What is Masonry… really?

what is masonry
  • Is it Fund Raising for charity?
  • Is it memorization and ritual work?
  • Is it remembering facts and dates?
  • Is it sitting in chairs and holding titles?
  • Is it accumulating proficiency cards and certifications?
  • Is it showing off our Masonic bling to non-masons?

The answer is yes. But is this the true purpose of Freemasonry? Freemasonry is a living organism. The purpose of any living organism is to perpetuate itself.

Freemasonry is a system of morality. What does that mean? That simple definition defines Masonry as a complete system built for a primary purpose. That purpose is to make you a better man, to make you a more moral man. Not every man, not most men... YOU. You as an individual man should utilize the systems of Freemasonry to become a better man.

Freemasonry being a system of morality for an individual man to utilize, it stands to reason that Freemasonry will be a different experience for each of us. We are all individuals after all. Our experiences from our childhood, teen years, into adulthood, our work experiences, our relationship experiences, they all make us individual men. We all experience the world in different ways and therefore react to it in the only way we can, which is through the lenses of our own personal experiences and beliefs. We have different strengths and different weaknesses.

No doubt, our operative forefathers also experienced this. For rarely could a man be an expert in all things. No doubt some were better at carving. Some better at setting. Some better at planning, and some better at measuring. Likewise, I have no doubt some struggled with the same. But a group of good men skilled in their craft came together with their various strengths and weaknesses to erect some of the most beautiful and glorious structures in the history of mankind.

As speculative masons we also share the same types of strengths and weaknesses in our speculative labors. We all have some outstanding skills in some areas and work hard to improve others that are not so strong. It is the combination of our strengths and weaknesses that make us such a successful unit as a Lodge of Brothers.

I wonder if any of you reading these words right now are perfect men. No. Only a fool would think such of himself. Masons are not fools. Masons, by the very nature of the fraternity (A system of Morality) are ever struggling with their inner demons, always chipping away at the vices and the superfluity (excess) of their lives. Ever remembering to work more harmoniously and spread the cement of brotherly Love.

My Brother, you are an integral cog in the wheel of Freemasonry. We have a wave of young men looking to gain more light in Freemasonry. We live in a world starved of light and brotherly Love. It is up to us to be prepared to show them the way. How can we show them if we have not done the work ourselves? We cannot. Without being hardened men from the labor of the craft, we are not prepared to lead them, nor anyone else to further light. We must first have spent enough time laboring in the quarry seeking it for ourselves, before we are prepared to lead others.

I am not talking about laboring in officer chairs. I’m not talking about laboring through boring meetings. I not talking about laboring to organize and execute cook outs and charity drives. Yes these are all important thing that must be done, and we should all assist in, but I am talking about the highest of matters, looking within. I’m talking about the labor of erecting our symbolic Temple within us.

It is only by looking within and honestly using all of the implements of Freemasonry to build our inner temple, which allows us to truly call ourselves Masons. We must identify our flaws. We must expose our weaknesses. We must recognize our demons. We must share them with our Brothers and seek their help in chipping them away from the rough ashlar of our souls. We must remain vigilant in knowing what labors our Brothers are working on personally so that we can help them.

Look at what men accomplished in the history of operative and speculative Freemasonry. Look at the land acquired, look at the edifices erected, and look at the charities that have benefited mankind as they have survived through the ages.

What are you doing to be more like those men?

You don’t have to be a rich man. You don’t have to be a well-connected man. But are you working to be a good man? Are you the best version of yourself that you can become? Have you truly utilized all the implements of Freemasonry to make your temple smooth, beautiful, and glorious?

My Brother, it is only by become enlightened men. Strong men, with a firm foundation and a grand internal temple built with hard work and sacrifice, that we can accomplish anything. How can we be part of something bigger than ourselves without having done the first mission of Freemasonry and made ourselves better men?

I believe that we accomplished nothing in comparison to our predecessors in as many years because we have lost sight of this core, basic ideological truth in Masonry. What time we have to devote to Freemasonry has been consumed by shiny things, tiny things… things that will fade and disintegrate with time after we are gone from this place. We have become comfortable seeking praise and personal glory. We have become too much like the profane (non-masons).

We need to spend our time laboring in the quarry to become the man we were born to be. Bleed your hands with the work of this labor until you are hardened Master Mason.  Only then will we be in a position to help anyone else. Only then will it be possible for our generation to advance and lead great ideas to fruition.

It cannot be denied that the light of Freemasonry has dimmed. Only a fool would think that the survival of our ancient beloved Fraternity is guaranteed.

We must do the work my Brother. We must shine with the light of Freemasonry in order for others to once again see its brilliance. We live in a broken world thirsting for this light.

Hold the mantle of Freemasonry high. If you cannot do that assist another brother that you see attempting to do so. Together the burning fires of the mantle of freemasonry will start to shine. Shine bright enough so that others in your Lodge can see it. Then your lodge will shine so bright with the light of Freemasonry that others in your district will being to see it, and for them it will become easier to multiply that light so that the rest of the jurisdiction can see it and hopefully shine so brightly that those outside the Fraternity cannot deny it's brilliance!

It starts with you. It starts with one Brother making the choice to listen with his ears and an open heart to the mission of Freemasonry, and that brother giving himself to the process of building his temple. That brother being willing to sacrifice and labor with the tools of Masonry in the quarry to erect a grand holy edifice to God in his soul.

Be that brother, I beg of you. We need leaders in Freemasonry if we are to carry on the work of the great Masters of old. You can be that leader. You can be the spark that starts the fire or increases its brilliant light. Be a strong Master of this speculative craft and help other brothers to obtain the same. Let us once again become a Fraternity of excellent men that are limited by NOTHING.

“Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are in the dealings with one another; sympathy begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason. “
Benjamin Franklin
“The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it, live it. It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted. It is, in fact, and open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity. Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone.”
William Howard Taft

Sarasota Lodge No. 147

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