To Be Heroes

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley

”High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic." -- George Orwell

People want to be inspired to do great things and to become great themselves. We all secretly see ourselves as heroes, but know deep down that by ourselves we aren’t. Those who enable us to become what we want to be are the best leaders, because ultimately, leadership is about inspiring others to be great. That lesson is too often lost in our lodges, with the mundane business of running things driving out aspirations to a higher purpose. It’s hard to remember why we became Masons during the second hour of minutia-ridden discussion about the advisability of adding waffles to the pancake breakfast menu.

Masonry is a progressive moral science, whose principles and mystic ceremonies are constructed to convey eternal truths through allegory and beautiful language. It calls us, through its ritual, to live heroically. We cannot ignore the mundane things required to exist in the profane world, but if they become the center of our lives, then we have removed ourselves from the essence of Masonry. We have chosen to be mundane.

To live heroically does not mean that we should routinely charge into burning buildings or seek out danger. It means simply that we should aspire to live lives of great purpose, always looking to improve ourselves, and ever seeking to give voice to the better angels of our nature. Masons are called to be heroes in everyday clothing, helping one another and doing good wherever possible. Let us live, Brethren, in the ever-present creative promise of today. Let us be the heroes needed in this moment, now, for ourselves and others. Let us be Masons.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at:

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. When we actively help newer members to develop leadership skills and trust them to carry to the next generation, then we earn their respect while also perpetuating this great fraternity!


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