True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What is Duty?

We have a duty to ourselves, to our family, to our friends, to our employers, to our community, to our country and to our g-d.

Where does that duty come from, and how does masonry help you to compass that duty?

Duty is that obligation that we take upon ourselves. By our life we each have a duty to our mothers and our fathers. By that obligation, for it must be freely taken on, we further owe a duty to our brothers and our sisters.

What happens if we do not honor that obligation to duty? Nothing. Oh, we will not be considered good men, our neighbors will look down on us, and we will grow a lack of self-respect for ourselves, but nothing will happen TO us for having a lack of honor.

Our compact with society, and each one of us has a compact with the society of men, for within society we were raised, educated and protected, includes a duty to give back. Not coin of the realm, necessarily, but labor, service of a kind. Of course, we pay back a part of the ongoing debt in taxes with coin of the realm.

In kneeling at the altar and taking on the obligation of a mason, we take upon ourselves the DUTY to our brothers, withersoever dispersed around the globe, to aid and assist, and more, to SERVE, our community our god , and ourselves.

Merriam Webster defines duty somewhat more broadly:

1 : conduct due to parents and superiors : RESPECT
2 a : obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one's position (as in life or in a group) b (1) : assigned service or business (2) : active military service (3) : a period of being on duty
3 a : a moral or legal obligation b : the force
of moral obligation
4 : TAX; especially : a tax on imports
5 a : WORK 1a b (1) : the service required (as of an electric machine) under specified conditions (2) : functional application : USE (got double duty out of the trip) (3) : use as a substitute (making the word do duty for the thing -- Edward Sapir)

The most relevant is #3 “a moral or legal obligation b : the force of moral obligation.” Duty is a moral obligation. DUTY is that moral obligation we owe to our brothers, our fellow man, and our g-d (not necessarily in that order). Duty then is service... even service to ourselves.

Duty is morality in action.

We have two separate types of duty. One duty is what we OWE to society, our forbearers and our contemporaries for our very life. The second is like the one we take on willingly at the altar of freemasonry, to obey the tenets of our fraternity, to aid and assist a distressed worth brother, and to whisper good counsel, either orally or by example. Our DUTY in masonry are the obligations we freely take at the altar. The duty we owe to society is the very air we breathe.

So, what is that nature of duty? It seems it is the obligation that a man owes g-d for the blessings of life, to his parents for giving him life and raising him, to the community for helping raise and educates him, to others as he GIVES the obligation, (wife, church, and lodge).

Duty flows from the self to the other, based on obligation, which is recognized by the honorable man. A man with no sense of obligation is only interested in the self... what HE wants, what HE needs... regardless of the consequences to those around him?

So from a sense of obligation, the honorable man accepts his duty. A man without honor has no sense of duty or obligation. Therefore, to be a mason, a man must understand and accept his duty to g-d, his community and his family. He must be an honorable man, a moral man. Otherwise, he rejects his duty or tries to avoid it.

As Freemasons, we know our duty to g-d, our brothers, our country, our community, our family… and we embrace it.

May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and moral and social virtue, cement us.


giovanni lombardo said...

Duty is to comply with the GAOTU's will

ChuckEye said...

I feel a duty to participate to the best of my abilities within degree work. I know most of my brothers aren't ritualists, but I am beginning to become a little disheartened that I don't see more faces on work nights trying to help confer degrees. I don't expect every brother to learn the lecture, charge, etc verbatim and be able to sit as WM for all 3 degrees knowing all the parts, but it hasn't taken THAT much effort for me to learn the JW role in the first two degrees, and it's not THAT much more of a step to learn the SW part. (And yes, there is a lot more to conferring a MM, so that may take me a bit longer to learn, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try...)

Tom Accuosti said...

but I am beginning to become a little disheartened that I don't see more faces on work nights trying to help confer degrees.


I often think to myself that some of our brothers really meant to join, say, the Rotary or the Friends of the Library instead of a Masonic Lodge. Who did they expect would continue to do the degree work - the same guys that had been doing it for the last 25 years?

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