A Letter to Brethren Everywhere,
As we sit here, in a time where our Masonic meetings are suspended not by choice, the opportunity to reflect upon Freemasonry and its impact is with us. We may not be able to meet, and the close social bonds of our fraternity may feel distant and lost during times when we are forced to be apart. Let us take a few minutes and think about what he fraternity teaches in regards to our lives in the current time, personal, family, and social.
Masonry teaches that we are working to improve ourselves and that our personal development is something not to be set to the wayside. During times of isolation, both from the fraternity and others, we can continue on the path of becoming better men. The meetings of the lodge or other bodies are not required to continue to improve. Nor are the meals we shared with each other or the good laughs we had together. Those may have helped improve us in some way, but they are not the only way to improvement.
Improving yourself, making the man you are better, can take many forms. For some developing may mean learning a new skill, such as an art or language. For others it can be physical or mental health that they foster or work to improve. Regardless of whether the improvement is something intellectual, emotional, or even spiritual, the time we have to take a step back and work on that improvement is what is important. Take that hour each week dedicated to a meeting, and turn it around and dedicate it to improving yourself. Remember the line we often quote “making good men better.”
As we become better men it is important to remember our obligations to our family. We profess support to widows and orphans, while endeavoring to help our fellow Brother. Take a moment and think about how such an attitude should be applied to your actions towards your own family. Whether you are single or married, with or with children we each have a family to help. For those of us who are fathers, being a strong father who supports and encourages his children is a noble action. You take the idea of self-improvement and apply it to your children so that they may become better through your example. For those without an immediate family, do not forget that you are still a part of a family in some way. Your family could be extended and distant, or made up of those close friends who are not family by blood. But either way, during this period you can help to improve that family, you can take the teachings of charity and sympathy and apply it to them so they may experience a positive benefit.
The positive benefits of helping your family can not be denied. As we help others from within the fraternity, so we should be striving as Masons to help our family from within. Helping can be more than physical or monetary. The help you give may be as simple as an attentive ear that listens to the woes of your relations. Or, you could be the silent and non-judgmental figure that shows support by just being present in some form. The purpose of any is that you provide in some way for the needs of your family, you provide nourishment in food, hope, joy, or compassion.
Consider the hope and joy that is apparently lacking in society right now, that sense of morose that has appeared to settle on many parts of life raises concerns to a Mason. Our lodge activities are often centered towards making the world better in some way, usually through the support of a charitable endeavor. However, in the current time these activities are on hold. Though we may have opportunities to still be charitable elsewhere, that is not the true purpose of our fraternity. We are to peaceful citizens of our country, supporting each other and through our actions bringing about a more enlightened world.
The enlightened world can mean many things to different people, but the basic path is the same to all. One by one we follow the pillars of Freemasonry, showing ourselves to be upright individuals, and encouraging others to follow our example by keeping a visage of honesty and level dealing. It would be inappropriate for a Mason to take advantage of another, and it would put a negative mark on the fraternity to take advantage of a non-Brother too. This is true regardless of the situation of the world, for a Mason is prudent not rapacious.
A Mason is a person of the world, not a person removed from the rest of humanity. We have been living in a time of unfolding history. We have seen the world come together in a way that may not have seemed possible before, with one single goal to help save the lives of countless people. Remember that the time we have been given is not something to be wasted. That though we cannot meet in lodge, we can still live and experience the principles of Masonry in our own lives.
Josh Anderson, WM Paragon Lodge
May 6, 2020