Earlier this week Wor. Riley and myself joined the After Lodge podcast crew to interview Illustrious Robert G Davis 33*, on “how Masonry is designed to facilitate a man’s journey to mature masculinity and how the practices in traditional lodges aid in that awakening”.
It started with him recalling the night of his initiation into this fraternity, many years ago. He was 21, the minimum age at that time, and would have the title of a “Lewis” by the end of the night. That is, someone coming from a lineage of Mason’s- father to son. His father and grandfather were Masons, and now it was his turn.
He was standing outside of the door, duly and truly prepared, thinking to himself “tonight I will be initiated into manhood”.
Now, much older and having spent many years in the Craft, he believes that American Freemasonry today has too often ”moved entirely out of the focus of the founding principles of Freemasonry, which is to initiate men into manhood”
He continues with describing Freemasonry is first and foremost an initiation organization. Not initiation as a single event, but rather a transformative process to combat the symbolic characters from the 3rd degree in our own lives, repeatedly. Standing our moral ground and keeping our word when given to another Mason, no matter the consequences that lie ahead. That’s what all of us have taken an oath to do.
“Secondly and most importantly..”, he continues, ”..Masonry is a transformative organization. It’s intent is to transform men into a better state of being and it’s goal is to develop men with status and social honor”. Men who are respect each other in this sacred space. Men who build each other up. One could argue, those men should possess a father figure like role for the new generation that comes in.
Tonight we continue a very special age old tradition of voting on the next line of bees. Yes, tonight we will vote on which bees in our beehive can best work and best agree in order to continue passing the experiences and transformation of the mysteries of Masonry to both the youngest initiates and the next generation of Masons that knock at the door.
According to the ancient rules of Masonry, there is no progressive line. Rather, the right men who have the special honor of receiving the emblems of the chair from the Brother before him without any doubt in our minds that they will honor and respect that chair like so many before them have.
A very wise brother once explained to me that “as Masons, we have for too long been drinking from wells we did not dig, and eating fruit from trees we did not plant. And if we don’t start digging and planting, we are soon going to be very hungry, and very thirsty”. There’s countless lodges in the United States, in Florida, and even within the tri county area. If we as a lodge are not digging and planting, we will not survive.
As someone from the youngest generation present that will one day be given the torch to continue this fraternity, I beg those older and much wiser than to I to vote for Brothers who have been digging and planting. Brethren who hide their dirty hands as to not draw attention to the work they have put into our lodge and our fraternity, lest it be perceived as boasting. Brothers that are here early, stay late, and never say no when asked to help. Brothers that help the Stewards when we’re short staffed and can set the craft to work when the Worshipful Master can’t make it to lodge.
A great example of that would be our Brother and Senior Warden. He faithfully cleans the lodge, at night and has been for years. There’s a hundred other things he could be doing. Yet, he never asks for help, never complains, and never looks for recognition. Excluding the mysterious person who keeps breaking the closet doors Patrick and I fix, every time we gather, it’s clean. That’s quite the accomplishment, given how much of a mess a group of men could make.
My brothers, in closing, I leave you with these words: that we owe it to the Fraternity to serve as best we can and to act to ensure that what you have been given by the previous generation is passed to the next generation, so we can experience the transformation of the mysteries of Masonry as we have.