If you’ve been through the Royal Arch Degree, you know that there is a lot of walking, and obstacles to overcome in the degree. It’s difficult enough to go through with sight and being able-bodied. But for part of the degree, you are hoodwinked and attached to the other candidates. The 3 Masters of the Veil act as conductors. Since we only had 2 candidates, fellow Midnight Freemason Todd E. Creason acted as the third. Todd also acted as a guide for Dale who put his hands on Todd’s shoulders rather firmly, while I and Companion James Peplow, as Master of the 1st veil, were on each side of Dale firmly grabbing his arms. Slowly, we were guided by Companion Sean McBride who was acting as Principal Sojourner. Dale started walking without his walker, aided by his brothers.
Dale was a rock star. He didn’t complain although I could tell he was in some discomfort. He was relieved at every break in the action, when we stayed still, but he was back moving as soon as it was time. I can’t imagine the toll this took on him, but he desired to go through the degree like a non-disabled candidate would. He went over or through every obstacle presented to him. I was in awe of his willpower, stamina and grit.
How perfect is it that the triangle, which takes a prominent place in this Degree was formed by Todd, James and I around Dale. But I want to make no mistake, the real example, of how to act as a Mason, was Dale. By his actions, and uniquely dry sense of humor, he made us feel like he was helping us. In the second section especially, when Todd was acting as his sole guide, he still continued on stoically. My brothers, it was a sight to behold.
What I was reminded of, while Todd, James and Myself helped Dale and Dale in turn inspired us, was the 3 specific virtues upon which our Fraternity was built. Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Brotherly Love is that virtue which admonishes us that we should treat all of mankind with the love and adoration that we have for our own family, and especially treat Brother Master Masons in this fashion. Relief is the virtue that reminds us of our oath in our obligations, to relieve the suffering of any Master Mason who is in dire need of it; but to also act charitably towards others in order to improve the common good. By Truth, we understand this to be the attribute of the Divine, and we are taught to be good and true. It reminds us that we must be in every action men who have honor and act accordingly.
However, we are not the only organization to stress the lesson of Brotherly Love. The Second Degree of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows is the Degree of Brotherly Love. The degree tells the story of an Israelite, who is travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He is robbed and left for dead. He attempts to have several of his countrymen help him, but all pass him by. Only a Samaritan, who is his enemy, helps the weary traveler. The lessons are the same, that as an Odd Fellow, you are to provide Brotherly Love and Relief to all mankind.
So my brothers, I leave you with this Poem, which I think is fitting.