Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are You a Master Mason?

A lot of men ask me if I think every Mason should be a 32° Mason. Since I am privileged to serve the craft in Oklahoma as the Secretary of one of the most popular and respected Scottish Rite organizations in America, you would think I would enthusiastically respond in the affirmative; touting a long list of reasons why it is so very true that all Masons should be Scottish Rite Masons!

Well, you might be surprised to learn that my answer to this question is “no.”

I think what we get out of Masonry depends so much on how we feel in our heart about being a Master Mason. We all know that some men are Master Masons in name only. Remember—we are admonished by the Worshipful Master well after we have taken all the obligations of Craft Masonry that we are not yet Master Masons; and we may never become Master Masons. We are told of a journey we must first make, and are informed the path will be arduous at best. We are warned that if we do make it, we will make it only as a matter of faith and will.

It turns out this journey is no less than our own life journey. And, for every one of us, that journey is still a work in progress. In a very real sense, we are all Master Masons at times; while, at other times, our actions fall short of the ideals we are taught in Masonry.

In evaluating how we are doing, here are some important questions: Have we done anything different with our life since we were initiated as Entered Apprentices? Do we know we are better men today than before? Have we become transformed by our experience of becoming a Mason? Are we more caring, less selfish, more thoughtful, less judgmental, more sharing, less rigid, more willing to learn and grow and help others who are on the same journey with us?

There are many ways of testing whether or not we have done anything different with our lives since we became brothers of the Mystic Tie together. It’s really a matter of becoming aware that we are actively and consciously working toward our own personal growth and development. It is this awareness which makes Masonry the most important work we will ever do--because, in large measure, our happiness is based on ourselves.

This brings me back to my earlier response. Here’s the question I usually ask when a brother inquires about becoming a 32° Mason. Are you ready to make the journey into yourself to discover who you are and learn what it means to live a life of meaning; so that you will not only become a better man, but will also have made so lasting an impression on your family and fellowmen that they, in turn, will want to live like you?

You see, this is the kind of faith and will which ultimately makes us Master Masons. To be a good man is not the only qualification to be accepted. An appropriate intellectual and spiritual level of personal development is also to be considered.

If we are men of such hope and conviction; if we have a deep yearning to discover our inner nature and strive to make the best of our own life’s journey--to live a life that makes a positive difference to ourselves and others--then we are Master Masons; and the right kind of men to be Masters of the Royal Secret.

For such men, the "book of the world" lies open before them. The reward is in the journey.


Anonymous said...

Brother Robert,

I enjoyed your question regarding the Masonic Journey. I believe that I can reply in the affirmative. However, I am not sure if I am making any progress in this work. My fellows seem to think I am misguided in my tolerance and affection for others. I am not sure anyone wishes to follow my path.


Brad Strand

Robert G. Davis said...

Br. Brad:

Thank you for your post. I cannot tell another man how to evaluate his own progress. Every one begins at his own place and he has to advance from there. However, my guess is that if you feel inside your answer to my question was in the affirmative, then you have made good progress.

As for what others think about the changes you have made, you are either not associating with the right men; or you are making such a good impression they are feeling insecure about themselves. :)

In the big picture, what they think may not matter. It's what you know about yourself that is important.

Unknown said...

Bro Robert Davis,

It is a wonedrful blog that gives some insights. I am in Freemasonry for nearly 30 years, and I find that the Craft degrees and a few of the side degrees like the Scottish Cryptic, give us some real insights. There are so many side degrees (??) which are now on, and many have taken it (joined) , even myself. Just r5eading the ceremonial part and being a Founder or Head or afterwards Grand Officers - what does it all mean. I have been Scretary and Treasurer for a few of them for lon long years, and I find it that toi keep the Brethren engaged and to learn more reuires a lot of will, hard work -that is learning, educating and trying to communicate -is the real work that has to be sustained.

So you are right. The Craft Degrees itself leads you to level and makes you more level-headed if you do understand Freemasonry.
-Bro Subramaniam Krishnan
Brother from Lodge Madras 1342 SC working at Chennai, South India.