Quantity or Quality
By: Todd M. Paterek ~ Senior Deacon of Blazing Star Lodge #694 F&AM
It is now September and the Lodges that go dark over the summer months are opening their doors to returning Brethren and hopefully with those Brethren will come a few new good men into the Craft. Membership is a highly debated topic these days. Are we still looking for quality or has quantity taken over? I understand the need for numbers and with numbers the odds are you will snag a good man here and there. Some will drift off, maybe will even continue to pay dues but will never show up to lodge again. I personally am guilty of not making it to Lodge for most of the 2014-2015 year. All my Brothers say that it is okay because I just had my tenth child and they understand sometimes the Cable Tow is short. I even spoke with our secretary and asked why do we have so many Brothers but only 10% show up for Lodge? Here it was at the end of the Lodge year and me making only my second appearance. So am I a quantity or a quality Mason?
What makes a man a “Quality Mason”? A quality Mason is proficient in floor work and memorizes every word for his office as he progresses through the line. He Volunteers for charity fundraisers. He sits and speaks gently about being a Mason to any who will listen. He will teach the newly Raised Brother about the finer point of the Craft. However, what about the Brother who does not show up to Lodge often because he is busy visiting the sick, donating blood, volunteering at soup kitchens, or his son’s baseball team and daughter’s soccer team? What about that Brother who was Raised and never came back to Lodge but is well adorned with Masonic tattoos and jewelry? Will a tattoo or a ring make a man a Mason?
Each of us were Raised a Master Mason. We are all Brothers, and we are all on the Level. Each of us has something to offer the Craft. Unfortunately, sometimes Freemasonry does not have anything to offer us. ~ I can already hear the gasps! ~ So who do we look at to rectify this gap in expectations and to help these Brothers return to Lodge? Remember that we are all “Quality Masons” with something to offer Freemasonry and something to gain from Freemasonry.
So who needs to rectify this gap? The tasks fall on each of us.
I need to remember that I am responsible for my Brother. I need to be there for him in his good times, and his bad times. I need to reach out and invite my Brothers back home. I need to make sure that there is reason for him to stay and return each week. I have to put in the effort to make my newest Brothers feel welcome. I need to stand next to him at a fundraiser or work on memorizing his lines for his office. I need to show up and visit him when he is sick or if well enough to give him a ride to Lodge. I need to seek out what is needed in Freemasonry and bridge that gap. To me, being a Mason makes me a part of something greater than the individual but also something that is as much here for the individual as the individual is here for Freemasonry.
You need to remember that you are a Mason and that comes some responsibility to the rest of us and to your Lodge. Just paying dues is not enough; it keeps the lodge solvent but does not keep the Lodge alive. When you were raised the Brothers in the Lodge saw something in you that they wanted to have around them. They saw a way to learn through you and if you do not make the effort to get to Lodge you are letting them down and Brothers do not walk away from Brothers.
We are a strong Brotherhood of Better men. We make each other great by being together. We share our life experiences with each other to help learn through the experiences of our Brothers. We break bread and discuss our lives outside of Freemasonry. We alert each other to possibilities in life and warn each other of dangers. We celebrate new Brothers, new children, new wives, and holidays. We mourn together when we lose a Brother to the Great Celestial Lodge in the Sky and wait together for the day we join them in Glory. Meanwhile, we remain behind in the quarries. Can you imagine my Brothers, what would it be like mining the quarry alone? No man’s back is strong enough. We are here for each other.
So is it Quality or Quantity? Personally I do not care. You are my Brothers and I will do whatever it takes to bring you back and keep you coming back to Lodge each week. I will be here for you my Brother, in and out of the Lodge. One day I too will get the opportunity to lay down my working tools and join our Brethren who came before us and who helped build this brilliant Fraternity. I hope by then I improved your lives, our community, and the world.
Quantity Or Quality by Todd M. Paterek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.