Our Masonic Ritual is simply a means to an end. It is an introduction to what Freemasonry is all about. But there’s lot more to Freemasonry!
We tend to forget that Freemasonry is, before it is anything else, a fraternity. In its very structure it is a social organization. It is not intended for initiates alone, but for their families and friends as well. In their zeal to create more Master Masons, our Brethren of the past century—and some of us as well—have concentrated only on the mechanical processes—the ritual, if you will—of making Master Masons. And then we have abandoned many of those Masons we created.
Most certainly we abandoned their families for far too long! Have you ever heard the term “Masonic widow?” Does it describe anybody you know? These outstanding ladies are not only Masonic widows from a Brother who is gone, but also whose Mason is always at wok or lodge. And, since not all new Masons have any particular interest in a purely ritualistic organization, and, not learning that there’s more to Masonry than conferring Degrees, they leave. They leave almost as quickly as they were raised—before they even learn of our appendant bodies.
I will presume that most of us are graduates, and that we gained our diplomas the traditional way. After we attended school for years, in classrooms, taught by teachers, and covering a substantial curriculum, we were granted diplomas. That’s the way Masonry is supposed to work. While he is becoming a Master Mason, a man is supposed to meet regularly with a more experienced Brother to discuss Masonry. Typically those meetings should comprise several hours. When he becomes a Master Mason, those Masonic discussions should continue in Lodge, and with Brothers outside of Lodge.
But what usually happens?
Well, we drag a guy into an unfamiliar place, surround him with strangers, blindfold him, take off his suit clothes, and preach at him for a couple of hours. We give him some fancy titles, and tell him he’s now eligible to teach others about Masonry.
What would happen if we ran our public schools that way? We claim to “make good men better.” How are we supposed to do that? By osmosis? Almost every Mason will say that it was the discussion of the degrees of Masonry they had with their mentors that were the most important part of their learning. It’s the bonding experience of one-on-one discussion with that mentor that teaches a Brother Freemasonry.
Brethren, I want every one of you to not rush through life, but to pause and enjoy it!