MASONIC MATURITY

 

The following is taken from a speech delivered to Pyramid Lodge No.

869, Vilseck, Germany, by Dr. (med) Hugo Thomas, Past Grand Master,

American-Canadian Grand Lodge, within the United Grand Lodges of

German Freemasons, on September 21, 1978. It contains inspirational

and universal challenges which each of us must face. We thank

"Brother Hugo" for permitting its use as our January

Short Talk Bulletin.

 

With my grateful appreciation I proudly salute the incoming and

outgoing symbolic representatives of the trinity of Wisdom, Strength

and Beauty, and all Officers and Brothers of this Lodge.

 

Brethren: I love our Lodges and at the end of the day it is good to

feel that we have helped some Brother, that we have accomplished some

Masonic groundwork. And I freely admit I don't have trouble sleeping

at the end of my busy day. My biggest problem is trying to find time

to sleep.

 

As always in Freemasonry, the election and subsequent installation of

officers is a time for both acknowledgment and hope. The Brothers who

have served deserve our deepest appreciation, for they have taken

time and energy from their offices and their homes to apply their

efforts toward the goals of Freemasonry. The friends and families of

these dedicated Freemasons have witnessed their labors for the Craft

and have encouraged them in their endeavors. They realize - as do the

officers

themselves - that to serve self only, is to enter a prison of egotism

and vanity. Only by giving of

ourselves can we better ourselves . . . Only by loving can we be

loved. Such men, such officers become the very symbolic stone and

mortar of our Order. They serve beyond the call of duty and set an

example for those that follow in their footsteps. Our full

acknowledgment and deepest gratitude go out to those who lay down

their present tasks to go on to new responsibilities or who take a

well deserved respite.

 

This sense of acknowledgment for past service is joined to a new hope

for those who take up the work of the Fraternity and accept the

duties attached to Masonic office. These new officers we greet with

fraternal well wishes and confidence that they will sustain the

drive, direction and accomplishment of those Brethren who have

preceded them. This does not mean only those Brothers who have just

held

the posts of authority, but also that long line of Brethren who have

served since the Constitution of the Lodge was drafted and

recognized.

 

These men and officers - past and present - represent Masonry at its

finest. Each man is a leader among men. Each has a special talent, a

special love of Freemasonry and a special ability to do his job well.

They meet challenges that go far beyond simply serving as officers at

Stated Meetings. They give guidance and inspiration. They make the

wheels turn. They accomplish real benefits.

 

Our Masonic achievements do not end here, for out of this service

comes a sense of personal

fulfillment, fine fellowship and mutual endeavor that improves and

strengthens both leaders and workers. Here in the Craft, we build

character in men. We make men better and thus build a better world.

It is a goal and a challenge for all to share - family, friends,

members, officers. Let each of us at every Election and Installation

of Officers express gratitude for the accomplishments of past

officers, accept the leadership of the new Brethren and assume the

full responsibility of our own important role in Freemasonry.

 

In unity and solidarity, let's continue the great work of Masonry,

exemplify the principles we so heartily endorse, and do our utmost to

promote the growth of our order in numbers and caliber, so it exerts

its influence long after our own years on earth have ceased. Make it

be true that Masonry "has grown in the years fulfilling-the highest

hopes and inspirations of its early Brothers." Let us do our work in

the new Masonic Year to "stand the test of time." We need builders

not joiners; crewmen not

passengers; and the program of the Lodge should be so arranged that

all Brothers are attracted to our meetings and given a chance to

actively participate in and push forward our real objectives. We need

the skill of them all; but do not expect perfection in a man just

because he is a Mason. If you do, you will be disappointed. Masonry

makes men better, but no human agency makes them perfect. If he is a

Mason, you have a right to presume he is a fairly good man, but do

not condemn the Institution, even if a few Masons turn out bad. Even

the great Teacher himself had a Judas. Our aim and purpose is to

receive good men, keep them good and make them better. Judge the

Order not by a few failures but by the average of its successes. The

average is high and gives standards to its members, but it cannot be

an infallible guide. Each of us must be a working and acting

instrument within our society of Brothers, which will enable us so to

live, that men might better understand who we are and whom we serve.

Masonry can form us into a stronghold and landmark for goodness and

nobility in the middle of evil, and enlighten us to show the way out

of darkness. It can and does serve as a peaceful pacemaker in the

midst of turbulence, a magnetic force influencing mankind by its pure

principles. In our

profession as Masons we must have the boldness to speak and act as

such. It should be so obvious from the things we say and do, that we

have been inspired "with the symbolic purity and perfection of our

institution." Our responsiveness to these noble gifts should be with

humble gratitude, but also a willingness to achieve perfection in our

weakness and to regulate our lives accordingly. Paraphrasing

Brother Goethe: "Only he deserves his Freedom, his Life, and his

Light, who daily earns it anew." Truly, only in this manner may

we grow in knowledge, faith and contemplation; in understanding and

experience; in hope and charity; in brotherly love, and in the

boundless joy of eternal salvation through Light in Masonry.

 

Our daily work in Freemasonry should be distinguished by enthusiasm

and excellence. We are obligated to minister each according to the

best of his ability; while we "volunteer" our daily services, we are

simultaneously "drafted" by those same obligations, and solemnly

charged to preserve the purity of the Fraternity unsullied. We are

forever reminded and encouraged in doing so by the writer of

Ecclesiastes: "Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might.

Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required." This

is true of all tasks assigned to us, minor or important: that we be

true and faithful custodians of our Masonic heritage. When we combine

fidelity with faith, we know we shall succeed, and only then can we

truly hope the LORD will bless our decisions and actions.

 

When thus spiritually prepared, I believe I can truthfully state,

that Germans, Americans or Canadians or any other nationality should

not be elected Master of a Lodge or to any Lodge Office.

 

We are summoned to elect only Free and Accepted masons.

 

If we distinguish in any other way how we select our leaders, on

Lodge or Grand Lodge level, we violate the teachings of the LEVEL . .

In Lodge all men are equal and in the sacred walls of the Temple we

are constantly reminded to forget the division or existence of

different creeds, professions or nationalities.

 

I believe that the attainment of Master of a Lodge is not and was

never the ultimate goal of our great Order. Our great purpose and s

objective is to seek admission into a Lodge and 'I become as great a

mason as humanly possible, to receive Light, more Light and further

Light, allowing the Mystic Tie to weave its wonderful message into

our lives. I even sometimes think, there are certain advantages to

keeping in office for more than one year that rare Master or officer

who has been touched with the tender message of Masonry and who has

those qualities of administration and leadership so badly needed for

all well-governed organizations.

 

The purpose of Masonry is to bring men from darkness to Light.

Therefore, may we set aside the quest for any single honor of office,

and search for more Light in Masonry. So if we can find this great

Light through capable leadership through a Brother, especially

gifted, - who loses? Certainly not a seeking Brother or a Lodge. The

office must and should seek the man; not the man the office. It

really only matters that our leaders be Masons capable of leading and

will never promote their own

advancement to any office other than that highest of all offices--

serving his Brothers!

 

I, therefore, believe: Germans, Americans, Canadians or other

nationalities should not be Master of Lodges or Grand Master; only

Masons, who have seen Light, have allowed it to brighten the pathway

and can spread it to others, should serve in this position. So if by

accident of birth the selected Brother is of some nationality other

than the most common in our midst, it should only be noted to

strengthen our chain of Universal Brotherhood. Inspired leaders are

what we need in our Mystic Circle.

You, Worshipful Master, have exemplified this tenet during your term,

as so many have done who have gone this way before you. Some may

think of leadership in terms of political or business prominence, or

some other obvious position of prominence. I'll not use the word in

such a narrow sense. One meaning given in the dictionary is: a leader

is one who acts as a guiding force. A great need of our society is

that every Mason when qualified as a leader be an example of honor,

morality, zeal and charity, compassion and aggressive willingness:

Honor, that we not only refrain from doing ill, but that we extend

ourselves to do good. Morality, that every facet of our lives could

be a worthy example for the guidance of others, because the world

needs active examples as much as it needs to be preached to. Zeal,

that we not only are committed to doing much that is constructive,

but discreetly letting our enthusiasm mark our behavior that others

may be attracted to this way of life. Charity, for

every created being that he may fulfill his destiny as designated by

the Supreme Architect. Compassion, for the unfortunate, whether high

or low, rich or poor; taking no pleasure in the

misfortune of any. Aggressive willingness, to help meet any worthy

need by giving a helping hand, a word of encouragement, an under-

standing hand on the shoulder, helping others to have hope and to

believe in themselves. The list is limitless. We do not always

perceive the opportunities for this kind of service, but as we use

the opportunities, we learn to recognize them.

 

Quality of character automatically makes the possessor a leader by

virtue of his example. Masonry's task is to produce that quality.

Further acclaim and prominence are not Masonry's objective, though we

take satisfaction when these things come to a Brother who merits

them. Our prayer then, is that he will always be a Mason, in the most

profound sense.

 

Masonic leadership, as I understand it, means consistently exercising

those qualities which are inculcated in our lectures, so that each

Mason is an example for good, wherever he goes; leadership through

example and with truth.

 

I have no doubts that this Masonic maturity will continue to be the

guideline of all Masters who govern this good Lodge.

 

Before closing this presentation, I will leave you with a few

personal remarks to the outgoing Master:

 

Worshipful Sir, how swiftly the year has passed and we are fast

approaching the end of a wonderful journey. Among our most valuable

possessions are our friendship and our happy memories that you have

given to us this year, and for the Brothers and friends who have

proven themselves so faithful and true. We thank you for your many

acts of kindness and for the courtesies; and as we bow in a prayer of 

thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father we thank Him for the gift of your

friendship and

enthusiasm. It is only through the spirit of giving that we are able

to accomplish the objectives of our Order, that of extending

Brotherly Love, Truth and Masonic Charity. We are most grateful for

these contributions you have made to your Lodge, and we hope the

Brothers will take renewed pride in their

membership.

 

Brother William Preston expressed it well: "Virtue is true nobility,

and Wisdom is the channel by which it is directed and conveyed.

Wisdom with humility and virtue alone distinguish Masons."

 

May our Heavenly Father bless your lives in the same bountiful

measure in which He has blessed ours and may He supply your every

need. And late, very late in life, you may be transmitted from the

fading honors of an earthly Lodge to the mansion prepared for the

faithful, in another and a better world