About Masonary

Freemasonry, what is it ?

SOURCE

Notwithstanding a wealth of literature and other sources of information on the subject, Freemasonry remains a mystery to men who would like to know more about the nature and principles of the fraternity of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons. Functioning throughout the free world as a universal Institution. Symbolic Freemasonry is nonetheless recognized for it's benevolent aims and good works. It traces decent from associations of operative masons, the cathedral builders of Medieval Europe, and it inherits traditions rooted in antiquity which have been woven into a pattern of organization set after a meeting in London, England, in 1717, when four old Lodges of Operative Freemasons formed the first Grand Lodge.

In a period of transition, Freemasonry became a Speculative Craft, which attracted men of learning and affluence. They codified the " Old Charges " and, in the first of these enjoined Masons to be

" Good men and true, or men of honor and honesty, by whatever denomination or persuasions they maybe distinguished, whereby Masonry becomes the center of union, and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance. "

DEFINITION

A brief definition of Freemasonry is, " A beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols ". This means, in effect, that moral values implicit in integrity and good citizenship are presented by allegories, and symbolic use of the familiar tools of the mason's craft, which once served our operative forbears to erect the stately buildings that stand as their memorial. Stating it in other terms is this practical summation of Freemasonry as

" Kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, pity and concern for the unfortunate, resistance toward the wicked, help for the weak, trust in the strong, forgiveness for the penitent, love for one another and above all, reverence and love for God. Freemasonry is many things but most of all: Freemasonry is a way of life." **

** Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

COMPONENTS

Masonry is thus not a religion, but is essentially religious in character, and its initiates must believe in a Supreme Being. It does not seek to reform, but to make good men better. It is not a benevolent society, but teaches charity in word and practice, and maintains its own Charitable Foundations. It is not a secret society, but has its own modes of recognition, rites and ceremonies. It is not a social society as such, but promotes a rare fellowship and an atmosphere in which men of good will and diverse callings may meet " upon the level ".

RESPONSIBILITIES

The privileges of Freemasonry are counter-balanced by responsibilities. In asking for acceptance into this fellowship the applicant must recognize that relationship is a reciprocal one, in which he is obligated to make his contribution. He is assured however, that nothing will be required of him that will conflict with the duties he owes to God, his country, his neighbor, or himself.

ORGANIZATION

"Ancient Craft Masonry ", as it is called, is not a monolithic organization. Each Grand Lodge is independent and sovereign in it's own Jurisdiction, and is composed of representatives of the Lodges within its sphere of authority. These lodges function democratically and confer the " Degrees " of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. In Quebec more than 10,000 Masons are associated in more than 100 Lodges comprising that Grand Lodge of Quebec, which was formed in 1869, and which has a historic background. In Canada, Freemasons number a quarter-million, and throughout the United States and the world are similar Lodges and regular Grand Lodges with millions of Free and Accepted Masons, all of whom became such by voluntary petition and participation in the ceremonies of the Craft.

SUMMATION

Freemasonry has many facets: its history, literature and philosophy cover a wide range in time and scope. For those interested in the broader Masonic spectrum, the work of the Lodge encompasses many and varied opportunities for self-development and enjoyment of associations with congenial men. While clinging to and transmitting age-old tenets, Masonry is in no sense archaic, and it maintains the traditions received in the transition from a declining operative craft to and extending speculative Freemasonry.

The Masonic Institution is a living society today because it has been subject to change and expansion. Growth and development are symptoms of life.

With its heritage and in its practice, FREEMASONRY IS A WAY OF LIFE.