by Christopher Hodapp
Nobody tells me anything anymore. I have to pick things up in the street from the rough kids these days.
My belated congratulations to my friend and Brother, MW Robert G. Davis who was elected in November as the 2021 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma AF&AM.
I wouldn't have known had it not been for Masonic Revival announcing their creation of a special bow tie for the occasion.
If you have ever heard him speak or read his books and other writings, you know that MWB Davis is one of the most thoughtful and perceptive Masons alive today. In his message on the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma's home page this month, he describes the nature of fraternalism and why Freemasonry remains vital to men today:
"The word Freemasonry itself derived from the word, “freehearted,” which means “acting on the spontaneous impulse of the heart.” Freemasonry is the state or quality of being fraternal. In all that we do, our first charge is to take on the characteristics of being brotherly, and enhancing the ideals in brotherly relationships.
"We are, above everything else, concerned with the welfare of each other. One of the quintessential purposes of fraternalism is that we aid, support and protect each other. We are our own brother’s keeper. This is the foundation that distinguishes us from all other groups. We enjoy a level of fellowship that we simply don’t find in our other outside relationships. Indeed, our fraternal association must stand out as one of the most blessed influences in our life.
"Even if the deepest esoteric meanings of Masonry are not fully understood to us, at least every one of us can grasp the idea that Masonry is a fellowship that brings men together for the purpose of teaching them how to honor and love one another. If we spend any time at all in participating in the functions of our lodge, or reading of the nature of Masonry, we intuitively learn that, above race, rank, and creed, there is only one heart in the world, and brotherly love is the way to it. No one can estimate the worth of such a way of life; but that is the life of our fraternity.
"In conversations as friends, we explore the meaning of social experience, and through the teachings of our fraternity, we are communicating what integrity means. Our role playing in life is done on a very personal basis—man to man, brother to brother, elder to initiate, equal to equal. Our differentiations of rank ultimately fall away because we recognize the bonds forged by our rituals and obligations as concepts of honor and equality.
"Such is Masonry; a vast, global fraternity of free men, built upon a basis of spiritual faith, whose mission it is to make men friends, to refine and exalt their lives, to turn them into a homage for truth, righteousness, and character. Our task, and the beauty of our art, is to form a society of good men who uphold the redeeming ideals of humanity so as to make good things better by our very presence.
"My brothers, we come together as friends. It is friendship that bonds us, and it is friendship that compels us each to do our part to keep alive what we believe in. And what we believe in more than anything else is our self-improvement. After all, we are initiated men.Books by Robert G. Davis include Understanding Manhood in America and The Mason's Words.
"So, as we begin another year together as fraternal men, let us always remember that we are living at the side of the road to be a friend of man. And our path happens to be our journey through the progressive instruction our fraternity offers us. It is this journey that compels us to improve ourselves as men; to learn what integrity looks like; to know that honor is earned by how others see us; and to recognize we have duties to go to the aid of those who need our help; to be of service to others.
"In the journey of our degrees and the regular enactments of our ceremonies and rituals, in the processionals and regalia of our titled men, in the private conversations as brothers where knowledge is shared and wisdom passed along, we are creating and re-creating the meaning and purpose of our lives. In this honored and eccentric engagement, we are acting out in the presence of each other the roles we believe necessary to life itself.
"And, above all; and, more especially, we should be eternally grateful that we know how to express our love for each other. After all, 'we have one aim; to please each other and unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.'
"Let us, with every breath of our being, be about the business of being good men in our great and unique brotherhood of men."