The Quest of Brotherhood


                                                  ARTICLE NO. 30



                         THE QUEST FOR BROTHERHOOD


          Many of you may recall the rather amusing comedy, "Bunty
Pulls the Strings".  There was in it a youngster who protested
against learning the Catechism because he said that he couldn't
understand it.  The father indignantly replies to the youth: 
"Who's expecting you to understand it - learn it".  This perhaps
illustrates what is happening in Masonry in too many lodges.  Many
have learned their lectures, but what it is all about they have
never found out and no one asked them to do so.

          In this connection we might also consider the reply given
by the Senior Warden at the opening of the lodge.  He says that the
Master is placed in the East "to set the Craft at work, giving them
proper instruction for their labour".

          In most of our lodges the extent of our instruction is
confined to the required question and answer formula necessary
before a candidate is permitted to proceed to the next degree. 
What is being practised is nothing more than mechanics:  What did
you do? - What was said to you? - Then what happened? - etc.,
without a single word about the underlying principles.

          We all know men who have ably imparted to their brethren
the secret work of Freemasonry.  Their delivery of the ritualistic
ceremonies has been nearly letter perfect, but, after all, to what
extent can we measure instruction and progress?  Have they
succeeded in planting in the heart of the initiate the secret of
how to live with himself and with others - how to bring about the
reality of Brotherhood?

          As we read the current literature, including the Annual
Proceedings, we are appalled by the repeated references made to
lack of interest shown by a vast number of Masons.  These comments
are usually made in a complaining voice.  It is just like the
complaint heard in some churches on poor attendance but the people
who should hear it are not there to hear it.  Yes, we HAVE laggards
in our membership, but what are we DOING to remedy the situation? 
Surely not by making speeches in the lodge room.

          How can we kindle the flame of sustained interest?  Shall
it be through Grand Lodge?  Grand Lodge might send our an inspiring
list of speakers who might visit every lodge in the jurisdiction. 
If they were the best in the country and the lodges ere filled to
capacity some good would result, but, like most stimulants, they 


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wear off and the flame tends to die and disappear.  Shall it be by
lodge action?  That means, in the final analysis, by and through
the Worshipful Master. Fortunately for the Craft there are and have
been many outstanding Masters, brethren with vision and also
decision, who really try and generally succeed in making lodge
membership a vital factor in the lives of others.  But, good
Masters are often sandwiched between those not so good and the
effect of one year bogs down in the year following.  If not by
these two, then how?  By the individual brother.  You can bring the
entire membership to hear all the speakers you can find, but if the
individual brother does not open his ears you cannot make him HEAR. 
It is YOU - the first personal individual YOU, who is the one over
whom you have full control.  You can make your place a place to
inspire, not only yourself, but also the men with whom you meet. 
You can put emphasis on the spiritual, intangible things and help
others to see them as your see them.  You, and only you, can do
this for yourself, and having done it for yourself you can help
your brother in the Quest for Brotherhood.

          I have never been quite satisfied with the explanation
that Freemasonry is "a beautiful system of morality."  We MUST make
it more than a mere system.  We MUST see in Masonry a GREAT
FRATERNITY, a GREAT FELLOWSHIP, a GREAT BROTHERHOOD.  It should
require no argument on my part to prove that it far surpasses
anything as limited as a system.  You will realize that we have in
our lodges many who practise a superficial type of Masonry.  Some
of our members nurse a grudge; or vow vengeance for some fancied
wrong.  Instead of looking to Freemasonry for help and guidance he
embitters his whole outlook and often ends up by warping it
completely.  How often do we see blind prejudice destroy the
harmony of a lodge?

          The average lodge represents an excellent cross-section
of the community.  Here men of different walks of life meet and
address each other as "Brothers".  But outside the lodge these same
men by reason of their business or professional affiliations, meet
to discuss problems and difficulties.  In the changed environment
we find an entirely different atmosphere.  WHY?  Surely modern
industry, civic, municipal, or national affairs are not better for
the loss of reverence or cooperation - of brotherly love and
communal responsibility - which distinguished the Fraternity of
Operative Masonry from which we sprung.  Today master and man are
far apart.  They have little personal contact.  Men go to their
work as if driven, finding no joy in accomplishment, shirking it if
possible.  Our ancient brethren never gave a thought to getting all
they could for as little effort as possible.  An eminent Masonic 


