The following message was delivered during the joint Reception of the Grand Master at Seware Lodge No. 6 and Kenai Lodge No. 11 on March 26, 2009.
We, as Freemasons, are taught to believe in love for each other and for all mankind. What is it though that binds us together so strongly that we “regard the whole human race as one family – the high and the low, the rich and the poor”? What is it that induces us to give of ourselves and our possessions to those in need or to even jeopardize our lives to help those facing mortal threats? If we were a religion, our motivation to do good might be to please God and gain an entrance into heaven. From a civil standpoint, we might be trying to avoid the penalty of law. If we were involved in a commercial enterprise, our benevolence might be driven by financial gain. If we were tied by blood, we would have familial obligations to each other. We are, however, a fraternity, and the ties that bind us together are stronger than religious, civil, commercial, or familial bonds. We freely associate as equals for the mutually beneficial purpose of making each and everyone of us better citizens, better neighbors, better fathers, and better husbands.
In his book, “Freemasons for Dummies, Christopher Hodapp tells us that the philosophy of Freemasonry is “the love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline, and a system of values by which one lives . . . Masons are taught to be lovers of wisdom, to pursue and value knowledge, and to live by a moral code of self-discipline.” In our first degree we are informed that Freemasonry consists of a course of symbolic and moral instruction, that “Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Through the succeeding degrees, we are introduced to characters and events which are understood to symbolically express deeper and often spiritual and moral meanings. Through initiation into Masonry, each Mason here has shared in the common experience through a fundamental process of change, a change from one who is profane to one that is a lover of wisdom, truth, and his fellowmen. It is that shared experience that unites us into a brotherhood. It is that common experience that, also, instills in us a desire to use our God given talents to their fullest energy to “do good unto all”.
The obligations we take as Masons impose a duty upon each and every one of us. We are enjoined to use our gifts to the best of our abilities. The important thing, however, is how we use our gifts, how we share, how we give, how we love one another.
Freemasons are pursuers of truth and knowledge. We gain insight into the nature of the world and our fellowman through the study of the history and philosophies of the past. We learn how to apply the lessons we learn to our own self improvement and thereby become better men. However, the process of becoming a Mason is not a solitary pursuit, but one that is accomplished in the presence of brethren with whom we share a sacred bond. We are enjoined, therefore, to continue our pursuit of Masonic Light, to continue a lifelong journey of self discovery, of spiritual and intellectual growth within the confines of our lodges.
Within our brotherhood we grow and prosper as Masons and our brotherhood is strengthened by our presence. Lets us pledge, therefore, to become better men, better Masons, and by all means better Brothers.