five masonic thoughts
Bro. William A. Carpenter
From a "Masonic Culture" handbook issued by the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge
of Pennsylvania we have extracted several items which came from the inspired pen
of Brother William A. Carpenter, the current Right Worshipful Grand Master,
written many years ago. They stand the test of time.
OUR BASIC FUNCTION.
The basic function of a Masonic Lodge is to make Master Masons.
This does not mean the formality of raising candidates. It extends far beyond
that period in the life of a Mason. The task of making Master Masons must be
directed toward all of us, those who are Master Masons and those who are in the
process of becoming Master Masons.
The fruits of our efforts to teach and to learn about Freemasonry, the interest
that we show the candidates as we welcome them into the new world of
Freemasonry, will be evident in the years to come.
If we sow well, we are bound to reap well.
BEING WELL AND DULY PREPARED.
Being "Well and Duly Prepared" is a Masonic expression. Masons understand its
significance in the Lodge Rooms. However, they may also interpret it outside the
Lodge. No Mason enters even the ground floor of the Lodge unless he is "Well and
Duly Prepared." So simple is his dress that it provokes no envy. He is dressed
properly for the occasion, and everyone so dressed feels perfectly at ease among
his Brethren. No place here for the rich to boast of fine raiment and
resplendent jewels, nor for the poor to envy his more fortunate Brother or covet
his wealth. Their clothing in each case symbolizes labor and innocence. With
hand and brain, each is ready to serve his fellowman; with forbearance and
toleration, each is willing to forgive the crude and ignorant everywhere.
To carry the symbolism of Masonic in- vestiture still further, every Mason
should be clothed in the habiliments of truth. His war- drobe should contain the
robe of justice, with which to protect those who, for any reason, have been
deprived of their just rights; the man- tle of charity, with which to comfort
those made destitute, many times by no cause of their own; the tunic of
toleration, with which to hide the weakness of the wayward, and help them to the
road of recovery; the cloak of mercy, with which to cover the wounded and
suffering in mind or body with unstinted sympathy and kindness.
These garments are all of genius quality, measured and cut by a Master Tailor.
They are serviceable and in good taste on every occasion. They, too, may be had
without money and without price, and, the man who wears them is truly "properly
clothed," and "Well and Duly Prepared" as a Master Mason.
FREEMASONRY IS MANY THINGS.
Freemasonry is a Story of Life; with all its joys, its heartaches, its
failures and its final triumph over all earthly things.
Anyone can read it, in countless books. Its teachings, its symbols, and its
ambitions, are open for general obseration. They are practiced in the light, and
held up for all the world to see.
Freemasonry is not practiced in the dark, neither are its teachings the dogma of
some for- bidden cult. We, as Freemasons, are required to reflect the light; to
practice its teachings and love by their direction. No greater thing can be said
of Freemasonry than that it is an ideal way of life.
No other fraternity offers such profound lessons in its Ritual or Work as does
Free- masonry. Each word and each act in the ceremonies of the Lodge carries a
true lesson to each of us, if we will but open our eyes to see, our ears to hear
and hearts to accept.
We can study Freemasonry for years, as we attend its meetings, and each time we
stop to think on the things said and done, we get a new meaning and inspiration
from them. There is a never-ending source of pleasure in the various shades of
meaning that can be read into each line of our work. Each new meaning and inter-
pretation that we put into some word or act will make that passage live for us,
and we will begin to see Freemasonry for what it is intended. Great men have
devoted many years of study and meditation to the cause of Freemasonry and when
their work is finished they realize that they have only begun to see the light
and that they have only started to uncover the true meanings of the work.
