Over the past five issues, readers came to know about the new edifice, the old building that it replaced, the cemetery, the charter members, the masons of pre-war years and some of the members that currently are in its roster. A brief glimpse by an outsider was also chronicled in the last issue. It also gave a simple definition of the word Masonry.
But what really is Freemasonry??
FREEMASONRY EXPLAINED IN EVERYDAY LANGUAGE
Freemasonry, especially in this beautiful island called Bohol, is an organization that so little is known about its nature, purposes and objectives. This, despite the fact that it has been existing for more than eight decades, save perhaps to its members themselves and their immediate families.
But this is understandable because by its very nature Freemasons themselves are hard put in defining what they are and what they do. A concise definition is also often very difficult to understand because of its very wide coverage and oftentimes incisive and thought provoking meanings.. Consider a description Masons often use such as:
“Masonry is a way of life.”
Pray, just how will the general public understand that statement?! Or try to decipher the true import of one of its more often-quoted definition that says:
“Masonry is a system of morality veiled in allegory!!”
But there are main goals, objectives or situations which, if explained in clear language, can be understood by non-masons.. Among these are:
*** Freemasonry is a fraternity of men that bind themselves together to achieve a common goal and is one of the most ancient organizations in existence today,
*** Its rules, regulations, legends and customs were derived from the medieval Masonic guilds;
***It teaches morality and ethics by means of symbolic tools of the operative masons,
***It is not a religion and offers no religious dogma to its members. Beyond requiring an applicant to affirm belief in the existence of an Almighty God, his relationship to his God becomes a personal matter.
*** Members are obliged to practice brotherly love, mutual assistance and equality, among others.
*** Its membership is worldwide and is divided into what is called as Grand Jurisdictions. In the United States for example, each state has one Grand Lodge whose jurisdiction is independent to those of the other states. Although operating independently from each other, masons of other countries (or states) extend courtesies to members of other jurisdictions.
***It aims to make good men better,
***Members are able to identify each other whether in the light or in the dark and even when meeting for the first time. Quite often, non-masons are baffled when upon accompanying a mason friend, he would notice the latter conversing with another animatedly while in transit and when asked later if the two have met before would receive a negative reply.
***They are likewise amused when their organization is labeled as a “secret society.” With their lodge building proudly advertising its name and lodge number like “Dagohoy Lodge No. 84, and with its members attending public gatherings in appropriate regalia, what is so secret about them?
But somehow this is partially true especially in those with despotic regimes like in Germany or in Italy. An American fraternal brother of this writer recently emailed saying he was finally accepted by a lodge in Milan, Italy where he now resides but was personally escorted in secret to the lodge, the exact location of which he knew not where. The meeting of that lodge in Italy was indeed secret.
Which also reminds this writer when as a young teenager he had a “secret love” to a winsome young girl. After much ado on whether he should finally reveal his feelings, he did manage to do so in whisper, only, his amorous advances were rejected! But let us get back to the subject before this topic on “secrets” becomes scandalous.
WHAT FREEMASONS DO
To enable members to operate or function as a lodge, it had to meet somewhere and this is where the definition of a lodge as a building comes in. The second definition which means the members themselves are as important as the first because the required number to represent a quorum had to be complied with otherwise no business meeting can be achieved..
Masons in the Philippine jurisdiction meet at least once a month, and this meeting is called “stated”, meaning, there is no need to inform the members because they are obligated to attend on such a time and at a particular date as stated in the charter.
At times, especially when conferring degrees to new members, they also meet at the direction of the principal officer called the “Worshipful Master” and since his word is law, each member complies after being regularly informed of the matter. The notice may vary, it may be written or verbal and if the latter, may be sent through text messages. During stated meetings also, they conduct the various business matters that are brought upon the Master’s table by the Secretary and there discussed in detail and approved by all the members present after due deliberation.