"May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us, and all regular Masons! May Brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us."
From the first time we step into a Masonic lodge room we are told, “No man should ever enter into any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessings of the deity.” As we progress in Masonry, we begin to encounter the opportunities to ask our Creator for his blessings on our great and good works. But what are these blessings?
Recently while working on another essay, I began to think about the blessings we receive from the Grand Master of the Universe and began to wonder, "...what are we really asking him for?"
I started to think about this old song I would occasionally hear as a child about counting your blessings. A quick search of Google brought me the words of a song I had long forgotten written by Brother Irving Berlin, a life member of Munn Lodge No. 190, New York called “Counting my blessings instead of sheep”:
Now I know most of us to pause for a moment occasionally and reflect and give thanks to God for the blessings he's has given us--our families, our home or whatever you personally are grateful for, but how many times have we as Freemasons paused and truly thought about what the Grand Architect has blessed us with as a Fraternity?
We as Freemasons are blessed by our Creator to live in a time and in a land that allows us to practice our vocation of speculative Freemasonry in a spirit of Brotherly love and friendship, without fear of imprisonment, torture or death.
The members of the Midnight Freemasons constantly receive emails from men who beg us to become Freemasons. Some of them live in places where if it were discovered they were even attempting to join our Craft they could lose their Freedom, but despite the threat to themselves and their families they still desire the light we're blessed to receive.
The first time I visited what was to become my motherlodge I was approached by an elderly Past Master who said “I don’t know why you want to join the Masons. The Fraternity will be dead in ten years anyway.“ That was in 2002, sixteen years ago from this writing, and I am happy to say the Fraternity is still alive, even though that Brother who made that dire prediction didn’t live to see that he was wrong.
Through the years I have heard the same prediction that that Past Master made many times, and we are still blessed by the Grand Architect of the Universe to still be here and practicing our Craft. Sadly recently, I have been reading essays by Brothers that the Masonic skies are falling again.
These Brothers are using statistical data compiled over the last century to show the loss of membership, and if the statistics are correct at any rate, we are losing members, and the Masonic Fraternity will die within a few years. I will admit if you just look at stark, raw numbers they are correct.
But Brethren numbers are just that numbers. They don’t take into consideration the spiritof the individual Freemason and his determination. If you are read those recent essays or if you are reading these words now, it is apparent that you have either have a love of or at least an interest of Freemasonry and if there are still men who are Freemasons in their heart, no one will allow the Fraternity to pass away.
If you have ever studied the history of Freemasonry you know that our Craft has survived the inquisition, the anti-Masonic period here in America, The Nazi period in Europe where our Brethren were tortured and murdered, put in concentration camps. We've survived the false profits who've lied about us for centuries, claiming we're guilty of everything from murder to demon worship, as we supposedly attempt world domination. No matter what lies and discrimination has been thrown at us over three hundred years, we are still standing upright like a stone wall--composed of living stones, held together by the cement of Brotherly love which still unites us. Much like a forest fire which decimates a woodland, when the fire is extinguished nature will begin to regrow, and that land which was scorched will grow back more lush and stronger than before.
Brethren, I would be a liar if said Freemasonry doesn’t have problems. We all know it does. But this piece isn’t meant to address them or illustrate them. The message I am trying to convey is, we as a Fraternity need to embrace the blessings given by the Grand Architect of the Universe and begin to work together using That Noble Contention or rather an emulation, of who best can work and best agree, in order rebuild Freemasonry. And Brethren, negative attitudes and non cooperation won’t light our path. We are totally in control of our own destiny. If we want to survive, we must begin to actually work together.