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President’s Message, June 2021

Believe it or not, there is great diversity in Masonic rituals. What is worked in my lodge in New York does not match perfectly with rituals in neighboring jurisdictions, something noticed instantly when visiting a lodge in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. In addition to the official published rituals, lectures, and charges, there are other pieces that sometimes can be added to your degrees and meetings. Perhaps you have joined a Chain of Union after lodge is closed. Maybe you have been lucky to hear the “Canadian Charge” (it goes by several names) after a Master Mason Degree. Some European forms of Freemasonry even have ceremonies in lodge for weddings and baptisms. That’s a bit much for my tastes, but here is an item I found while researching for a paper I’m writing. In the pages of the April 1915 issue of The Builder, the magazine published by the National Masonic Research Society, is an oration authored by brethren of Lyons Lodge 93 in Iowa. It is a charge a brother delivered to his son upon being raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. Happy Fathers Day!

My son: Tonight you become a member of an order—not only of friends, but of brothers. In your life, as you master its teachings and experience its good influences, you will have a great mental growth.

Masonry fosters only the right doers; its principles, its teachings, its mysteries all tend to the elevation of man. Masonry gives maturity to the good character, and character may be likened to a universal bank. The deposits that are made in the bank of character bear an eternal interest. No thief can steal them; no panic can dissipate them.

The life of him who is pure, just, honorable and noble, finds within the tenets of Masonry loyal protection “from the evil intentions of our enemies.” We believe that you will be true and faithful to the teachings of Masonry, and we trust that you will so live that your words and your actions will be such as to brighten the memory of all the good men who have stood where you and I now stand—amid friends and amid brothers.

You are the son of a Mason who reveres Masonry’s teachings and stands uncovered in the presence of its sublime mysteries. If you will have your conduct in harmony with the principles of Masonry, you will aid my remaining years to pass in peaceful satisfaction.

You are not only my son, but you are also my brother. Believing that you will always prove yourself as being worthy of having been this evening “raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason,” I hope to be steadied by your arm as my son and as my brother when I depart on the journey whose goal is the realm of silence.

Even the All-Seeing Eye has a tear after that. Please feel free to keep this handy if you or a lodge brother ever comes to enjoy the honor of seeing a son become a brother.