My brethren. Warm and fraternal greetings. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bro. Dave Bacon. I’m 32 years old and live in Navarre, OH. I am a member of New Philadelphia lodge #177 in New Philadelphia, OH. I have been asked to write articles by a few different sources inspired by my recent reflective posts on social media. This will be the first of many Masonic articles with an aim to inspire through reflection as well as (hopefully) serving as a true inspiration to brethren whose flame may have either dimmed… or simply not been embraced or fanned to blaze brighter.
Today’s topic is my first of many installations for your consideration and reflection into many different subjects within masonry and the applicability and relevance it has on our lives as well as the lives of the profane and brethren coming into masonry. So without further delay…
Laying My Cornerstone
AKA the endeavor of solidifying the perspective of brethren through careful choice of material
The cornerstone of any project could arguably be the most important step. Once the correct material is chosen for the task at hand, we must now ensure that the corner stone is not only laid properly, but also that it is shaped properly and is of the highest of quality materials. We all know the significance of the NE corner, and its relevance to starting our building. Before we go further, we ask, “How well does the newest cornerstone of our lodge understand his true responsibilities? Are we ensuring he has as firm a grasp on his current placement within our lodge? Has he been implored to reflect deeply and offered various perspectives on each symbol and working tool he has been presented before moving to the opposite corner?”
If the answers to these questions are a firm and certain yes, then congratulations are in order, brethren, as we have successfully laid a cornerstone for our fraternal success. However, if the answers are no, then, my brethren, we must now ask why and how we may improve this answer to be a firm and resonating yes. Our new cornerstone has sat through the lecture, but has the entire lecture been explained in a way he can firmly understand before progressing forward? After all, what came you here to do? If improving in masonry isn’t your answer, I ask that you reevaluate why and ask yourself or others how you can change that. We are Masons. We are given charge to ensure the future of our fraternity through thought and reflection; to inspire good men to become better.
Masonry is more than the degrees. If degree work is all Masonry is about, then we have inadvertently created the void we often complain about. To be sure, degree work is important. Without it, to what does it allude? But without reflection, it leaves specific lessons that may or may not be heard because it is often repeated the same way. We need to give our brethren true growth by feeding their curiosity and hunger for knowledge. Hours can be spent on the point within the circle alone… there’s no reason further expansion shouldn’t be the same for the rest. When we gaze upon our newest cornerstone, we should be able to feel comfortable with where he is at before he moves to the next step.
If our newest cornerstone is not ready to move on, he probably should not. It is our duty to inform him, and it his duty to ask well informed brethren. The only issue I have personally is ascribing who is truly well informed? Where is their information coming from? Is it information written down somewhere, or is it from a personal interpretation of the lessons we are given? To be truly well informed, we must first be made a solid cornerstone ourselves, and our eyes must be opened to reflection. For if not, we are certainly able to be tainted by darkness as we come into the light, which will ultimately dim out the bright shining members who came before, as well as those who shall follow.
Let us take heed the dangers in a lack of education—both Masonic education within the lodge and personal education among brethren via good and solid fellowship. As such, education does not always have to be within a lodge. Education can take place anywhere a lesson is learned. We have been given the arduous task of creating the men who make up the pillars of society. Let us not fail in this endeavor by squandering the fruits of our labors on reading the minutes. The minutes may be important to document, but what use are the minutes if our brethren are not fanned to shine brighter than those who came before. Brethren, we are the fraternal beacon of hope. It is up to us to inform and support any and all endeavors that can benefit the fraternal bond between us.
In closing, I would like to further add and compound my goal. My aim with future articles will often be reflection and thought into ways we can achieve the greatest and most difficult job bestowed upon us. These pieces will, at times, provoke some serious thought within you. Those are my hopes anyway. The cornerstone work is never completed. We are never finished. Our work is never ending. But, with enough education and reflective conversation we can ultimately make the duties of future brethren easier than our own.
My brethren, for us, it is back to the trestleboard and into the quarries. Let’s find the highest quality men, polishing the proverbial diamond in the rough as we hewn and number our new brethren. Let us facilitate their journey in joining in the work of the master craftsman. Be the change you wish to see. Share your light as it comes to you, and reflect the light of others to inspire the same in the brethren around you.
It’s time to roll our sleeves up and get back to work. I’ll meet you in the quarries.
Thank you Bro. Dave Bacon for your contribution, enthusiasm, and inspiration.
If you would like to be a contributor to Fresh from the Quarry, please send me an email.
I hope you will.