We Are Masons
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
Photo Credit: OpenClipart
'Let us not say, Every man is the architect of his own fortune; but let us say, Ever man is the architect of his own character.' -George Dana Boardman
But just saying that we are Masons does not make it so. We must each build our own character, using the tools and implements of Freemasonry to the best of our abilities. No one becomes a master of his craft without practicing it constantly. And constant practice is not enough if you never improve yourself through Masonry.
Character is something that you work at every day, with every thought, every word, every deed. Zabud showed his character by acting when he thought a door had been left open for him to enter. Ahishar showed his lack of character by falling asleep at his post. Unlike Ahishar, you have an opportunity to continue to erect your spiritual temple.
Character is what you leave behind, in the memory of others. All your works, both good and evil, will fade over time; but people will remember what kind of person you were. That is what they will judge you by. Those you helped will recall the good things about you. Those you hurt will remember the bad.
Character is a piece of work that you will present to the Supreme Architect of the Universe for His inspection. You will chip away at the vices and superfluities of your rough ashlar every day. The chisel and mallet, the square, the compasses, the 24 Inch Gauge, and all the other tools of our Gentle Craft are at hand for you to use to accomplish your appointed task. The designs laid down in the Great Book of Life are spread out before you; follow them closely to complete your work agreeably to its original design.
The phrase “...and improve myself in Masonry” was a part of the catechism I learned after my Entered Apprentice Degree. Many Brothers, Companions, and Sir Knights have helped me to hone my craft since that long-ago night. It is still a work in progress and, hopefully, it will be until the day I lay down my working tools!