The Abiding Power and Influence of Masonry
By Right Worshipful Brother Morris Rozen
Address at Lodge Kaapstad
6 December 1999
Every individual is by nature endowed with certain traits of character which form the basis of reason and the conduct of life. In fact, these natural traits or tendencies are but signposts along the highway of life directing us in our words, thoughts and actions.
If by self-analysis we can consider and discard those traits which seem to lead us in the wrong direction, and at the same time cultivate those natural tendencies which point the way to higher achievements, then we have successfully carried into effect one of the great principles of Freemasonry.
Our station in life is fixed many times by conditions or circumstances over which we have no control. Consequently the individual is master of his own destiny. It would therefore seem that the niche which we are to occupy has already been carved for us by some natural or divine power.
The heights to which we can rise are pretty well defined by the powers and deficiencies within us. Our ability to make proper decisions, the height of our own ambitions, and the relationships existing between ourselves and our fellow men are the cardinal principles which determine our success as individuals and as citizens.
Masonry recognizes the faults of the individual member and endeavours by precept and example to curb irregularities. It provides an opportunity for self-improvement by regular attendance at its meetings and through the study and application of its beautiful ceremonies and lectures. It provides the opportunity for social contact whereby men from every walk of life may meet upon common ground.
Here are taught the correct principles of righteous living, to get along with our neighbour and our fellow man. Here we are taught the three great virtues – faith, hope and charity – reminding us of our triple duties as Masons: those we owe to God, to our brethren and to ourselves.
The great hope of society is the individual character. The abiding power and influence of Masonry lies in the character of those who compose its membership. It is not the intent of Freemasonry to reform any man; rather it is our hope to help a worthwhile man to improve himself. The ritual does not do his thinking for the candidate and the lodge does not do his thinking for a mason. Each one must do his thinking and interpretations for himself.
He who truly understands Freemasonry knows that it is a moral philosophy. Moral laws cannot be contacted by the senses; they cannot be measured in kilowatts, metres or kilograms. They cannot be mixed in test tubes or examined by microscopes. Freemasonry teaches that they are just as sure, just as certain and just as inflexible as the laws which are scientific or mathematical.
The value of life is not in just being alive. It is in developing, growing and enlarging the mind. It is in training the emotions, cultivating the appreciations, producing a personality and developing a soul. It is in making ones existence productive, lifting oneself up into something of positive value.
If Masonry is to survive then we must have faith in God, in our brethren and in ourselves. Our hope in the future depends on the quality, example and the sincerity that we as Freemasons set on our journey through life.