The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2021

North Carolina Mason

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March/April 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 7 WICKER, from page 5 Now that we are at peace, now that our thoughts are clear and calm, how do we improve ourselves in Masonry? e answer to that question may be endless. Let us begin with who and what we are supposed to be. We are taught that Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. But what does this mean? Referring to Freemasonry as a system relates to the organized set of rules or guidelines that when followed, accom- plishes a desired purpose or result. Morality is a set of standards that allow us to live together and support one another through the universal principles of goodness and rightness. e system of morality being veiled in allegory refers to the fact that our tenets and principles are taught and interpreted in an indirect manner and, through our ritualistic work, their true meanings are revealed. Finally, we illustrate our morality through the use of our symbols. In each of our three degrees, as well as in the degrees in the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine and Eastern Star, we use symbols to teach the lessons associated with that particular degree. e most common of our symbols is the square and compasses. Almost every Mason wears a ring displaying these symbols. e square represents the Square of Virtue. By this symbol, we are taught that we should examine each our thoughts, words and actions and be certain they comply with our system of morality. e square of virtue should be the rule and guide to our conduct with all mankind. e compasses remind us that as we go through our everyday life, our passions and desires should be contained within the bounds of our system of morality. In addi- tion, a Mason should remember that within the points of the compasses are contained the friendship, morality and brotherly love he is to exhibit to everyone. If you have not done so, pick up a copy of the North Carolina Lodge Manual. You will know it by its more common name, the Bahnson Manual. You may have used it as you have prepared for the degree work. But that is not its limitations. e entire work is a discussion of Masonic symbolism and how those symbols illustrate our Masonic system of morality. What are the meanings of the point within the circle, the rough ashlar, the perfect ashlar, the orders of architecture, the beehive, the hourglass or the other various Masonic symbols? Have you thought about what they are teaching us? Have you tried to apply these lessons to your everyday life? My brothers, "What came you here to do?" is a most serious question that you should be asking yourself every day. When you answer the question, are you parroting standard responses just to move on to the next question or are you reflecting on the meaning of that ques- tion and how you, as a Freemason, should be living your life and leading your commu- nity? Only one of these answers is making you a better man and a better Mason. We say that Freemasonry makes good men better. Merely memorizing words does not make men better. Freemasonry is the system by which good men make themselves better. But for that to happen, we must apply the lessons we are taught through the allegory and symbols. Finally, my Brothers, I will leave you with this: Freemasons are charged to do good unto all. As this instruction is applied to us, there are no exceptions and there are no limitations. We are to soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to be compassionate to their miseries and to restore peace to their troubled minds. We do this though kindness. Sadly, for some, kindness is difficult. at is because it involves conscious choice. To be kind, one must freely, sincerely and volun- tarily give of their time, talent and resources to make the lives of others better. If Freemasons give to others genuine acts of love, compassion, generosity and service, we will surely make the world a better place. In so doing, it is quite likely that we will discover why good men knock at the door of Freemasonry. It is because they too will have the desire to learn to subdue their passions and improve themselves in Masonry. to. e greatest was, I improved myself through Masonry. I improved my mind by memorizing catechisms, Degrees and Orders," he says. "I learned how to run meetings. I became a more confident and improved speaker. I met new friends and their families. I learned where to place our GREAT national flag in a meeting and by attending so many Masonic meetings, I have been honored to recite the Pledge of Allegiance many times a week. But, to improve yourself, you have to participate. I have participated and it has been an honor." And for so many others, family ties led to a deeper dedication to Masonry. "I at first wanted to follow in my father and grandfather's footsteps," says Tom Imler, PM of Hiram #40. "As I advanced, I knew that I had gained brothers all over the world. I never met my grandfather, and my dad died before he could raise me. It made me want to be the best Mason and man I could be." How would you answer that question? NORMALCY, from page 4 teeth, sometimes it has been a challenge. And, like Fannie Mae's footprints, the imprint is always going to be there — perhaps as an agitation at first, but always a story in time. Brethren, as I have written you before, you all have a story. at's what makes us human. Our stories bind us closer together as one and help us realize we're not all that different from each other; we just tell our tale from a little different point of view, and that's helps us all see the bigger picture. Of course, that's what Freemasonry is, isn't it? Being able to slowly learn to see the bigger picture. I'll never be too far away. Call me (the number will stay the same). Talk to me. Tell me your story. And, we'll be all the more blessed to have known each other. STORY, from page 6 We say that Freemasonry makes good men better. Merely memorizing words does not make men better. Freemasonry is the system by which good men make themselves better. But for that to happen, we must apply the lessons we are taught through the allegory and symbols. Not a part of the Grand Lodge's private Facebook group? Go to groups/48109457328 (or search for Grand Lodge of North Carolina A.F. & A.M.) and send a request to join. Masons in good standing are welcome. Make sure you have your dues card handy!

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