MAY 2021: MASONIC HARMONY

Harmony, as we say is the strength and support of all societies especially of our noble brotherhood, it is meant to be the very foundation of our relationships with our fellow brethren and renders unto every mason his rightful wage of joy for his labors in his respective lodge or lodges. So vital is it’s preservation in our craft, yet disputes among it’s brethren continue to increase drastically, most often times leading to a brother acquiring the capital penalty of this institution. But why so?, when our Three Principal Tenets are mere instructions on how we may have a harmonious relationship as brethren and further intensified by the Five Points of Fellowship presented to us when we were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

During these past few years, Ironically at a time we are witnessing our numbers  and lodges increase exponentially, harmony among the brethren has receded to so far it’s lowest point that discord within our fraternity and among its members are broadcasted to other unconcerned brethren and much worse even to the profane through various social media platforms. Thus our very emotions, sentiments and opinions with regards to shortcomings of one another indeed become gossips to the delight of the public eye.

One reason probably is the inconsideration of the tenet of Truth, which instructs us that Hypocrisy and Deceit should be unknown among us.  Without Truth, Brotherly Love would simply be a stage play of a group of individuals pretending show concern with one another. Without Truth, Relief would be a heavy burden which a mason may impose upon himself to render assistance to his brother rather to consider it a duty to perform with pleasure to himself. And without Truth, lodges would simply be a group of hypocrites acting as brothers to each other. Hypocrisy, according to Illustrious Albert Pike is Satan attempting to clothe himself in the angelic vesture of light. Sadly, hypocrisy has indeed disguised itself as harmony to some of our brethren in our honorable fraternity.

To combat this, we need to tap the very basics of our masonic teachings, particularly the Mouth to Ear point of fellowship should be exercised at all times limiting the admonition to the concerned individual only. In conclusion Masonic Harmonywhich is to be Genuine Harmony should be founded by the virtue of Mutual Respect and Truth, with the Golden Rule in application in place of Envy, Self-Interest or Ambition. Masons may naturally practice Genuine Brotherly Love, render sincere Relief and enjoy the Masonic Harmony to treat one another as one family and on the same LEVEL.

 

JUNE 2021: MASONIC CHARITY

“And now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity these; but the

greatest of these is CHARITY” ( Corinthians 13:13)

By the foregoing verse lifted from the Volume of Sacred Law which is likewise a part of the degree perambulation. Charity is an inseparable aspect of Freemasonry. The importance of Charity is driven home to all candidates during the ceremony of initiation when they join the fraternity. Ceremonies of higher degrees of Masonry inform the candidates of the importance of “Charity”. These lessons influence us all to practice this unique virtue, right from the very first day we set our foot in the Lodge.

The most common concept given to charity is giving. We think we have practiced this unique virtue when we have extended our helping hand by giving money or services. Our brethren in the Craft focus on the charity of giving. What exactly is charity? Is our concept of it limited to giving material things? Is there another concept of this unique virtue?

Charity is not only giving. The virtue of Charity also means benevolent goodwill towards or love of humanity. Freemasons are taught of the principal tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. One often over-looked aspect of Charity is the exercise of Brotherly Love. On this principle, men are united regardless of country, sect or opinion, and establishes true friendship to exist among those right otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. The practice of Brotherly Love is the practice of the virtue of charity. The expression of concern on the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of a brother is an exercise of charity. We soothe the unhappy, sympathize with their misfortunes, compassionate their miseries and restoring peace to the troubled mind of a brother relieves him of his emotional burden. By these acts we show that charity is not only giving. Charity is having a CHARITABLE HEART and THOUGHT for every worthy Brother.

Let us fulfill our obligation to stretch forth our helping hands to raise them up from their distresses or afflictions.

When have we visited a Brother who is sick and downtrodden. When have we visited a Brother who lost a loved one? When have we extended comfort and encouraging words and wisdom to a Brother who is facing problems? “Our obligation is not to judge. Our obligation is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Our obligation is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken and to heal the hurting. If then, we have practiced the deeper meaning of CHARITY.

 

JULY 2021: FREEMASONRY, FAMILY and COMMUNITY

The aim of this month’s Masonic Education is to bring the family of each member of the Craft involved in the activities of our respective Lodges. We shall likewise want to show how masons and their families play a role in community building. The lodges under this Grand Jurisdiction are encouraged to hold activities/programs and projects where the members of their families participate. We encourage lodge dinners be sponsored where our wives, sons and daughters are our guests. Special Ladies’ Night programs be held to foster friendship and camaraderie among the ladies of our lodges. Plan for special events where our children are the center of our activity. Let us likewise have educational and entertainment programs which will involve the whole family. This will definitely show how our ancient institution makes each one of us become a better man, a better father, better husband and better brother to everyone. Let us create and sponsor events through our lodges which will allow every Master Mason, his wife and children to be together, to receive some educational information about Freemasonry and to be entertained and have fun. Freemasonry will give them a lasting impression; that time spent in the lodge and with other masons _is a quality family time together.

