Friday, March 11, 2011

Freemasonry, Vehicle or Destination?

Washington, Mozart, Bolivar, Ford, Franklin, Churchill, etc. we have all seen the list. It is a very important draw to the order. It got me. When a perspective man begins his research into Freemasonry it is a very shiny lure to drop the names of the most famous and influential men of the last 300 years or so and point out that they were all "brothers". Lodges and Grand Lodges use the list often to convince men that if they decide to join the craft that all of a sudden their names can be added to the list and who doesn't want to be on that list. The big problem for modern Freemasonry is that we seldom do what is required to make a man into someone who belongs on the list, we just act as though the decision to knock on the West Gate and the eventual passage through the degrees is all that is needed to be thought of as a brother of some great men. But what have most Freemasons done?
One of my biggest pet peeves, that occurs more often than not in the lodges I have been to, is the big huzzah and congratulations offered to a brother who has gone through a degree. Congratulations... REALLY? For what? Paying a fee, getting asked a couple questions about your background and then waddling through and listening to some  hopefully decently delivered ritual? Congratulate me for graduating school, or getting married or having a child but don't congratulate me for joining a fraternity. When I was master I made it a point to say WELCOME, not hurray. The time after a degree is a time for feeling out the man who has made it through the initial investigation and is now bound to us as a brother, not celebrating a decision. An EA is the closest thing to the profane as a Mason gets and still has much to prove. Very often the journey ends there for many men who satiated their curiosity and see what most do not.
Freemasonry is meant to be a transformation. The ancient initiatory process of vetting a man and teaching him things he already knew in a different light and forcing him to delve deeper into himself and his trust of others in order to reveal what it is he was put here for, is what the order is meant to do. Freemasonry is a vehicle for the transformation of a regular man into something better. Far too often it is treated as some mystical destination that just by being there will elevate you and that is surely not the case.
Which brings me back to the list. All of the great men who are on that list are great men because of what they did for the benefit of mankind, not Freemasonry. It is my belief that these astounding leaders and creators were drawn to the order and used it as a foundation to develop their true purpose and then shared it with the world, none of them made Freemasonry the "end all, be all" of their existence.

1 comment:

wasabitoothpaste said...

very interesting blog :)