August 1, 2002
TO: MY MANY PRINCE HALL F&AM BROTHERS
Praying that when you receive this letter it finds you and yours in God's great love and care. I would like to start this letter giving you an update on how this quest is going. My mailing list has grown to 140 and going to 30 different states to include Kuwait, Germany, Korea, Okinawa and Canada. I am excited with the responses that I have been receiving and the encouragement to stay strong and finish the race. I thank you my Brothers.
I have thought hard on this month's subject and as the Lord would have it he laid upon my heart to write about the DANGERS that hinder Masons from living up to their responsibilities.
These DANGERS fog up a Mason's mind and he begins to take away from the good of Masonry. We are no longer one and go our different ways. We concern ourselves with the wrong things rather then the rights things to do.
Some of these DANGERS which a striving Mason will face in his travels are, Lack of brotherhood, Gossip, Slander, Lack of Vision, Lack of Courage, Jealousy, Ignorance and Apathy. These DANGERS affect every Mason, who is on the path to better Himself, Lodge, Family and Community. Each one can tear down Masonry and we will never be in one accord. I will discuss each one of these DANGERS and my thoughts come from much reading, experiences and many observations.
Lack of Brotherhood: Is the first DANGER because it is the primary foundation upon which the brotherhood of Masonry rest. Brotherhood is not an idyllic term that sounds good when rolled off the tongue, but it is real, inner knowledge of unity and oneness that each of us feels toward each other. Now I know this is hard but always first try to see the other Brother's point of view in all matters and discussions. Everyone has differences of opinions and anything that you may discuss try to find reasons to support their viewpoint even if it contradicts yours. Always be an example to the Lodge with courtesy, respect, solemnity and cooperation. Brotherhood is the cement that binds families, groups and the Masonic Order together. It must begin with you.
Gossip: Have you heard the saying that the tongue is the most dangerous weapon known to man. Brothers I am here to tell that the tongue is very much a dangerous weapon to man, woman and now more importantly our youth. I don't need to tell you about the problems with our youth, you read and hear about it everyday. Gossip is the poison in your personality polluting the bloodstream and minds of our Brothers. Those who Gossip have nothing but a small life that is going to waste. Gossip hates anyone that is different from them and there is no room in the Order for this type of Brother.
Slander: Is humanity's most destructive way of using the organ of speech. These are Brothers that are always praising you and at the same time talking behind your back. These are Brothers that will usually form their own little groups. These Brothers will give a lot of false information about a Brother. Brothers if someone begins to slander in your presence walk away from them.
Lack of Vision: Is where many Masons fail their Lodge. When elected to the highest seat in the Lodge, the Worshipful Master must have a vision as to where he wants to see the Lodge go. To many times we elect a brother on friendship of just because he was the Senior Warden and we think he needs to serve as the next Master. If the Senior Warden did nothing for the year he was Warden what do you think he is going to do as Master. The Worshipful Master must present his Lodge every year a vision of cooperative activities for the benefit of the Order. Where there is no vision there is no leadership, the Lodge is lost. The Worshipful Master who has failed this has failed the Lodge and Masonry.
Lack of Courage: To stand on the principles of Masonry, is having the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what is right. When a decision has been made on an issue in the Lodge you have to support it. In doing so you strengthen the Lodge and it will be known as a Lodge that is true in word and deeds. A Lodge without courage will fail when the going gets tuff and this is called failure to stand and fight for our principles when situations call for it.
Jealously: Is one of the causes of cancer with its seeds in the emotional body of man. Jealous Brothers resent the achievements of their striving Brothers and they themselves lack vision. How to break jealously? Whenever you feel this ugly emotion rise up in you, visualize in your mind that you posses whatever it is that is causing the initial reaction. This one is real hard to beat but think like this, "I wish to share what I have with you so that we can have a share in the Abundance of Life".
Ignorance: This is a lack of knowing better and a complete lack of understanding and awareness. This is very dangerous because decisions made in ignorance harm the Lodge by leaving holes in the Order. These Masons know very little about ritual and the teachings of Masonry itself. These are people that say "well we have always done this in the past why change". Through their ignorance, they resent the inquiries of the new members and act all hush-hush like everything is some sacred secret. Always keep an open mind; remember the world is going to change with or without you.
Apathy: Let someone else do it. We see at many Lodges two or three Brothers doing all the work. When something happens to the Order in an emergency, the Brothers with Apathy don't choose a side or a principle. They just let the few working Brothers fight for the principle and for the foundation of the Order. They become weights others have to carry. This is where leadership plays a big role again, if the Worshipful Master has no drive what is the craft going to do.
These are some of the DANGERS we face in our Masonic walk, they are truly real and you see them most when you are at important meetings (i.e. Project Committees, District Sessions, Grand Lodge Sessions) when you have Brothers that show up with their own hidden agenda. These DANGERS attack the Order and are all self-driven.
If we truly LOVE Masonry we'll counter attack these DANGERS with Honesty, Watchfulness, Service, Listening to the Heart, Energy and Keeping the joys of Masonry. This is an on going battle that will be won with total devotion to Prince Hall Masonry
I pray for continuous Peace, Love and Understanding. My joy for Masonry will not be stolen from me because I have unspeakable Joy. WE ARE PRINCE HALL'S HOPE.
PM RICHARD (RICAN) VEGA