Address at the Lodge de Goede Verwachting
Based on an article found on the Internet forwarded to me by Wor. Bro. Louis van Heerden.
All members of our Order must take the time to study and so realize, understand and appreciate the excellence of our Ancient Craft. Nothing can survive by reflecting on past glories. Nothing can survive by recounting the opportunities that have been missed.
Freemasonry is a FORCE and not a FORM and any force needs fuel to keep it going. Our individual members must provide the fuel by their studies, by their discussions and by their faithful interest and support of their Lodge. If they do this, they can and will provide the wherewithal that will maintain the Order.
Why is it that when some Lodges have lectures or discussions arranged, the attendance at these meetings is very poor? Is it because we all consider ourselves well versed in all Masonic teachings and no longer need any further education or exercise of the brain?
We must remember that our Masonic Lodges are not social and drinking clubs where some members could use our meetings as an excuse to get out of house and arrive home well after expected normal hours. Brethren, some of us must once again get to “know ourselves”.
Look inward, be honest, be responsible, caring and considerate Freemasons and loving family members. Remember the lessons we were taught in the First Degree.
Every Lodge must give each new Apprentice as much attention and education as possible, for he comes into the Lodge with an open and receptive mind. It is also most desirable that he has an inquiring mind so as to motivate him to seek the truths and meanings concealed in the symbolisms of the rituals of each degree. Explanations should be available to him by the senior Brethren or answers must be found at somehow so that this curiosity will be correctly satisfied.
“conveying a great teaching of how to live our lives on this earth”
This member must be imbued with the idea that it is not a mere form he has been taken through, but a means of conveying a great teaching of how to live our lives on this earth, and to live with our fellow men.
Freemasonry is also a powerful force to guide our lives. Senior members have a tremendous responsibility to instill this thought in the minds of our new members, to follow it up and to provide the opportunities that can be accepted by the individual.
Our Lodge is a place where all men meet on the level but this does not automatically imply that all are mentally equipped to make use of the same type of material. Our strength lies in the wide diversity of our members. We draw from every walk of life. Let us classify ourselves as true Masons and think how we can direct Freemasonry as a FORCE in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Continuing achievement will not come through our interest in extolling the virtues of our organization but in making the Order and Craft visible in its service to the mankind. The benefits of Freemasonry are definitely not restricted to its members - they will endure to the advantage of all mankind if properly applied.
Freemasonry is considered to be the oldest fraternal organization in existence. Its systems, methods and morals have been copied by countless organizations, many of which, seem to draw our members away. WHY? Why should men who have been members of our Lodges lose interest? It is because we fail to grasp the opportunity of making them think.
Freemasonry does not consist of going to Lodge twice a month, attend a business meeting where minutes are confirmed and accounts passed for payment as well as socializing after these meetings. We must lift our sights and look to the future as we are builders, or at least our forebears were, and we can continue these traditions if we all think and avail ourselves of the opportunities placed before us.
“One of the main purposes of Freemasonry is the development of character.”
One of the main purposes of Freemasonry is the development of character. This theme follows like an unbroken thread through the workings of the three degrees. We are told what was achieved thousands of years ago in the building of King Solomon’s Temple in particular. It has been impressed upon us that these builders and masons were proud of their workmanship. Each man knew his station in life, each fulfilled his daily task to the best of his ability.
The teachings and lessons of our rituals are unfolded before our eyes and ears as a means of inducing us to fulfill our tasks on earth while there is still yet time. We know not the length of our sojourn on this earth. Let us not pass up any opportunity to build our own character and to help to build the character of those around us.
Let us be examples to those with whom we associate with in our daily life by performing our daily tasks honestly and to the best of our ability.
I would like to close with the following quotation made by the Grand Master of Kansas, Most Wor. Bro. Arthur Hodgson: “Masonry is a personal experience. True masonry is in living, in performing as a champion when there is no one in the stadium; in giving our best when there are no spectators and the crowd has gone home. True masonry is in giving of our best when only GOD knows and only self can judge what the quality of the gift may be.”