Further, let us make our lodges active in Community Involvement. Let us stir our imaginations and energy to sponsor activities in our community --- this way, everyone will know who the Masons are in the community. Everyone will know that Masons are concerned about the environment and other people’s needs. The community will know that Masons have time and energy for community building.

We should not confine to our Families and to our Masonic Fraternity our activities. We should likewise direct our attention and efforts to community outreach projects and initiatives that will benefit the residents of our community. We should direct our attention and concern to or socio-economically disadvantaged fellow men. Concerted efforts must be directed to help improve our public schools and the continued preservation of our community’s environment. This way we spread the good reputation of our Ancient Craft.

 

AUGUST 2021: OBLIGATION OF A MASON

Theoretically, Freemasons are bound to their oath which gives us the personality to consistently and freely meet, act and part as Brothers. As Entered Apprentices our eyes are opened to the reality of knowing one man as a brother of the craft and teaching the youngest fellow not to reveal any of his obligation and rituals to anyone except it be to a true and lawful Brother. Hence, It is synonymous to gaining respect to ourselves by being true to our sworn oath above the Holy Scriptures that binds us as man and to the Supreme Being.

In the second degree, being  Fellowcrafts, we are then taught that our obligations are not only contained to ourselves but also to a fellow brother. We are now being obligated to be responsible and careful with our expressions and conversations. Furthermore, it is an inviolable and sacred promise that if given to a brother “Strictly-In-Charge” that it must be faithfully kept until your last breath. Thus, this degree is more focused on our duties of being a Mason to another Freemason. Consistently, the penalty of this obligation in including the left breast torn open is a recollection of the charge when you were received at the doors of Freemasonry, that this is to signify to your mind and conscience should you ever reveal, etc.

Finally, the existence and raising from the dead which rises to the pedestal of being a Master Mason, our Obligation tells us that we are now to be most careful not only to ourselves and to our Brothers but also to the people around us. The extent of this obligation surpasses the prohibition of being a Man, being susceptible of weaknesses; it is now beyond oneself and stretches to the family, country and especially to the ever-living God. We now heed to the summons of our Lodge and especially to our Grand Lodge, adding the fact that we must be cautious with our acts towards another bringing a more heinous penalty of having our body shivered and burned, and most of all being forgotten.

To End, these obligations are there to remind us Masons that we should be more diligent and remember to be more upright in all our doings. We are guided by our tenets, whispered by our Brothers and reminded of our obligations, so we may live the pride and confidence as members of Brothers of this Ancient Craft.

 

SEPTEMBER 2021: REPUTATION OF THE FRATERNITY

In the Third Degree of our Fraternity every Master Mason is charged and administered “to preserve unsullied the reputation of the Fraternity” . The obligation calls for the preservation of our Fraternity in the eyes of the non-Masonic society. The best way that the reputation of the Fraternity is preserved is for every Master Mason  set a good example in our daily lives. Freemasonry shall always be known by the lives we live. In all our actions, the dignity and the character of every Master Mason is to be upheld. Master Masons should live up to all the teachings that are inculcated in it.

We are to guard ourselves against committing a Masonic offense, which has been defined as being, “Any act unbecoming a good man and true.”

Let us strive to personify the main tenets and personify the main tenets and principle of our Craft so that non-masons in our communities will feel its relevance and influence in their lives. Every Master Mason ought to be exemplary in his conduct and courteous in his manner.

We might fail in our Masonic Duties, however, it is disastrous to fail publicly in the observance and performance of them. When this happens,  we hurt the reputation of our Craft. Let us all then endeavor to live up to the teachings of our Fraternity. When we fail- we fail the Grand Lodge, our own Mother Blue Lodge and we fail ourselves.

Lets us all bear in mind brethren the words “INFLUENCE” begin with the letter "I”. The reputation of Freemasonry must be the highest and purest concern of the Master Masons.

 

OCTOBER 2021: WHISPER OF GOOD COUNSEL

Have you ever seen or met a brother failing to live up to  the moral standards, obligations, edicts, rules and regulations, constitution of our Ancient Craft? Whisper good counsel to his ears, gently admonish him of his errors and in most brotherly and friendly manner, seek to bring about reform. We are called to correct, aid assists our erring brothers. This month’s masonic education hopes to teach Master Masons to use the lips and the lounge only in the service of a failing brother. MW Quintin Paredes in one of his speeches once said, “I will call attention frequently adopted by certain Masons to criticize and find faults with others, a bad habit which some of these Brethren have carried to the extreme of speaking ill of others. They forget too easily and often, that tolerance is one of the virtues that should adorn the Mason, and that frankness and sincerity towards the Brother are essential to better understanding and harmony. If a Mason cannot say anything good of his Brother, he should at least keep silent. We must whisper good counsel in the ear of our erring Brother and not slander him or speak ill of him”

Admonition of a Brother’s fault is, then, the duty of every Master Mason, and no true one will, for either fear or power, neglect its performance. But as the duty is Masonic, so is there a Masonic way in which that duty should be discharged. We must admonish not with self-sufficient pride in our own reputed goodness, not in imperious  tones, as though we look down in scorn upon the offender – not it language that, by its hardness, will wound rather that win will irritate more than it will reform, but with that persuasive gentleness that gains the heart – with all the subduing influences of “mercy unrestrained” – with the magic might of love – with the language and the accents of affection, which mingle grave displeasure for the offense – with grief and pity for the offender.

