July 1, 2002
TO: MY MANY PRINCE HALL F&AM BROTHERS
Brothers praying that you and your families are in our Lords Grace and Peace. I would like to thank the many Brothers that have called and e-mailed me on how my last letter affected them. These kind of communication is the only way I know that there is positive results happening within our orders.
I talked about LEADERSHIP in my last letter and as I thought about a topic for this month RESPONSIBILITIES came to mind. We can demand Quality Leadership but as the CRAFT we have Key Responsibilities in supporting our Leaders.
Our Responsibilities to the Lodge are found in our Obligations, Charges and Masonic Code. There are many and here are a few:
1. I will keep and never reveal any of the secrets of our hidden mysteries.
2. By the exercise of Brotherly Love we are taught to regard the human race as one family, the high, the low, the rich, the poor who created by one almighty parent, and inhabiting the same planet, should aid, support and protect one another. On this principle, Masonry unties men of every country, sect, and opinion and promotes true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained perpetually at a distance.
3. To relief the distressed is a duly incumbent on all men, particularly upon Masons, who are linked together by a chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with them in their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, are aims we have in view. On this basis we establish our connections and form our friendships.
4. Truth is a divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in masonry. Hence while influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us: sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us; and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing each other's prosperity.
5. You are charged to inculcate to God, you neighbor and yourself.
6. Will answer and Obey ALL Due Signs and Regular Summons.
7. Will help, aid and assist all poor distressed brothers.
8. Will not wrong, cheat nor defraud a brother.
9. Past behavior and regular deportment have merited the honor, which we have now conferred: and in your new character, it is expected that you will conform to the principles of the order, by steadily persevering in the practice of every commendable virtue.
10. Will support the Constitution of your Grand Lodge in which state you're from.
11. Keep secrets of a Brother when communicated to me as such as secure and inviolate in my breast as they were in his before communication.
12. Will not give the grand Hailing sign of distress.
13. Will not give the substitute for the Master's word in any other manner than that in, which I received it.
14. Will not violate the chastity of a Brother's wife, widow, mother, sister, or daughter nor suffer it to be done by another if in my power to prevent.
These are many Responsibilities and it seems as if it's a full time job, well it is. Remember what was asked of you when you first knocked on the Lodge door,"Is it of your Own Free Will and Accord" you answered YES.
One of the most violated Responsibility we face is, "That We Will Answer and Obey All Due Signs and Regular Summons". It can be attested by Lodge Meetings, it's always the same Brothers that attend them. The only time you see other Brothers is when there is a Degree Night, Elections or a Social Function. Brothers in order for Prince Hall Masonry to shine we have to be FAITHFUL to that Responsibility. We need to be at Lodge Meeting so we will know the direction we are going and be able to give input and support to all on going undertakings. We need to support our leaders on visiting our sister Lodges and share our knowledge with our Jurisdiction.
One of the most important tool that we have in Prince Hall Masonry to learn about our Responsibilities is the Master Mason Study Clubs, its there that we receive Masonic Education. At these study clubs is where we increase in Knowledge. We practice our Ritual Responsibilities so that when a member is not at a meeting we can fill in the seat and perform sharply. These study clubs are the lifelines for Master Mason to grow and become great Leaders and Role models within the Jurisdiction.
We need to attend District Meeting and Grand Lodge Sessions so you can see and be part of the big picture of the Jurisdiction. There we meet your Leaders and Counter Parts. Traveling Brothers from other Jurisdictions SEEK out a Lodge where you are at, ASK a brother when they meet, and KNOCK at the door of a Lodge to continue to enjoy the pleasures of the order.
I can go on with Responsibilities; it's a never-ending subject that covers the Lodge, Craft, Family, Church, Community and Yourself. If we adhere to our Responsibilities as laid out in our Obligations, Charges and Masonic Code we will become the Role Models in our daily walk in life. I Challenge you to attend Lodge Meeting; Study Clubs District Meeting and Grand Lodge Session to better equip yourself as we face the challenges of today.
So the Responsibilities to the Lodge entails many different aspects of duties that we knowingly accepted. The main item that we must understand is the loyalty to the officers that we elected into office. More important to support all activities that are put before the Lodge, whether District or Grand Lodge. So we can work with and not against Masonry.
I would like to leave you with one more thought. When I was in the Army and every time I re-enlisted I took an Oath that had these words, "I will defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign or domestic, I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the order of the officers appointed over me". Well my Brothers Prince Hall Masonry asks the same to support the Constitution of your Grand Lodge and support your Leaders, and uphold to your Duties and Responsibilities.
May you enjoy your 4th of July celebration and remember that all freedoms have come at a cost, to include Prince Hall Masonry. I will keep up my Quest through out the rest of the year and as long as our Lord allows me. God Bless You all.
PM RICHARD (RICAN) VEGA