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scholar has declared that no man has the right to claim to be a
Freemason unless he has endeavoured to put into practice some of
the teachings of the Fraternity.  "It is not necessary," he
asserted, "to go up to the lodge room to practice Masonry.  The
place to practice Masonry is in the busy marts of the world, where
men meet each other in their daily affairs, and where human
kindliness and helpfulness and honesty are so much needed.  All
progress is made by men of faith who believe in what is right, and,
even more important, actually do the right in their private
business.  You cannot add to the peace and good will of the world
if you fail to create an atmosphere of harmony right where you live
and work.

          There seems little hope of peace in the industrial world
until the spirit of humanity and fraternity is recovered.  We must
inject practical brotherhood into all our relationships, and
realize that Masonry did it once and Masonry CAN do it again.  The
world is perishing because of a lack of Brotherhood and, though we
of the Craft have the great ideal on our lips, it has not found its
way into the hearts of the initiates.  Let us start NOW in becoming
operatives in the most important phase of the whole Masonic
structure.  It has been said that the goal of Freemasonry is the
realization of Brotherhood for Freemasonry is NOT a Brotherhood
only.  It is a sales agency for the Brotherhood idea and a force
for the establishment of the collective life of man IN
Brotherhood."

          The tragic thing about the poor results is that the young
initiate soon discovers that our practice and our profession of
brotherhood are not identical.  Too little attention is being paid
to this insincerity.  We must resurvey the field and then
demonstrate within our membership that the Brotherhood which
Freemasonry seeks to establish is not a matter of formula, that the
ritual is but the spoken word - and that our principal work cannot
be expressed in a specific directive.  The Brotherhood we need is
a living, vital, driving force, which must be deeply felt and
understood by the man who would practise Freemasonry.  To have a
great ideal that consists merely in ritual phrases in paper and
words, will never bring the kind of Brotherhood that is needed int
his old world of ours.  We must work at the business of practical
brotherhood.  Let us not be discouraged at the slow progress we
seem to be making.  If we were, our Craft would have folded many
years ago.

          We cannot draw up a code of rules for the realization of
brotherhood.  There must be individual initiative.  We must 


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remember that the first preparation of every initiate is in his
heart.  We must expand that preparation - make his inner life
RIGHT, the motives SOUND and the dynamic force LOVE of fellow man.

          It isn't national leaders as much as "men of goodwill"
that we need in each of our little communities.  So, my brethren,
let us always remember that our progress in Freemasonry is measured
by our individual capacities, never in mass formation.  May our
quest for Brotherhood be stirred and deepened by a build-up of the
spirit which brought so much friendliness among our founding
fathers in the pioneer days of this nation.  When you go back home
tonight, ask yourself this question:  "What can I as a member of my
Lodge, and what can my Lodge through my membership show by its
labours that it is engaged upon the Quest for Brotherhood?"  This
is a personal job.  It cannot be referred to someone else - it is
YOUR responsibility.

          Masonry is not routine because human beings are
concerned.  Masons need more courses in human nature and fewer in
technical procedure.  When you reach the time for New Year
resolutions what are yours going to be?  The call should be: 
"Whither are you directing your course?"

          Holman Hunt's great painting "The Light of the World"
shows Christ at midnight standing before a closed door knocking
with one hand while holding a lighted lantern up with the other. 
When it was first placed on display one man said:  "But Mr. Hunt,
your painting is not finished - there is no handle on the door."
To which Mr. Hunt replied:  "That is the door to the human heart -
it can only be opened from the inside."

          My brethren, there will be many candidates who will knock
on your preparation room doors in the future.  What are you going
to do about it?  Don't just "let him in"; receive him - teach him
well - continue to teach for many years and then, maybe, you will
have fulfilled that quest for brotherhood.

          Brethren - there is a knock at the door - what are YOU
going to do about it?



THIS PAPER WAS PREPARED BY M.W. BRO. B.B. FOSTER, PGM OF THE GRAND
LODGE OF CANADA IN ONTARIO.  IT WAS DONATED TO THE BOARD OF MASONIC
EDUCATION BY R.W. BRO. G. VICKERS, PGS OF THE GRAND LODGE OF NOVA
SCOTIA.