This, and this alone is Masonic admonition. We will not rebuke our Brother in anger, for we, too, have our faults and shortcomings and we dare not draw around us the folds of our garment lest they should be polluted by our neighbors touch, but we are to admonish in private, not before the world,  for that would degrade him, and we are to warn  him, perhaps from our own example, how  nice should ever be followed by sorrow, for that godly sorrow leads to repentance, and repentance to amendment and an amendment to joy.

Finally, my brethren, let us avoid the social media. It is an interesting animal all in its own and present challenges to our obligations as well. It breeds miscommunication among us in resolving our issues and in making any whisper of good counsel private. Let us give our Masonic admonition in private. Let us not put our erring brother in an embarrassing situation, thru the social media posts we make, in chat groups or in the Facebook accounts and hide in our aliases. Let us perform our masonic obligation to whisper good counsel in the proper masonic way. For after all we all have but one aim – to help and please one another.

 

NOVEMBER 2021: THE MASTER MASON AND HIS LODGE

You have become a member of your Lodge when you have received the three (3) degrees of Masonry, proved your proficiency in them, and have signed the bylaws. It will always be your duty to be loyal to the Fraternity, faithful to your superior officers, and obedient to our Masonic Laws. You will be expected to pay your dues promptly and regularly, to stand ready to help a worthy brother Mason in sickness or distress and to support the charities of the Lodge as your conscience shall direct and your means permit. You are also expected to attend the communications as regularly as possible, and to discharge promptly and efficiently such specific Masonic duties as may be assigned to you.

Being a Mason means being a good citizen, loyal to your government, and conducting yourself as a wise and upright man, charged with an individual responsibility for maintaining the world’s respect for Masonry.

These in general are the duties imposed on a man who has become a Master Mason. Of all those duties, what have we done to our Lodge? Have we concerted our efforts and support it regardless of who is occupying the Oriental Chair? Do we look at the personalities who occupy the other Lodge positions? Have we worked for the programs of the Lodge as envisioned by the Master? Have we encouraged other brethren to keep the flame burning for our Lodge?

Let us hear this story to answer our questions.

Ten Master Mason, happy, doing fine; One listened to a rumor, then there were nine.

Nine Master Masons, faithful, never late; One didn’t like the “Master then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, on their way to heaven; One joined too many clubs, then there were seven.

Seven Master Masons, life dealt some hard licks; One grew discouraged, then there were six.

Six Master Masons, all very much alive; One lost his interest, then there were five.

Five Master Masons, wishing there were more; Got into a great dispute, then there were four.

Four Master Masons, busy as could be; One didn’t like the programs, then there were three.

Three Master Masons, was one of them you? One grew tired of all the work, then there were two.

Two Master Masons with so much to be done; One said “What’s the use,” then there was one.

One Master Mason, found a brother- true! Brought him to the Lodge, then there were two.

Two Master Masons didn’t find work a bore; Each brought another, then there were four.

Four Master Masons saved their Lodges fate; By showing others kindness, then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, loving their Lodges bright sheen, Talked so much about it, they soon counted sixteen.

Sixteen Master Masons, to their obligations true; Were pleased when their number went to thirty-two.

So we can’t put our troubles at the Lodges door; It’s our fault for harming the Lodge we adore.

Don’t fuss about the programs or the “Master” in the East; Keep your obligation by serving even the very least.

Let us not complain about the Master and his programs. We should always keep in mind the welfare of our Lodge. Keep the precepts, principles and teachings ever aglow in our hearts.

 

DECEMBER: BREAST TO BREAST

“Breast to breast, that you will keep the secrets of your

brother as your own, when given to you in charge as such,

murder and treason excepted.”

There are duties owing by every Freemason to his Brethren, which, from their symbolic allusion to certain points of the body, and from the lesson of Brotherly Love which they teach, are called the Five Points of Fellowship. They are symbolically illustrated in the Third Degree and have been summed up as assisting a Brother in distress, supporting him in his virtuous undertakings, praying for his welfare, keeping inviolate his secrets, and vindicating his reputation as well in his absence as in his presence.

The keeping of a brother’s secret has more to it than mere silence. The moment a brother confides his secret to a fellow brother, he reposes trust and confidence in you. He believes that you will never betray his trust. To betray a trust is never the act of a brother. When a secret is confided by a brother, we have the responsibility to preserve it! We cannot suffer our tounqes to betray a brother.

Ironically, we forget our obligation and the third point of fellowship. When a brother confides his secret, it spreads like fire among the Brethren. What if the secret places him in danger? Have we given him the sympathy and understanding he seeks? Brethren, we are our brother’s keeper. In keeping a brother’s secret we keep his reputation preserved in his absence as well as in his presence. Brethren, let us keep our brother’s secrets, close in our hearts, until our brother wants them known.