Dear Brother, Our fraternity is the largest and strongest fraternity in the world’s history. We have millions of Brethren around the globe. What is it that we have that appeals to such a considerable number of men, regardless of race, creed or social class? What is it that we have that others don’t? What is it, really, that sets Freemasonry apart? I would assert that it is our ritual that makes us unique. Our ritual is the secret of how we attract so many good men. The same ritual practiced by Brothers George Washington, Revere, Mozart, Voltaire, and Lafayette was embraced by Brothers Norman Vincent Peale, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Ford, John Glenn, Harry Houdini, and Douglas MacArthur. Our lessons are open to men of all faiths, they are free of bigotry and oppression, which has appeal to all men. Our rituals tap into our basic urge to improve ourselves. Through Freemasonry, we seek to make our world a better place. Our ritual has stood the test of time and has served to develop great men, but the lessons imparted are somehow unique at the same time. In his book Lodge Leadership, Brother Matthew R. Nelson has made a brilliant comparison between our ritual and the Rorschach test for the mind. In our degrees, like the Rorschach test, each of us finds something unique for ourselves as we progress through the work of the degree. Depending on where we are at in life, our background, our experiences, we find lessons in each degree that seem to be custom designed for us. This is a very special gift that the Craft offers that speaks to each of us. (Nelson, 2012)
The degrees of Freemasonry have indeed stood the test of time. Each degree is progressive, building on the important lessons of the previous degree. As Entered Apprentices we are taught morality, as Fellows we are taught the importance of learning, and as Master Masons, we are taught about discipline and self-knowledge. According to our esteemed Brother and Masonic Author Martin Faulkes, “We know the principles of morality, we understand the outside world. But we have not realized our Order’s own true nature. The value of self-knowledge’s immeasurable. A man or a society must know its vices and failures before it can eliminate them. It must know its virtues and successes to build on them.”
It starts with each of us, like a seed. We must allow this system to bloom within us. It is our duty and obligation to make progress in self-improvement as well as in Masonic knowledge. I speak not only of the time we spend at the Lodge, for this is but a fraction of our obligation, but also of the need for spending quiet hours of personal study, by spending hours in the types of Masonic discussions that occur each month at our Masonic Discussion Group. We must contemplate the symbolism of our fraternity, the tools, and the ritual. When others see the path that you are on and the Masonic light that you project, they will follow you on that path.
Yours in Brotherhood,
Robert J. Gregory