Bro. Jon Patrick Sage
The first tenet of a Mason’s profession, Brotherly Love, is, in our Monitorial Lecture, followed closely by Relief and Truth. As we look closely at the descriptions of those tenets, it becomes apparent that Relief and Truth are supporters of Brotherly Love; that is to say, that Brotherly Love IS the central theme that runs throughout what ought to be to “professed” activity(s) of a Mason, and in order to do so, the elements of Relief and Truth must also be present and active. If we take that as accepted, then let us consider the central theme of Brotherly Love and its role in our Masonic and daily lives.
Defined simply, Love is a “powerful attraction”, or “warm concern for another person”. To take it further, you could love some-thing, but again, for simple reasons, we focus on the some-one. Brother, rather- Brotherly is the adverb describing that type of love, it being designated in a closeness related to Brothers! Our Lecture 3rd defines, very specifically, what a Brother is; that “created by one Almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aide, support, and protect each other”. Although our landmarks do spell out a male only membership, there is no such inkling of divisions given in any definitions of the word Brotherly- Masonic, or not. So, it must follow that we are to love all of our fellow creatures; race, nationality, and gender notwithstanding.
Now, let’s not go any farther before agreeing that I am not trying to change or alter the Landmarks. Women cannot be made Masons, and that is that; I am only talking of general human behavior and treatment, in general and generic terms.
Simply put: one of our first directives as Masons, by the definitions talked about previously, is to love our fellow human beings without boundary. If we, as Masons do this, nearly all of the other directives of our Fraternity are attended to. Love, Brotherly Love, is THE basis and pivotal point of everything else!
This practice puts us in league with the teaching of the greatest Religions of the World, as well as directly in line with the highest thinkers of any age. Indeed, the action, if carried through to fruition, puts the Mason directly in line with any high ideal or concept, with the very definition and/or concept of an all caring and all-encompassing God, which we are not only to Worship, but to endeavor to, in many ways: imitate, if only in things having an Earthly nature.
In so many philosophers, from Jorge Luis Borges, to Pascal, and on back to Plato, there is, of many attempts at definition, a continuing and always evolving thought process that defines an existence of God (our Father and Creator), as a sphere whose “center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere”. Perhaps this is summed up best by Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth, in an excerpt from interviews with Bill Moyers:
“There is a definition of God which has been repeated by many philosophers. God is an intelligible sphere—a sphere known to the mind, not to the senses—whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. And the center, Bill, is right where you’re sitting. And the other one is right where I’m sitting. And each of us is a manifestation of that mystery. That’s a nice mythological realization that sort of gives you a sense of who and what you are.”
Indeed, such should be the extent of our Brotherly Love to our fellow creatures, the children of our God; which is to effectively say, there is no extent of true Brotherly and/or Masonic Love.
Simply put, whether or not Brotherly Love is a tenet of a Mason’s profession; Brotherly Love, under and within the will of our Heavenly Father, is always present, and is never guarded by any boundary. Although it is within our prerogative as Masons to exhibit and promote this ideal, one need not be a Mason to do so, and one certainly does not need to be a Mason in order to enjoy the benefits and privileges of receiving Brotherly Love.
As Brotherly Love is a tenet of our profession as Masons, may we also carry it about with us in our daily lives, as a light shining, to all others in the sphere of our lives’ influence. We, Masons, ARE someone’s first, and then lasting, glimpse and perception of Masonry. Let us then, always frame every action to match that delightful picture, and to then temper every reaction, so that the Divine precepts and bonds of Brotherly will prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us.