Masonic Wisdom: Winning

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Luciano M. Azevedo


For a moment, clear your mind and think. Think that in order for a winner to exist there is an intrinsic need of one or many losers to exist. The old expression "win win situation" is naïve or pure rhetoric.

One of the “greatest” "human sins" is envy. Is the need we all have for comparison. In order for us to feel good or special we need someone to be in a lower position or be "defeated". The comparison is so necessary that when our neighbor has some good that we do not have or that is bigger, better, or more desired, our tendency is to envy him. We hurry to run to overcome the other, to have what the other doesn't.

When we tirelessly feed this pernicious logic we become more and more self-centered, selfish, and dehumanized. The Masonic paradox of subduing our instincts comes precisely from another logic: "to become more humane we need to love more and envy less".

Competing is not bad, it's actually very good when we do it with a collective perspective of advancing together, towards prosperity and a better world.

Let Masonic logic be more and more present in our souls.

~LMA

WB Luciano M. Azevedo holds an MBA and Bachelor in Business Administration. He has published several scientific and philosophical essays and articles in the secular world. As a sommelier he wrote his own column for a major wine magazine for many years. In Freemasonry Brother “Lou” has contributed with many articles from a philosophical basic approach to an ethical decision-making in regards to masonic conduct. He is the current Worshipful Master of Zurich Lodge 1089 of A.F&A.M of the State of Illinois. W. Bro Luciano is also a member or the Grand Lodge Leadership Committee of the State of Illinois, a 32 Degree active member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago and a Shrine Noble of the Medinah Shriners.

What Freemasonry Teaches Us About Priorities

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Soon to be "Secretary Emeritus" of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL)
I made a very difficult decision recently--I decided that after seven years serving as Secretary of my Lodge, it was time to step down and let somebody else take over.  So in June, I'll become "Secretary Emeritus".   By the way, Secretary Emeritus is not a real title, but rest assured I'm going to use it anyway.

I've enjoyed the job, and that's why the decision was so tough.  I think I was good at the job, but like anything else, I'm sure I could have done a better job at a few things.  But overall, I did a good job.  I'd even been awarded Illinois Secretary of the Year a few years ago!  I've written a few pieces on the Midnight Freemasons over the years about how to be a good Secretary, like Advice For New Secretaries and Lodge Secretary (For Life): A Thankless Job.  But I'd known for some time that I needed to take a step back from a few of the roles I have in the Fraternity--Secretary was one of those. 

I've gotten to the place I'm too involved in too many things.  Secretary at one Lodge, and Master at another.  I just finished a term as Sovereign Master of my Allied Masonic Degrees Council.  I'm involved in the Scottish Rite.  We've started a new Royal Arch Chapter, and I'm up next as High Priest of the new chapter.  Then there's the blog writing, the articles, the books, the education pieces, and the speaking engagements.  It's gotten to be too much.  And we all know what happens when we get too much on our plate--we wind up with mediocrity instead of our best.  That's certainly what's been plaguing me.  I seldom feel as prepared as I should be, because I'm stretched far too thin.

So it was time for me to pull back before I burned out.  Focus on doing a few things really, really well instead of a dozen things rather poorly.  The Secretary job was the first thing I needed to let go, but there are a few other things I'm going to have to let go of--get back to being a member of a few bodies instead of a driver. 

What we often forget as Freemasons is the lesson of the 24-inch gauge--one of the first and most basic concepts we're taught.  Life is about maintaining a proper balance.  It's about properly dividing our time.  I know very few active Masons that pay any heed to that lesson at all, but we do so at our own risk.  I could name several Masons that I no longer see in Lodge anymore that I used to see at every single event I went to no matter where it was.  I know one or two were given notice by their spouses that they were spending too much time away from home, and as much as they love the Fraternity, it wasn't worth half their stuff to find out if she was serious or not.  A few others simply burned out because they were far too involved in too many things.

