What I Get From Being A Mason

What I Get From Being A Mason

Eugene Goldman - Past Master

People have asked me from time to time, what I get from being a Mason. What is 
it that  learned, or discovered in Lodge that makes it so interesting or 
valuable to me? Why do I keep going back to Lodge, paying Dues, serving as an 
Officer, spend so much time on the Internet researching and discussing Masonry? 
I don't think anyone really learns anything new in Masonry. I know I didn't, 
though I really expected to. Much to my surprise I was, and continue to be, 
reminded of several principles and virtues that I had already inculcated as my 
own long before I became a Mason. Most, if not all, Masons it has been my 
pleasure to meet also accept these principles and Virtues as valid and true in 
their lives. What are these Virtues? What are these Principles? I will enumerate 
and describe them, as best I can, one at a time.

Brotherly Love: This Virtue admonishes us to regard the entire human race as 
family. We were, after all, created by the same Creator, and the tie that binds 
us is stronger than we sometimes think. In all that we do, we should consider 
our family, known and unknown. What is best for them, and for ourselves?

Relief: Whenever we encounter a fellow creature in need, particularly at times 
when we are in abundance (but even when we are not), we should never fail to do 
what we are able to relieve their distress.

Truth: This should always have the highest priority, above personal agendas and 
disagreements. We must be always ready, not only to seek, find and speak the 
Truth. However, we must be prepared to hear it as well. This is not always easy. 
In fact, hearing an unwelcome Truth is usually difficult. Still, hear it we 
sometimes must, and accept it as well. 

Faith: When we believe in something bigger than ourselves, something greater 
than we can even aspire to becoming, we are humbled. Humility inspires us to do 
our best. Not because we can equal the Creator, but to imitate Him and make 
something of Beauty ourselves. Beauty gives both pleasure and brings the 
following Virtue.

Hope: A better world awaits us. Even in this life, we may look forward to an 
improved existence. Educating our Children will insure that they will be able to 
make good decisions when it is their time to do so. Here I speak not of an empty 
Hope, but a Hope based on the secure knowledge that we have all done our best to 
make the world of tomorrow better than it is today. 

Charity: Beyond Relief (above), we should always work hard to improve the 
condition of those around us. Where Relief leaves off, Charity begins. Going 
beyond soothing an affliction or satisfying a need, Charity is the act or acts 
designed to prevent those needs from ever existing again. Preventing distress, 
not for the recognition, thanks or acclaim, but because it improves some part of 
the world, is the highest form of Charity.

Tolerance: By this principle of life and conduct we are reminded that it is 
seldom necessary to prove someone else wrong for us to be right. We do not have 
to cause another to fail in order to succeed. In the 60s, there was a term 
called win - win. Both sides of almost every conflict can find a "middle ground" 
in which satisfaction may be a shared commodity, if both sides are willing to 
allow the other to win also.

Temperance: Doing almost anything to excess is harmful. Charity, given to 
excess, can leave one impoverished. Love, given to excess, may be smothering. 
The effects of drugs and alcohol, when used to excess, are well known. However, 
consider the effect of too much Truth. Truth without tact (the knowledge of when 
NOT to say things) can hurt feelings and even destroy friendships. 

Fortitude: Without fortitude, no one can succeed. Everything gets difficult 
sometimes, there is always the temptation to give in or give up. When we show 
Fortitude, we learn to "stick it out" and overcome obstacles to accomplish 

Prudence: The mark of a Polite person is knowing when to speak and when not to. 
What to say and what not to. "To everything, there is a season." This is not 
only a quotation from Scripture, and a popular song of a previous decade, but 
good advice as well. 

Justice: Everyone deserves to have their fair due, whatever that may be. Like 
Truth, we must be prepared not only to dispense Justice, but to have it 
dispensed to us. We must be able to put aside our own wants and sometimes needs 
in order to insure that Justice is served. 

All these Principles and Virtues are bigger than ourselves, greater than our 
personal desires. Observing and practicing them, we are making this a better 
world, not only for ourselves, but for all who inhabit it. 

This is what I get from Masonry. This is why I keep coming back. To be reminded 
of these principles, and learn more about them. 

The above work is the sole creative property of myself. Any member of the 
Fraternity may copy it in whole or in part of Freemasonry, of whatever Degree 
and affiliation, for any Masonic purpose. The author may grant use by others on