November 1, 2002
TO: MY MANY PRINCE HALL F&AM BROTHERS,
Greeting you with continuous Friendship and Brotherly Love. I write you again with my thoughts and ideas on my quest in the uplifting of Prince Hall Masonry.
This has been a challenging project lately. There have been many things that have happen in my life this past month. I traveled to Kentucky for my youngest son's wedding, received news about my 78 year old mother who has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, got one of my daughter getting married on the 27th of November in Puerto Rico and other challenges that have come lately. To all of this I give my GOD the Glory.
Before I start this month's topic I would like to share so discussions I have had with some Brothers. Brothers have asked me why don't I e-mail my letters instead of sending them in regular mail? My answer to that question is that I believe that when I write to you and sign my name at the bottom it's personal from me to you. You have a document in hand and you have a decision as to what you are going to do with it. On e-mail many Brothers read and delete, and the meaning for the letter is lost. Some Brothers have taken the liberty to put some of my letters on different web sites; I applaud you and keep it going. I do invite you to a great Web Site that carries some of my letters and has great Prince Hall material. It's from District 9 out of Europe and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington State, (www.d9beehive1.com/).
Many people have asked, what makes a Mason? This is a hard question for some Brothers to answer. We all have our own beliefs and perceptions to this question.
I believe that a man's character makes him a Mason. It's truly not the three degrees he under goes. The degrees help mold the man into a mason. The true process begins during his in process. The key being with the Brother that recommended him. When we recommend a profane we must make a determination as to what we see in that person that will make him a good Mason. We should be looking for someone who will emulate us and when we are satisfy then and only then should we sign our names on a petition.
The next process is the Investigation committee. Here we send out three Qualified Brothers who will screen the profane and make an assessment to inform the Lodge that the person is qualified to be allow to take part in the three degrees of Masonry. These Brothers will talk with him and discuss with him his desires and intent. They look into his background, asset his home life and talk with his wife if married. The committee then brings it before the Lodge and we as a body vote to allow him to partake in the three degrees.
As the candidate goes through the degrees we continue to asset him and see his inner strength and his weaknesses. We teach him that living his Obligations, understanding and applying his Working Tools and understanding his Charges he would become a good Mason.
A man's character before he becomes a Mason and what he learns as a Mason makes him a good Mason if he applies himself to our standards. A Mason must hear the needs of his Fellow Man, Community, Church and Family. He must give of himself in all undertakings. He has to be forever ready to answer the call for help. He becomes a beacon of light through his actions and deeds. His compassion is real, his love is genuine, and he stands tall for justice and his Country.
We should remember the last paragraph of the first part of the Master Mason charge.
Your virtue, honor and reputation are concern in supporting with dignity the character you now bear. Let no motive, therefore, make you swerve from your duty, violate your vows, or betray your trust, but be true and faithful, and imitate the example of that celebrated artist whom you have this evening represented. Thus you will render yourself worthy of the honor which we have conferred, and merit the confidence we repose in you.
We remembering that and applying the Five Points of Fellowship that we where Raised on we will understand "What Makes A Mason".
I would like to leave you with another good writing that I found in my readings this past month. It is titled What Makes a Mason?
WHAT MAKES A MASON?
What makes you a Mason, O brother of mine?
It isn't the dueguard, nor is it the sign,
It isn't the jewel which hangs on your breast,
It isn't the apron in which you are dressed,
It isn't the step, nor the token, nor grip,
Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip,
Nor yet the possession of that mystic word
On five point of fellowship duly conferred.
Though these are essential, desirable, fine,
They don't make a Mason, O brother of mine.
That you to your sworn obligation true—
‘Tis that brother mine, makes a mason of you.
Secure in your heart you must safeguard your trust,
With lodge and with brother be honest and just,
Assist the deserving who cry in their need,
Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed,
Support him who falters, with hope banish fear,
And whisper advice in an erring one's ear.
Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine,
And you'll be a Mason, O brother of mine.
Your use of life's hours by the gauge you must try,
The gavel to vices with courage apply;
Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plump,
On the level, to bourn whence no travelers come;
The Book of your faith be the rule and the guide,
The Compass your passions shut safely inside;
The stone which the Architect placed in your care
Must pass the strict test of His unerring square,
And then you will meet with approval divine,
And you'll be a Mason, O brother of mine.
That writing was by George H. Free
We must stand together and be GOOD MASONS. Let continue to uplift Prince Hall Masonry. I WILL.
RICHARD (RICAN) VEGA