Have you ever thought about what makes a man a Mason? As a member of our Fraternity, you well know that our obligations are instrumental in making us Masons. Since someone outside of our Fraternity has not witnessed our obligations, how would they know a man to be a Freemason? By his ring, a shirt, a car emblem, or a hat? On the surface, that answer is correct, if in fact he was a Brother. Does regular attendance at lodge meetings and functions make you a better Mason? It possibly could, if you take to heart and mind the lessons you may learn while attending lodge.
I have concluded that a Mason’s willingness to practice selfless acts of charity is one of the identifiers of a true Brother. Recently I received two petitions for membership in our lodge. Looking them over, there were a few sentences that jumped out at me in the Principles and Purposes of Freemasonry section. They are as follows:
“Freemasonry strives to teach man the duty he owes to God, his country, his neighbor, and himself.
It expects its members to obey the moral law and practice charity towards all mankind.
It believes its members should have a strong desire to aid their fellow creatures.
The aim of a true Freemason is to cultivate a Brotherly feeling among men, and to help, aid, and assist whomsoever he can.”
The reason they caught my eye is because they speak of charity. When we speak of charity towards each other, it is more than helping a Brother when he is down on his luck. It can be something simple as words of encouragement, or good counsel, or speaking kindly on our Brothers’ behalf. It can be expressed by helping out at a lodge event or workday. It can be working hard to perform a degree well. As a Mason, we are taught to be charitable to our Brothers and their families. But this charity extends to all mankind as well, always within the length of your cable tow. You see, if a Mason practices charity for all the right reasons, he is a Mason in his heart. He is a Mason in his heart because he does these things, not because of peer pressure, or because he was told he should. He does it because he enjoys helping others, because of “that strong desire to aid his fellow creatures.” When we feel the joy of helping another out, we have learned what the wages of a Master Mason really are. This is how we “live respected and die regretted.”
Sincerely & Fraternally,
John L. LoSapio, Jr.