FROM THE EAST

Many times, in the course of my travels, I’ve heard the question asked by one of our esteemed brothers, Why are you here?” It is a very simple but profound question.  The purpose of this question is to make us think about our motivation and purpose for actively participating in the fraternity. So why do we leave the comforts of home on a cold wet night to attend a meeting?  Why do we travel in some cases, far distances to participate in a masonic event? Why do we try so hard to learn ritual and then get dressed in a tuxedo to eat a hot dog? I don’t think there is any one reason. For my part I enjoy the ritual, the comradery, the search for light, the mystique and symbolisms, and service to the community.I guess the reasons are as diverse and varied as the universality of Masonry.  But it reminds me of another simple question, why do men climb mountains, the answer is because they are there. Perhaps the answer to our question is just that simple, “It’s what we as masons do”.

Thank you, Brother Mike, for asking the question. It made us a little more reflective and contemplative which is something we should do more as masons. And thanks to all that came that night just for doing what we do.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

It seems to me that people, for the most part, are creatures of habit. We pretty much follow the same routine , doing things the same way we’ve always done them. We’ll follow the same route to work every day, take the same seat at the dinner table at night, do our grocery shopping the same day of the week, watch our favorite TV show from the same chair every Sunday. They dictate the choices we make, the places we go, the things we do and the people we associate with. This is not a bad thing, in fact it’s perfectly normal, as long as our habits are not self destructive. The point is this , our habits become our way of life.

I believe one of the core values of masonry is to foster good habits. It gives us the tools we need to develop our moral and spiritual being. It provides a support system to help us achieve higher goals and gives us an opportunity to be useful and become a more productive and valued member of society.

So here is the key, habits are also choices. We can make a conscious effort to change, and or remove habits, and by doing so we can control and improve the quality of our lives.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

Recently I had the opportunity to ponder this question. What is a Mason? I came up with the following:

  • He is someone who will help when there is nothing personal to gain.
  • He will give you the shirt off his back (or whatever your necessity may be)
  • He shows up, not just when it’s convenient, but all the time.
  • He has a high regard for both moral and civil law.
  • He is a social person, a friend to all.
  • He is a leader by his example.
  • He is a supporter willing to follow.
  • He gives his time to the service of the organization and the community.
  • He is a doer, not a talker
  • He is a father, a son, a husband, an uncle, a brother
  • He is a good man trying to be better

This definition has come from my personal experiences and observations both in the lodge and in my travels throughout the District and State. I’m sure there are qualities you could add to this list and I look forward to hearing from you. See you soon.

Fraternally,

Carl  DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

In my masonic readings, I’ve come across the saying “as above so below, as within so without”. When I first read this , I  was intrigued by the thought. I found it to be a simple but very profound idea. As I am not a philosopher I’m sure there are other , much deeper interpretations, but I still want to share my own thoughts which are more on the surface. The first part tells us that if above is meant to be heaven and below is earth then that which is in heaven is also here on earth. But if above is referring to earth, then below must represent hell. In which case that which is hell will be found here on earth. So, like the song says, this could be heaven or this could be hell.

The second part tells us that whatever is inside of us, is also found outside, by this we create our own world.  This is because the world is a reflection of our beliefs. All our thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams become our reality. This in turn will dictate the quality and perhaps even the meaning and effectiveness of our lives. The amazing part of this is  that we have the power to control and even change our lives. I believe this is the essence of masonic light. The willingness to take a closer look at the world inside of us, to challenge our thoughts and ideas. Maybe take a deeper look into our hearts so we can create a better life for ourselves, family, friends and community.And by so doing maybe even find that heaven that’s here on earth.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny”      Mahatma Gandi

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”    Mahatma Gandi

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

Today I’d like to contemplate the saying ” you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. It seems simple enough> It suggests you’ve done your part in making an offer and providing the opportunity and resources for what you thought someone wanted only to find out it’s not what they wanted at all, and they do not partake in the offering. Too often I’ll sit in Lodge and look at the empty seats. I’ll think of some of the brethren I’ve met in Lodge, those who’ve helped me along the way and made me feel welcomed and I’ll wonder where are they now? I think of all the investigations and degrees we’ve conducted and wonder what happened to those candidates, where did they go? I ask why are so few of us active in the events and activities that go on in the district and in the State and I just can’t help but reflect on that saying.

