By Brother Jason Laramee, Education Committee Chairman
The “Whence Came You?” Podcast, a Masonic podcast with an average global reach of two hundred fifty thousand listens per episode, held a Masonic essay contest in late 2022. Wisconsin Freemasons are proud to report that Brother Chad Svacina of Collins-Spring Valley Masonic Lodge No. 192 was chosen as the winner, writing an essay that brilliantly captures the essence of Brotherly Love.
When asked about our Brother’s essay, the voice of the WCY Podcast, Brother Robert Johnson said “Svacina’s piece was unique. Everyone had great essays. We received two dozen ‘one pagers’. I whittled it down to just three papers. I couldn’t decide. I asked my wife to read them. She handed me Bro. Svacina’s paper and I asked, ‘Why?’ She said what I was thinking as well. It was from the heart and it was in a language that made sense to everyone. It really was a wonderful essay.”
That great piece is printed here in its entirety. If you would like to listen to it, the episode number is 576 and it is titled “Brotherly Love: A New Perspective.”
Brotherly Love is a peculiar thing in this day and age, especially in our society. I envy the Greeks, Italians, French, and many others, for they have numerous defined variations of Love within their language. I also enjoy our language and vernacular because we don’t have that defined. Love can mean a whole host of things. In the manner of Brotherly Love within our craft, it is wondrous. Brotherly Love is the most enigmatic tenant of our organization. At times it is the easiest, and at others, it is the most arduous. Some Brothers challenge us, and there are Brothers that champion us and effortlessly reciprocate Brotherly Love.
Most of us have seen an image of the statue where a man is chiseling his way out of his ashlar, perfecting himself. There are many titles for this image and many variations of this; however, this image is flawed. It is flawed because it depicts the man alone. He is not, and you are not alone. One can visualize a checkered floor with many statues sprawled out, though in close proximity to one another, individuals chipping away piece by piece to perfect their ashlar. In reality, they are conversing, exchanging ideas, tools, chisels, gavels, and flinging bits of stone and dust to the nearest Brother. Some are further along the process than others. Some have been there for a long while but have accomplished less. However, the level of accomplishment means nothing to anyone but the laborer. We have failed when we see our laboring as an exercise in a vacuum. Again, we are not alone nor in a vacuum; we work together, guiding, learning, advising, and Loving.
It is a fleeting experience where men of all races, creeds, and ages can smile, hug, and laugh together without any reservations. To be able to go to lodge, any lodge for that matter, and be able to have that grandfather, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend figure present is humbling. We will butt heads, disagree, and might even errantly hold a grudge, but we would be remiss if that ever overshadows our Love for each other. This tenant is what makes us the greatest, most prestigious fraternal organization ever. Remember our time together is short and unknown; please do not squander it, Love your Brothers.
Congratulations, Brother Chad — and may his great and inspirational words help spread the cement of Brotherly Love!