December is upon us. The great festive month celebrating many joyous holiday seasons. I know that there are similar beliefs in the other great religions of the world, and I must admit my ignorance to quote them properly. To that end, I would invite the Brethren to enlighten me when we next see each other. However, for me, at this time of year my thoughts turn to Christmas.
In the Holy Bible, John 13:34 Jesus says, “A new command I give unto you: That ye Love one another. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
This is most easily the clear and comprehensive description of Brotherly Love. Other than being a Founding Principle of Freemasonry, it is also the basis for the “Golden Rule” which is referenced in the Charge to the Newly Admitted Mason in the Entered Apprentice Degree.
When a new Entered Apprentice is charged with his Duties to his Neighbour, he is told: “... to your neighbour, by acting with him on the Square, by rendering him every kind office which justice and mercy may require, by relieving his distresses, by soothing his afflictions, and by doing to him, as in similar cases, you would wish he should do unto you…”.
The book I would like to highlight this month is: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carne-gie. In “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the author devotes many of his chapters to how to be a better friend and how to actually try to be a genuinely good person. A person people would want to be friends with. One of his first chapters discusses how the dog is one of the first animals people have chosen to feed without any need for a service. He brought to mind chicken, sheep and bovine and discussed how they all were required to contribute something in exchange for their feed on the farm. But not the dog - not man’s best friend. With a pleasant and happy disposition and genuine care and compassion, the dog has moved from a working animal to truly be man’s best friend. The author argues that we could all benefit from a deeper look at the friendship and unconditional love offered by a canine.
This is one of the greatest privileges of Freemasonry. We love one another, for the sake of Brotherhood, not for the offerings of material friendship, status, or financial gain. But earnestly caring for one another; to see the interests of others as inseparable from our own, as our work teaches us.
Few things are more encouraging than the steadfastness of the Brother who always has a friendly smile and a kind word.
Freemasonry is so much more than a building we meet in. Freemasonry is so much more than the meeting agenda or the bank balance. Freemasonry, true Freemasonry, is the moments of Brotherly Love experienced between a group of Masons: moments of learning, moments of help and assistance, moments of fellowship, and moments of shared grief and shared happiness. Freemasonry is Brotherly Love.
I will end this Musing with a warm wish of festive happiness to each of you. Eat, Drink and be Merry! Share that Brotherly Love which defines Freemasonry with everyone you meet in your daily lives and please…
Continue the work!
MW Bro. Jonas Cossette, Grand Master, 2023-24