By: Chad Powell, P.M. Damascus Lodge #10
Brothers work diligently through the line, they prepare meals, clean, and plan for meetings and activities. Each step through the progressive line hopefully builds the Brother up so he is ready for the next seat. In the non-progressive line, a Brother continues to labor in a seat in which he is the best suited until he is ready for another seat and then serves there, both ways preparing him for another seat until at last, he reaches the East. Then, through a term of hard work, constant diligence, and many restless nights, he is done.
No lesson, seat, or lecture in Masonry fully prepares a man for this lesson Masonry and the Lodge has to offer. This is the lesson of a Past Master, the day after when a Past Master does not receive an email or a call. There is no immediate task to be completed, no follow up on designated duties, no sickness or distress to address because he has handed the mantle to another. The lesson is of humility and true self-worth. The Fraternity loses many Brothers to this lesson because they were in fact never truly Masons in their hearts. The titles, accolades, work, and recognition for their work was fine but suddenly feeling like they are not needed, seeing the realization that one’s Lodge will continue after they are done, that in fact, they are not the best thing since sliced bread in their Lodge is perhaps the hardest lesson the Fraternity offers.
In truth, a healthy group of active Past Masters is pivotal for a successful Lodge and Lodge programs. A new Worshipful Master could do nothing better than confer in private with his Past Masters and sit in council with his immediate Past Master and Wardens often. However, the Brothers of the Fraternity do not often follow this model. A Past Master, like any other Brother in the Lodge, needs to be involved, to know that his work is valued, and to be a fully participating, actively engaged member of the Lodge. When a Lodge puts their Past Masters out to pasture, the Lodge is putting their program on life support.
Ultimately, the Lodge’s success and programs aside, the sooner the Brothers in a line realize that the Lodge is more important than the individual and the true lesson of a Lodge is how to be helpful and stay humble, the sooner Light will be fully restored and Masonry will thrive. Luckily, many Lodges are full of Brothers who follow and live in this selfless manner. May we all continue to come together in brotherly love and unity while supporting each other on our own individual journeys through Masonry.
Chad Powell, P.M. Damascus Lodge #10