Humility. The dry definition of humility is quite simply, a modest, or low view, of one’s own importance. That sounds a bit depressing if you ask me. I prefer Brother Benjamin‘s concept.
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Whether you’re a follower of Christ or a believer of some other saintly being, you cannot deny that the Life of Jesus is an example of humility. Jesus Christ is well known no matter one’s religious beliefs as being extremely self-sacrificing. He preached humility and practiced what he taught without fail. Even his famous explosive behavior against the money changers in the temple was because of his love for God, not for himself. Consider his sacrifice; to give his life for those he loved is without a doubt, the epitome of humility. Jesus Christ reportedly washed the feet of his disciples–a very subservient behavior. He walked among the sick and the poor when most would not. He served Mankind without expectation of return, even—arguably—knowing there would be pain and suffering as well as a lot of disappointment.
These are the actions that we, as Freemasons, must take into consideration while we work through our daily activities. Always keeping our eye on the goal of improving ourselves as men, brothers, spouses, and friends; we must strive towards humility and service.
A Greek philosopher who’s personal dedication to family is something we’ll overlook, Socrates began his apprenticeship in masonry. Not speculative masonry, operative masonry. The study of operative masonry may, or may not, have contributed to his eventual interest in philosophy. This historical great served in the Greek military, but it is believed that after such service, he became a popper by focusing solely on his philosophical pursuit. Some say he earned a living through teaching, but Plato (one of his students) claimed that he refused payment, believing that his extreme poverty helped his image as a philosopher. But it isn’t to these endeavors that I believe Brother Ben refers when suggesting that we emulate Socrates.
Socrates’ displays of humility are in his constant pursuit of answers. Socrates never assumed he had all of the answers despite being a well-renowned scholar. He always asked questions, seeking to learn new things, fervently educating himself as a perpetual student of Life. He used this hunger for knowledge to keep himself humble, something many in academia struggle to maintain.
A Freemason dedicates himself to improvement. Self-improvement, education, promotion of local development, social advancement, and more. Jesus Christ educated, learned, asked questions, served others, and humbly kept himself grounded despite being the Son of God. He walked among the sick, the helpless, and the shunned, providing them with his service, and eventually sacrificed himself willingly for those that he came to serve. Socrates remained locked in humility so that he could be a consummate student. He never assumed he knew it all nor believed that he couldn’t learn from a situation. In humility, Socrates became one of the world’s best-known philosophers and educators. Thus he served.
Brothers, these are the examples of humility that I contend will lend us success in our pursuit of improvement. What will you add to this discussion?