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Thoughts on Masonry

Faith - Hope - Charity

Brethren, I offer some thoughts on this subject as it is a guiding light for how I am trying to develop my life and become a better man...
Faith - We learn in our ceremonies that Faith is the essential qualification of being a Mason.  Our trust in God is the basis upon which we begin our journey and our faith becomes the foundation.  I will be the first to admit that my faith was wavering when I first entered the fraternity and I am sure brethren noticed during my first ceremony that some of the words escaped me.  I now stand on a strong foundation of faith, not only in God, but in my friends, family, and brethren.  Let us not forget though that in that same ceremony we are taught that "Faith may be lost in sight".  Does that mean Faith is wavering?  No, I believe that not to be true.  Instead, I believe that we are to learn that Faith is ultimately trust and confidence in everything around us - "the evidence of things unseen".  If all the people and things around us had big signs on them that said good, bad, broken, etc... we would not need faith.  Instead we need to remain "blind" in order for Faith to fluorish and our personal edifice strengthen.
Hope - We learn in our ceremonies that we are led by a "Hope for immortality" and that "Hope ends in fruition".  In our teachings, the anchor is a symbol of hope and it is where I find strength to maintain my journies in this life.  By allowing ourselves to be led down a divine path and in harmony with all things about us, we find that immortality is a reasonable expectation and hope the road by which to attain it.  Without hope, there is no strength in virtue or fear in vices.  Everything becomes a muddled paste of confusion.  But, imagine a boat on the sea.  The boat representative of yourself... the sky above the everlasting eternity where immortality is the goal... the sea below the tumultuous road of mortality upon which we travel, filled with calmness, strife, waves and even treasure... the anchor is the grounding instrument that keeps us steady in mortality, but when lifted from its mooring allows us to float freely toward the horizon where someday we hope to find our path to immortality. 
Charity - We are taught that this is the cement that bonds of our Fraternity.  When we speak of Masonic tools, and the use of the trowel to spread brotherly love and affection, we speak of the same charity.  In original translation from Greek, it was Faith, Hope and Love that would have been accurate, so we speak of charity synonymously with love.  Taking our hearts and extending them as far as they may reach with faith that it is being done with purity of heart and without a fear of hurt.... taking whatever we have to give and hoping that is enough to lessen the burdens of another... that is where Charity becomes truth.  In our teachings we learn that "Charity extends beyond the grave".
I hope this message has helped to strengthen your views brethren and I also hope that you can find wisdom in the teachings we repeat every time in lodge, but I truly hope that your faith is strong enough that you can take those lessons from the lodge and pass your charity to all those who cross your path - Stand as a just and upright Mason, strictly in charge to ever act and walk as such.  Be slow to anger and easy to forgive... Whisper good counsel and lend an assisting hand... Speak not, but do... Open your heart and close your mouth... Walk the path and chide not those that walk different paths... Do this and you will truly find a land in every sea and a brother in every port...
Faith in my God... Hope in my Brethren... and Charity to All!
Brother Shane R. Beecraft

What does it mean to be a Mason?

I was a man who looked at the step of becoming a Mason as an important goal to be achieved. Truly, it is a worthy, noble, and important goal but I now know it is really only a step in a life-long winding staircase.
True Freemasons travel on a journey toward enlightenment. In various ways and in multiple steps we seek out and discover who we truly are and how we can improve.
Our rituals and degrees serve to remind us of our noble past and how we walk in the footsteps of great men… men who were really not so different from ourselves.
Our symbols and signs are icons that visibly and succinctly remind us of the lessons learned within our degrees.
Our community activities and charity work help us keep in mind that we are a part of humanity and have a responsibility to help those in need.
And our fellowship activities give us the opportunity to be social, to have friendships and to enjoy life in brotherhood with similar-minded, responsible men.
Eric Western