How can I justify this… how should I be prepare an explanation, when standing before that Great White Throne- that will add up the sum of my behaviors, and have them come out as a positive? The only answer is that we MUST treat every Human being among us as if that Man, Woman or Child is wholly representative of the Almighty. That is the only path towards a true and just account of our actions. We must not act with any pity, prejudice, hatefulness, bigotry, or other type of degradation towards those who surround us. That any are, or are not Brother Masons should make no difference whatsoever as to the actual caliber and worth of their Eternal Soul- of their Human Essence- of them… As representative and of the handy-work, of nothing less that the Deity.
- Your Most Sacred Right
Without going into specifics, or of asking for, or revealing the actions of any Brethren, whether
in the dining hall, abroad, or particularly at the Ballot Box, in Lodge assembled- may we remember a Sacred right enjoyed by all regular Master Masons. I speak not only of the Ballot. The Sacred right, to vote for, or against, extends well beyond the Ballot Box and the confines of the Lodge room. We exercise this Sacred every day, in our walk to and from work, in our time spent at home, during those private minutes of solitude and darkness before we fall asleep at night. We choose, daily and often, whether to accept or to reject those who seek Light- that Light which should be visible in and about and through our lives as Masons, if we are true.
Have you rejected one who has sought counsel? One who needed a friend to talk to? Have you turned a blind eye to one… to anyone who was in need, and you were able to help? Have you looked at one of the Almighty’s creation in the eye, and denied HIM or HER that which might have helped them through another day, and which you were able to give, without inconvenience to yourself? More importantly that what have you done- what have you NOT done?
Have you neglected any who asked for your help? Have you decided that a selfish interest was more important than a self-less act of kindness towards another? Have you actively deprived someone of a thing, possibly a privilege, which might have made their walk in this life a little easier? I ask you- what have you done, and what have you left UN-done? Brethren, while we are able to do so, let us leave nothing undone!
- Use the Working Tools
Our walks as Masons, and as men, insist that we walk uprightly, just and true. However, these attributes are not for us to determine. It is, not by happenstance, but by convenience of fact,
that I am unable to accurately judge myself, at any given time, WITHOUT the aid of certain tools. We are given and instructed in the use of these tools, throughout the several degrees. Indeed, we are, most of us, familiar with our Working Tools. But, no matter how well you know the lectures, if you can recite the use of the square, of the trowel, of the compass… how well can you use them? How often do you measure your thoughts, deeds, and actions by those tools? Our tools are explained to as those of operative Masons, but also of having Speculative use.
I challenge each and every Mason- measure yourself according to the same standards that you measure other Masons, of other men, of other Human beings. We find solace in the faults of others, thankfully declaring that “but for the Grace of God, we might be also”. … Find the part of you, we all have at least one portion of our Temple that is unproven and untrue, and endeavor to Work on that particular part of the Ashlar. Make it pleasing not only to the sight of yourself, your Brethren, to the Grand Architect of the Universe… but along the way- make the entire structure as beautiful as it can be; to all, even to those who “are without”.
- Hidden in Plain Sight
Forget about membership drives. Leave the fish fries and hog roasts alone for a season. Don’t worry about assigning a staff to the booth at the County Fair this year, or possibly even next year? Forget all of the “Stuff” that goes along with Freemasonry, and concentrate instead, if only for a little while, on what it means to be “A Mason”.
Remember, What the World without Knows of Masonry- is known… by YOU. It has been said, many times over, that we shall reap what we sow; as such, our inclinations should always be to err on the side of caution. May we never leave something undone, or perhaps more importantly, actively pursue a wrongful action, in the vain hope that it will somehow, in the shadow of secrecy, profit us with the lapse of time. All things grow to fruition, all things come to pass at the end of the season. The harvest is either bountiful, or of famine. No matter how our efforts find their pathway to completion, they must be accomplished with the purest of motive. All other motivations are bound to bring regret.
Build and Travel Accordingly!