Perhaps the real moral of the story is the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of each other. We need to get to know each other better, to spend more time together, talk, find out what we want and what we enjoy before inviting them to the watering hole. We might find that we are offering them a drink when they really want something to eat.

Fraternally,

Carl Del Conte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

Our Brother Ben Franklin coined the phrase “time is money” but what do you think he meant? I always understood this to mean that time is used for work to produce goods or services which are sold for a profit and that idle time is wasted time and therefore lost revenue. Hence time and money are interchangeable.

Only recently and I like to think through the masonic influence I’ve come to another conclusion and that is very simply that time like money is a commodity, it has a value, it will return interest and therefore it should not be wasted.

We are taught in the EA   degree to divide our time into three equal parts and, interestingly enough, only one third of this time is for work. It seems to me that leaves plenty of time for other interest and vocations. Very often when we are approached for a cause, we are willing to give our money but not so often as willing to give our time. But it seems that the investment of our time to the service of others pays dividends by enriching the life  not only of those who gave but of those who received and it will pay those dividends for life. Try to get that from a monetary investment.

Lastly, I would like to say that in the end no one ever wishes they had more money, but I’m sure they’d wish for more time, spend your time wisely. I look forward to your donations around the lodge, our community the district and the State.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

Last month we discussed from a literal standpoint, the adage, “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” This time let’s consider it from a more philosophical standpoint. I understand this to mean that if there is no one present to bear witness to my actions do those actions really matter? Or more simply stated, what do I do when no one is watching.

Let us consider the tree for a minute, regardless of the time of day, the season, weather conditions, if any one or any thing is watching or whatever else may be taking place, when it falls it makes a sound. The reason is very simple, it’s what the tree does and it will do it every time.

Now again let us consider the Masonic adage that “Masonry makes good men better” I think one way it does this is by purity and consistency in our thoughts, words and actions. This is what Masons do. So how do I know if I’ve become a better man? I guess I’ll find out by what I do the next time when no one is watching.

Come to Lodge and listen to the trees.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

My Brother,

I would like you to consider the adage “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s  no one there to hear it does it make a sound?” If we interpret this literally the obvious answer is yes it does, But then you must realize if there is no one there to hear it , the sound has no meaning, no relevance? Now let us consider the masonic adage that ” masonry makes good men better.”  I believe this is also true, but the question is how?

I would suggest one way is by our Fraternal communion, our sharing of common goals, thoughts and ideas, through our conversations at meetings and various charitable and social events, working and playing together. In this way, we become more relevant, we make a noise that is heard within the fraternity and throughout our communities.

So, we must now ask the question” if a good man joins Masonry and he does not become active, participate and contribute in the fraternity does it make him a better man?”  I look forward to discussing this answer and other topics in more detail in lodge, I hope you will be there to hear it.

Fraternally,

Carl DelConte, WM

FROM THE EAST

Once more, it is time for the arrival of a new Master and officers. This past year has been a challenge to us all. We have raised some new Master Masons.We had the interior of the lodge renewed. We have lost some brothers, called to the lodge on high. We have welcomed new visitors to our meetings.

But is that enough? Have we done all we can for the Lodge and the Fraternity? We strive to support the charities of the Lodge and Grand Lodge. Do we attend the meetings of the Lodge? Do we give of ourselves to those in need? Do we live our obligations every day?

The time has arrived for my term to end. I thank my officers and those who were always there to help get things done. May you all have a truly blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year!!!!!!

Fraternally;

Joseph Herx, WM

FROM THE EAST

“I bring you greetings….” How often have we heard these words? Yet how often do we take the time to give greetings to our brothers? We go to Lodge, we see the familiar faces; the officers, the loyal sideliners, the brothers we have known for many, many years. Do we get up to give greetings to them all? Do we take the time to acknowledge the brothers who have come to share their evening with us?

What of the brothers we do not recognize? The member who has not been out for a long while? The visitor from within our District? The first time visitor from out of state? The newly raised brother? What impression do they get of the fellowship in Harmony Lodge?

What about downstairs in the collation hall? Do you sit with the same three brothers every meeting night? Do you invite a stranger to sit and share the meal with you? How “WELCOME” do we make all our brethren feel?

“There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.” These words hang above the entrance to the Lodge room. Have you seen them? Do you make them watchwords for your treatment of all your brothers? Have you brought greetings to your brothers?

Fraternally,

Joseph Herx, WM