Brace yourself for a shocking statement--Freemasonry comes last!  It comes after God.  It comes after family.  It comes after our chosen profession.  We should never put Freemasonry before God, family, or career.  I know many who have, including me from time to time.  But as important as the work we do as Freemasons is, it should not be our entire life.  What we learn in our Lodges is what is important--those basic tenets, principles and ideals.  The application of the basic principles of Freemasonry is what is important, and making sure we're teaching our new Master Masons those lessons by serving as a good example.  Those principles we learn are the part we take with us everywhere.  Those are the basic building materials necessary to improve ourselves.  That's the part of Freemasonry that makes good men better men, and that's why we're here.  Unfortunately, too often many of us get so involved in "doing" Freemasonry that we forget to "live" Freemasonry.  We focus on the tasks rather than the philosophy. 

I think it's safe to say I'll always be an active Mason.  However, going forward I'm going to be a little more selective about the jobs I take on so that I can focus more on those things in the Fraternity where I make the biggest impact.  Writing books, articles and blog pieces that hopefully make us think.  Being a good Worshipful Master in my Lodge.  Advancing Masonic Education in our Lodges everywhere.

Attending Lodge is important.  Being involved is important.  But just as we're taught early on in our ritual--we must learn to manage our time, and live a life that's in balance. 

~TEC

Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754.  He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

Why Are You Going to the Meeting, Again?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RW Robert H. Johnson


"If you don't have to do a part in the degree, why are you going, again?"-- That's a question someone recently asked me, actually it was my wife. We were walking up the stairs as I was telling her my schedule for the week. "I have nothing on Monday or Tuesday, but Wednesday I have to do an Official visit, Thursday I have Scottish Rite rehearsal, Friday I have another Official visit to conduct and Saturday, at 8:30 in the morning I need to be at a lodge for two second degrees."

With all that going on, I can see where she was coming from. We're all so busy and it seems like at a point, if you don't *have* to be somewhere, then sit back and take a break. This is undoubtedly what she was thinking. But then she asked me that question, "If I don't have a job to do, why go?" My answer was simply, "Because these guys are friends."

My wife understood at that point. She knew that these two guys were the ones Bro. Scott and I thought "Actually get Masonry." But it got me thinking. How many brothers feel this way? How many of you all feel that if you don't have a part, you don't have to go? While I feel this is never true, I can understand the reasoning if it's a stated meeting (to a point). But for a degree, everyone has a part. Even the sideliner, which is what I was that day.

At my first degree there were 13 people present, including officers. At my second degree there were 14 and my third degree 15 people. 15 is a decent turn out these days, but for a lodge with 300 on the books, I guess it's sad.

I'm really not sure what to say at at this point, but perhaps I will just leave you with a statement and a quote.

Don't assume other people will do it or that other people will show up. Don't think you won't be missed or that it's okay to miss the meeting, it isn't, not in a time like this. Even if you don't have a job or a part, be there.

"Go to Lodge."~ Eric Diamond

~RHJ
RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.



Masonic Wisdom: In God We Trust

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Luciano M. Azevedo

Why Freemasons believe in God? The absence of God removes from the universe and from humanity its moral foundation. If all that exist is only "matter", (the original and permanent substance of all reality), we can live just as any other animal.

Evil voices say "Let the poor die, let's make all the populations of poor countries disappear, so we will have more water, more crude oil, more sustainability conditions for the world because we would be reducing the number of our biggest predator, namely man himself."

Only the notion of God as a moral being offers humanity the foundation of indiscriminate solidarity.

The ethical foundation of the universe and humanity rests on love, expression of the Great Architect of the Universe, The Divine Being that gives birth to everything! This necessarily implies the realization that the correlation that binds man to mankind is connected to the understanding of a higher correlation which binds man to God and God to man.

Since it is only on the relationship with our neighbor that we are complete, and only God offers the foundation for the unity of humanity, every denial of love, which is equivalent to the alienation of the other, is also equivalent to the disintegration of ourselves.

~LMA

WB Luciano M. Azevedo holds an MBA and Bachelor in Business Administration. He has published several scientific and philosophical essays and articles in the secular world. As a sommelier he wrote his own column for a major wine magazine for many years. In Freemasonry Brother “Lou” has contributed with many articles from a philosophical basic approach to an ethical decision-making in regards to masonic conduct. He is the current Worshipful Master of Zurich Lodge 1089 of A.F&A.M of the State of Illinois. W. Bro Luciano is also a member or the Grand Lodge Leadership Committee of the State of Illinois, a 32 Degree active member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago and a Shrine Noble of the Medinah Shriners.