"The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession — what there is of it." — Mark Twain's Notebook
The Brotherhood of Freemasons by Bro. Jeff Peace
Brotherhood is at the very core of everything Masonic. We go so far as to cordially refer to one another as “brother” even in public settings such as Internet forums and restaurants, but what do we mean when we say this? Perhaps more importantly what should it convey to the other Mason?
We swear not to defame a brother and to defend his good name. We swear to keep his secrets inviolable. We sear to aid and assist him. What sets our Masonic brotherhood apart from any other that we may come across on the streets of any city or in any small village or town?
To many Masons, Hiram Abiff defends the secrets of the brotherhood with his life, but they never stop to think about what those secrets protect. If Hiram gave away the secrets of a Master Mason to the thugs that were accosting him then they would be received into the Order as true brothers. From the ritual it is clear that they are immoral and violent men not deserving of another man’s trust. Hiram gives up his life to preserve the integrity of the brotherhood and to keep such men from being trusted as brothers.
Today we live in a world where brotherly love is virtually unknown. How much more important is brotherly love to Masons today than ever before? Many young men enter into our brotherhood believing that it is genuine and very real. It should be.
Unfortunately, the West gate has been left unguarded for far too long and many ruffians have made their way through it. The actions of these men cause the true brothers to question the credibility of our brotherhood; they jeopardize everything Freemasonry stands for.
Real brothers are not just fair-weather friends; they are dedicated to the true spirit of Masonic brotherhood and stand by their brothers even in the darkest of times. Anyone, even a profane, is happy to be your friend during the good times, but they vaporize into thin air when you truly need their friendship. Freemasons must recognize the value of their brotherhood and begin the process of healing the many wounds inflicted upon their brothers by the ruffians. This will be a difficult and painful process but it must be done if Freemasonry is to grow and flourish among men of all nations. It is up to us, as Freemasons, to demonstrate before the world the true meaning of our brotherhood and its great value among all men.
Are you willing to be a true brother or is it too difficult and painful? Can you stop for a moment and see the world through the eyes of another? Are you willing to defend the brotherhood as Hiram did? Will you take the time out of your busy life to do what is upright and moral?
These are questions every Mason should ask himself each day.
— Bro. Jeff Peace
Image: William Dean Howells and Samuel Clemens. Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson.
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