By R. W. Bro. E. A. Davies Published in The Tracing Board, GRS, 1968
For the past several months, we have been continually faced in the press, on television and on the radio with descriptions of the evil day which has befallen the world as we know it. We have been told continuously of man’s inhumanity to man, of ideologies which turn human beings from God-fearing people into greedy machines. The forces, which these corrupt ideologies represent, we must naturally fear.
More to be feared is the subtle, imperceptible, infiltration of these ideologies into our way of life. The change which can come about can happen so gradually that we would not be aware of it until it was too late. This is what we must fight against — the gradual deterioration of our principles and our respect for God and man.
The forces which are attempting to disrupt our way of life and our beliefs are no respecters of person or countries, and if we are to combat them effectively, it will take more than atomic-age weapons and inter-continental ballistic missiles. The backbone of any country is the moral strength of its people. This has been clearly borne out many times in history. We who live in an affluent society, surrounded by all the comforts which money can buy, show a marked tendency toward moral laxity and laziness.
We tend to accept the things which we find around us as the product of our own brilliant endeavours and we seem to be losing the ability to be thankful, and to teach other to give thanks for what is bestowed upon us by God. Where we get the idea that all things we have in the material sense are our own achievements is very difficult to understand.
In the present way of thinking there are not many luxuries. For most people all things are necessities. How can we expect children brought up in this kind of atmosphere to understand that “but for the grace of God we are nothing” is almost impossible to comprehend.
We are failing in our responsibility when we don’t present the true picture. We, as Masons or wives or friends of Masons, can do much to correct these errors. Among the commodities which we cannot purchase is that of responsible character. The contribution of a great faith is in the development of men who have a sense of reverence and a consciousness of their belonging to the entire community. There comes times when we recognize that we are not just one person added to another person. We are a community.
If we are to give great values to our community, we shall have to fill those values with the content of a mature, responsible faith. Brotherhood is not a difficult thing to practise in a neighbourhood, but in this atomic age brotherhood must be viewed on a broader horizon. Masonry can live and thrive in this age because it can make men fit for brotherhood. If you build in men the capacity for brotherhood, then brotherhood will follow naturally. We must go about learning the principles of Masonry — then we will be able to understand brotherhood in the larger sense our day demands. Masonry is based on religious faith. When we grasp that faith and understand it we shall receive the stature of a Master Mason.
Man has created in this atomic age of power so tremendous that if we learned how to use it, it would revolutionize our lives. With that same power man could destroy all life on earth. We have got to learn to love one another. That is the only way to banish the fear in the hearts of all of us. The time has come when we should remember that Masonry is not lodge membership alone; it is the life we live, the service we render to God and mankind.
Let us, as members of this great organization, carry outside our lodge rooms the tenets and principles inculcated n our teachings and show to all with whom we may associate that a Mason’s hand is every guided by justice, and that a true Mason’s heart is the spring from which flow kind thoughts, benevolent and generous deeds. Without being conscious of it, a man who believes and lives his Masonry is often an influence in inspiring others to live better, cleaner and more patriotically. The man who lives his Masonry cannot help being a good citizen, the way of Freemasonry is teaching not driving. Freemasonry believes that if the divine and eternal principles of truth, honor, justice, love and charity are voluntarily accepted by a man and then incorporated into his life, it should not be necessary to force him to do what is best for him and his fellow man.
We shall have no peace until the world recognizes the fundamental teachings of Masonry that all men — and that permits of no exception — are brothers. We must be prepared to accord our fellow man the same consideration as we would expect if we were in his position and we naturally expect form him honesty and integrity. We believe in the dignity and responsibility of the individual. The thing that determines the individual’s outlook on life and his attitude to his fellow men is his heart so that if we can as Masons get right at heart, we need not worry about anything else. Each of us fights a hard fight, against different odds, and we need each other to help us climb over our obstacles.
Let us look about us, be sure no hand seeks ours without a hearty handclasp, a response that cheers him; that no eye catches ours but that we smile, that we sit next to no brother without a word of cheer. Let us learn how to love, pray for, and keep faith with our brethren. Let us work with what tools we have at our disposal. Let us endeavour to erect a bridge of brotherhood upon which we may travel east, toward that “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” It is the touch of the hand, the personal relationship, the love of fellow man and the practice of brotherly love which will bring peace to this world.
Our order gives us the remedy, brotherly love, relief and truth. Because it is so simple it may not be highly regarded by those who have not practised these tenets — tenets not restricted to the Masonic fraternity, but practical virtues which may be practice by every living soul. By such sincerity and dedication our honored craft may still be used in the glorious campaign to bring co-operation out of chaos, and out of the tragic frustrations and divisions of mankind a universal fellowship in God. So may He bless the craft in general in all our undertakings.
Looking through papers that have been shared with me over the years I discovered this GEM which very speaks to us all as aptly as I am sure it did when written in 1968.
May I ask that you share this paper as widely as possible as I believe the message it shares to be incredibly appropriate for all of us, irrespective of where we may live.
To the reader, may I thank you for allowing me to share with you.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless