Do You Know Yourself to be a Mason?

               ARTICLE NO. 13



        DO YOU KNOW YOURSELF TO BE A MASON?


    When that question was asked of you during the work of
the First Degree, did it register as being of great importance?  To
most candidates it doesn't.  Usually it appears to be just a
question that occurs in the process of instruction, and the answer
seems to be very simple.  In statement it is simple, of course, but
as the student of Masonry progresses, he discovers that even the
simplest of thoughts in Masonry have deep meanings attached to
them.  Very little occurs in the work of the Craft that is of small
significance.

    All of us have noted certain Brethren in our own and in
other Lodges who seem particularly apt to learn and express
themselves Masonically.  These men are sure to be found at the head
of Lodge activities.  They are moving spirits.  They know the work
and they know how to get things done.  Moreover, they appear to be
eager to advance in the interest of their Lodges.  They think up
things to do, or rather observe things that need doing.  Sometimes
their energy even grates a little on other Brethren.  Once in a
while criticism may be heard, the burden of which is likely to be
that these Brethren are a trifle too ambitious.

    One knows himself to be a Mason when he begins to view
truth, honour, justice, and charity not as abstract principles, but
as practical everyday virtues which he must practice and exemplify
in all of its relationships with his fellowmen.  When within him
burns an intense desire to protect and advance the welfare of his
Brethren and with a constant care, that no harm or injury comes to
them through acts of his, a man may know he is developing the
Masonic spirit.

    Such a thing may occur once in a while to be sure, but
not often.  As a rule the active Brother is one who knows he is a
Mason, why he is one, and how he got that way.  To such a Brother
the question of how he knows he is a Mason is a sort of challenge. 
He knows very well the simple answer in the ritual isn't all of it
by any means.  It is only the beginning.  He knows the ceremony
whereby he was brought to light was merely the lighting of the
lamp.  By it he was able to enter the Lodge, to greet the Brethren
Masonically, but so far as actual work was concerned he was verily
an Entered Apprentice.  The light illuminated his own character and
revealed to him obligations owing to his fellowmen.  It was then he
began to understand knowing a few of the secrets of the Craft is
now what makes him a Mason.

    It is true that many good men feel these same things
without being Masons.  But any understanding Mason knows such men
would accomplish more and find greater joy in their service, if
added to their natural goodwill, they had the encouragement,
fellowship, and inspiration of a great Fraternity wholly dedicated
to the same high aspirations.

    You know yourself to be a Mason first by understanding
the eternal principles upon which the Craft is founded and then
upon feeling in your own heart a clear response to their call. 
When, gradually, the new Brother learns of the glorious history of
the Fraternity and begins to feel kinship with the legions who went
this way before him; when in the events of the past he is able to
discern the fine handcraft of brothers and fellows, tracing out
their beneficent influence in the progress of mankind; then he
knows himself to be a Mason in spirit and in truth.

    The place to look for evidence that you are a Mason is
not in the head, where memory of rituals, grips, signs, and tokens
may be retained, but in the heart from whence will flow the healing
streams of brotherly love, generosity, kindness, patience, and
goodwill.  If those are fund you will know your Masonic fellowship
has borne good fruit and you are in fact a Mason.---




THE AUTHOR OF THIS PAPER IS UNKNOWN.  IT WAS DONATED TO THE BOARD
OF MASONIC EDUCATION BY VW BILL MARKS, WOODLAWN LODGE #131, ON
FEBRUARY 10, 1990.