Freemasonry has been talked of and written about by countless men in every
country of the world. Its members have been persecuted in all lands at one time
or the other, but is still grows and flourishes as no other fraternity on earth
There must be something good and great in Freemasonry, for it to stand through
the years as a beacon of light to its members and as a symbol of the true way of
life for all to see and follow. Its greatness is not due to it.s secret
teachings, its mysteries or fanfare of its deeds, but rather to the profound
lessons taught to its members and to the comfort, inspiration and enlightenment
brought to all who will but study
Freemasonry frowns on advertising its good deeds, preferring to let those who
benefit from them reflect its goodness, that others might have hope and desire
the better things of life. Freemasonry offers comfort to those who sorrow, hope
for those who despair, wise counsel for those who err, and the joys and
contentment of life to all.
SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND.
The mak- ing of a Freemason consists in a continued course of education, and
of character forming. While it may be accepted that it is an innermost desire,
followed by obligations that makes one a member of the Craft, yet in a truer
torm dnd better sense, a man is never a Freemason until he truthfully and
loyally lives up to his obliga- tions. And he cannot do that until he
understands them, and eventually knows their scope and real meaning.
Freemasonry can very well be divided into many phases. Its landmarks, its
customs, its constitution and its laws, just to mention a few, if studied and
mastered, can provide a most in- teresting course for the Master Mason seeking
Masonic knowledge. Its historical background can provide an interesting program
of in- vestigation to the member attracted to a desire for research.
One peculiarity about Freemasonry is that it will stand investigation. The
deeper the research, the more extensive the knowledge of its hidden art and
mysteries, the more highly it is appreciated. A member of the Craft who merely
takes his degrees in a listless, careless sort of manner, and then remains as
just a spec- tator at Lodge meetings, may hold to the opi- nion that Freemasonry
differs little from other societies. To the contrary, the Master Mason who
delves deeply into Masonic literature, takes a lively interest in every part of
the Ritualistic and lodge Work, and learns the origin, meaning and moral bearing
of its sym- bols, cannot possibly fall into such an error. To him Freemasonry
has a refining and elevating influence not to be found in the ordinary run of
The philosophies of Freemasonry, when discovered and then accepted and
practiced, provide that simple but profound solution to the problems of human
relationships. May it be accepted that Freemasonry is a way of living to the
Master Mason who is interested enough to appraise and value the wealth that is
his, and his alone, by virtue of his Masonic Member- ship.
The best informed Master Mason is the Master Mason who reads and studies. Conse-
quently, if we want Freemasonry to be of prac- tical usefulness and cultural
attainment, we, as Freemasons, must not neglect our Masonic reading, our Masonic
studying and our research for more Masonic Light.
NEEDED: A KNOWLEDGE OF FREE- MASONRY.
At no time in Masonic history has there been a greater need for understanding
of what Freemasonry is and what it stands for than there is today. Much has been
left undone in the education of Members of our Lodges.
The first essential in Masonic education is that desire to become interested and
enthused in Freemasonry followed by a thirst for knowledge as to what
Freemasonry is all about. Here is where the instructors can serve well and can
influence the candidate in a continuous search for more Masonic Light.
The qualifications for instructing are less exciting than may be imagined. What
is essen- tial is a basic knowledge of Freemasonry by the instructor. In this
day and age, with so many counter attractions, it becomes more evident that
greater efforts must be put forth to instruct our new Members in the ideals and
fundamen- tals of Freemasonry.
Every Lodge should have a definite pro- gram along authentic Masonic educational
lines. We must understand what Freemasonry really is before we can practice
Freemasonry in our lives. We must remember that Freemasonry is judged by the
actions of its individual members. We must set an example to those out- side the
Craft at all times.
The need for Masonic knowledge is often evidenced in our Lodges, This can be
alleviated where dedicated members qualify as instructors and then serve in
teaching the principles and fundamentals of Freemasonry to all who will listen.
What is Masonry?
by Bro. Walter H. Bonn, Victor, Iowa
It's not a sign or handshake, a hall where tilers sit,
It's not a guarded building, where passwords will admit,
It's not a place of symbols, which Wardens oft display,
It's not a lodge of members, who meet in white array.
It is the home of justice, of liberty and truth,
Of loyalty to country, of sympathy for youth,
Of succor for a brother, of gentleness and cheer,
Of tolerance for neighbors, whose life is often drear.
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