Why did you become a Freemason?
From: S. Kenneth Baril, P.M. <SKennethBaril@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 15:50:53 EST
Subject: Why I Joined Freemasonry
Many times since I became a member of this grand fraternity, I have
in retrospective moments, asked myself, why I am proud to be a Mason,
and I dwell upon those things that Masonry has brought before me. The
feelings of warmth, friendship and potential comfort in times of
distress are always with me, yet they seem to appear most readily in
I think that Masonry is many things to many people and we all take
from Masonry those things from within us that are weaker and more
vulnerable; it is a kind of storehouse of moral fibre, as well as a
refuge from a mad and seething world. To be a Masonic brother affords a
time when all is tranquil, when all is at peace, and in a world of
turmoil, this aspect of our brotherhood is most rewarding. In a society
where man feels so alone, so alienated, it is comforting to be with
others who share the same feelings, and more importantly, to carry those
feelings away from lodge and practice them in my daily living and in my
dealings with all people at all times; to make brothers of all men, for
we are after all, brothers in a larger and broader sense. I know full
well that these noble aims are impossible to achieve at all times.
Masonic teaching has made me fully aware that we should at least attempt
to live by these precepts whether they are fully achieved or not. In
fact, by their pursuit alone, successful or not, we have become better
men, in effect, become better Masons.
Since the coin has two sides, what do I bring my lodge in return for
that which I obtain? My monetary dues is so mundane and insignificant,
it matters for little in the larger realm, but I do what I can for my
lodge and my brothers when I can do them and I do them readily and
without hesitation, without thought of "repayment" in any fashion, and I
know that if called upon again and again, I would perform unstintingly
to the best of my ability. That, I think, is the essence of Masonic
teachings. We take from our fraternity and we give back; it is sort of
unending and open ended life of ethics that renews itself as surely as
the sun rises each and every day.
Frequently, I ask myself what does Masonry do for my community? This
is a question that is even asked by town folks, and it may be harder and
more nebulous to answer. First, I think, we must realize at the outset,
that the Masonic order is primarily interested in the welfare and well
being of its own; after all, that is the primary and most noble aim of
any fraternal organization. If it were not for this feeling of
self-interest and self-perpetuation, where would any fraternal
organization garner it's strengths and foundations?
In a broader sense, the presence of a Masonic lodge in any community is
an asset and most people realize this. The teachings of our order do
not lie strewn about the lodge room floor when the Master has closed his
Lodge; they are not discarded until the next meeting to be picked up
again like comfortable old clothes. They go back into the community in
the minds and hearts of all the brothers, and in so being disseminated,
the teachings of Masonry do indeed bring benefit to the community of
which it is a part. Who is to say, that a certain flower in a bouquet
does not impart a particularly wonderful aroma to the bouquet of which
it is a part, without whose presence the scent might be much less
inviting? So it is with the Masonic lodge in any community. It
enhances the "aroma" of communal living in a subtle but definite
fashion. In fact, I feel that this contribution may well far outweigh
the community events in which our lodges regularly participate. Events
come and events go, but friendship and reverence for both our Creator
and fellow man are as permanent as the stars of heaven.
Lastly, I ask myself, just once more, why did I become a Mason? I
think my answer is much like the mountain climbers, paraphrased perhaps,
but applicable to a degree; because Masonry was there and I felt its
call; to become, as we all would want to be, a better man, a more
compassionate brother to all my brothers, and a more deserving servant
to the Grand Architect of the Universe. What more could any man want to
be, or ever hope to be?
S. Kenneth Baril, P.M.
Temple Lodge No. 16, A.F. & A.M.
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