Greetings Brethren: I would like to take a moment and wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. I would also like to encourage you to get involved this year, and help promote our Valley and Language Center. I truly feel if we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot, and make a difference.
I came across an article on brotherly love that I’d like to share with you:
What is brotherly love and how do we find it?
Whether the subject of heart is mulled over by the philosopher or analyzed by the scientist, one thing is certain — the heart is one of life’s most important mysteries.
Freemasonry reflects this idea when it instructs that every mason is made ready first in his heart, and at the close of our Masonic quest it is the purified heart which we consecrate to serving humanity. Among all the masonic teachings, none is more important than brotherly love.
It is a familiar aphorism of Vincent van Gogh, and I think a true one: That which undertaken for the cause of love is well accomplished.
Van Gogh wrote:
It is good to love many things, for therein, lies the true strength. Whosoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much…. What is done, in love, is well done.
Unfortunately, in the world today, it seems like the practice of brotherly love falls short of the ideal. Peace and harmony do not rule the day. There is conflict here and around the world. Our very home, this tiny little planet, is in real crisis. The disconnect between the ideal and the reality bewilders and baffles me. As a humanity, we are just not very good at the practice of brotherly love. Perhaps it is because we don’t really know what it is.
Are we all just looking for love in all the wrong places?
W.L. Wilmshurst in The Meaning of Masonry tells us:
The very essence of the Masonic doctrine is that all men in this world are in search of something in their own nature which they have lost, but that with proper instruction and by their own patience and industry they may hope to find.
Could this “something” be love? BIG LOVE? Love is an elusive subject. We know that it is often driven by a range of factors. To feel love is one thing but to define it is quite another. Brotherly love is not a thing that one can hold in the hand or see with the eye.
Many masonic writers define brotherly love as tolerance. Although, tolerance is admirable among virtues, I have always felt it not a very lofty concept. Sure, if we compare it with outright bigotry, tolerance is indeed a virtue. But dig a little deeper, and behind tolerance is a concept a few steps removed from our loftiest ideals. “I tolerate you” is a far cry from “I love you.”
What is the loftiest expression of brotherly love? If not tolerance, what? How do we find it?
Mike Selix, 32°, KCCH
Orange County Lodge of Perfection