John Adams, our Second President wrote in one of his many letters that if the new Republic was to survive it would be due to Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Over the years, I have heard several Masonic speakers draw the conclusion that Adams and the French were of course referring to our Craft.
In fact, neither the French, nor Adams were talking about “the Fraternity” they were using the then preferred synonym for the word Brotherhood. At that point in history, writers of the time used the two words interchangeably. This is the same point in history when our rituals were written. So the next time you review your ritual, substitute the noun Brotherhood where you encounter Fraternity. It is an interesting perspective.
In today’s vocabulary, Fraternity is viewed in a much lighter context than intended in our teachings. This is largely because of college fraternities. I ask that each of you remember that Masonry takes on a more solemn mantle. We are, by tradition and practice, a true Brotherhood. That carries with it an importance and sense of dignity as an organization and that imprints itself on every Mason just as every Mason imprints himself on his Lodge.
Brothers, you may recall in the Master’s Charge we are, in part, instructed to support the dignity of our characters on every occasion. Dignity is an important concept. The dignity in a man shows through. A man reflects dignity through his caring for others, through humility, through his fortitude, honesty in word, thought and deed, his deference to God, his devotion to his family and kindness to all. By now you know that I have been stressing Family Friendly Freemasonry. To my mind, that is the first place we practice our Craft. Masonry is not about Grand Lodge. Masonry happens in Blue Lodges. This is that safe place where we learn to live as Brothers and practice Masonry. Then we take those lessons and practices from our lodges right back into our own homes. We must live up to our vows… at home, everyday. That is the miracle of Masonry. Through us it changes the world. A Brother attends Lodge meetings and the light of Masonry can shine across his entire life. As much as Our Shrine Hospitals change the world for the most vulnerable among us, the practice of our lessons is also changing the world, one Mason at a time.
Our families are nurtured and cared for by men who are part of this historic Brotherhood. Made up of men who take responsibility and carry the dignity of their character wherever they go. Our Masonic wives hold us to that standard and our children grow up learning to expect it. A wonder of masonry is it makes a better society, better families, and better communities just by supporting the teachings of our gentle craft.
So, my Brothers, as March’s message, I ask that we all consider our part in this treasured Brotherhood and in society. Let us bring civility, a serious reflection on our actions, and a sense of dignity everywhere we go. We all must continue to actively go forth in this month being upright Masons and thus the best men we know how to be, and while we are at it, let’s find more good men to expand what we do.
Thank you and God Bless.