M⸫W⸫ Edward C. Woods, Grand Master
Grand Master’s Message
GNOTHI SEAUTON The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” (Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν), is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Socrates expounded the aphorism, by the phrase: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
We as Masons constantly work on our rough ashlar. Striving to attain the perfect ashlar. This process however is a lifelong endeavor, not a one and done. It not as simple as receiving the degrees, putting on a ring and magically expecting that we are without our faults as we move about in our profane world. We are human and every day brings challenges to our humanity. Given what you see in our social media and on the news; we Masons have much work that must be done.
What is the purpose of Masonry? Often times we stop short at simply stating it is, “taking a good man and making him better.” I feel this only telling a small part of the complete purpose. The reality is that we as Masons seek to make the world a better place.
To further clarify, the purpose of Masonry is to improve society through the work of good men, equipped with the tools, knowledge and skills to make the world a better place through our daily interactions, exemplifying to all how mankind should conduct themselves in a civil society.
Know Thyself – To improve oneself, is to know what we need to work on or improve on in ourselves; we need to know and understand our current state. The foundation we build upon must be appropriate for the placement of the cornerstone of our Temples.
Do you consider yourselves a good man; what improvements do you need to make in yourself? What improvements can you make as a Husband, Father, Employee or Mason. Do you exemplify through your daily actions how a Mason should walk and act?
Know our Lodges – To improve our Lodges, we must examine its current state.
When our lodges became chartered it was with an expectation that they remain viable and contribute to good of Masonry. Lodges are expected to make Masons.
Is your Lodge making Masons? How well is your ritual done when you open and close Lodge? How well did you perform the last degree for that new Brother?
Is your Lodge well attended? Are you keeping new those Masons engaged? Are you mentoring those new Brothers? Do they keep coming back?
Is your Lodge a good neighbor? Is the building in good repair? If you lived next door to your Lodge and wanted to sell your house, would you get a good price for it based on what the Lodge or its grounds looked like?
Is your Lodge participating in community events? Do you interact with the communities’ civic leaders, police, fire, mayor, or council members?
Masonry is not about doing one or two things well. It is doing many if not all things well; each having a nexus to the other. I am asking that we examine ourselves and where we find our faults to charge ourselves in amending them.
We must continue to guard the west gate, investigating and only admitting the best men into our great fraternity. Investigations must be thorough and complete; and we must understand that saying NO is OK.
We must make the Masonic experience the absolute priority. Starting with degrees that are well practiced and exemplified with perfection. This is the foundation of the new Masons Masonic life, and he deserves the very best. I have heard many people say, “it is not about the ritual.” I beg to differ; it has everything and more to do with the ritual.
We must mentor and coach our new Masons in Masonry and keep them engaged in purpose. Purpose must be established in our Lodges, without purpose what is Masonry. Each Lodge must find something that keeps their members engaged beyond simply reading the minutes, paying the bills. Provide a space in your Lodge for activities that can be enjoyed by all. This can be within or without the Lodge.
We must frequently engage in Masonic education. Be it a lecture from a guest speaker, community leader or by shrinking our Lodge and having a discussion on the level. We have an abundance of Masonic educational material available to us; to say there is nothing that can be found worthy of our time is nonsense. Try harder.
In closing, gaining new members does not equate to more money for the Lodge; this is done through raising your dues to an appropriate level that is proper to support your Lodge, Lodges activities and to pay the bills that maintain your buildings. Do what is best for the Lodge and the Fraternity, not what is best for yourself.
We are Freemasons and we are members of the greatest and oldest fraternity in the world. I ask you to “Know Yourself” and do what is best for Masonry in everything you do.
“Gnothi Seauton” – Know Thyself
MW Edward C. Woods