I had a great time at Edinburgh on Wednesday night. The night started off very well with VW Bro Russ Williams and I being piped into the Lodge room where we were presented and introduced respectively.
The program for the evening was light and well run, culminating with an educational piece by RW Bro Jim Cale on Happiness in Masonry. I will endeavor to get a copy of that presentation and add it to this entry.
Just as the evening was about to end and as the Master was saying..."and now for the last word, RW Sir" there was a loud band and a blinding flash of light then darkness. At first i thought great visual aid WM, but as the reality of the situation came to light (pardon the pun), we discovered that lightning had hit a transformer right outside the Lodge building knocking out the power all over the area.
We enjoyed a candle light dinner of Lasagna and made the best of the situation. Edinburgh has a great tradition of inviting prospective applicants to their festive boards. There were five out that night all enthusiastic abut joining the Craft.
With the author's permission the following is the presentation RW Bro Cale gave on Masonic happiness.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE OLD SONG “DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY”? WELL
IT’S THE START OF A NEW MASONIC YEAR SO LET’S BE HAPPY!
HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED THE TERM HAPPINESS WHEN THINKING OF MASONRY? PERHAPS NOT. IT IS NOT A TERM WE USUALLY USE WHEN TALKING ABOUT MASONRY, YET I AM CERTAIN THAT YOU ARE ALL HAPPY TO BE HERE TONIGHT OR YOU WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY BE SOMEWHERE ELSE. SO I THINK THAT HAPPINESS IN A MASONIC CONTEXT MIGHT BE A SUBJECT WORTH EXPLORING, ESPECIALLY AT THE OUTSET OF A NEW MASONIC YEAR.
WHAT IS HAPPINESS? OUR INDIVIDUAL DEFINITIONS MAY VARY, BUT I SUSPECT THAT THERE WILL BE SOME THINGS IN COMMON. THE DEFINITION THAT I HAVE CHOSEN IS: “HAVING, SHOWING OR CAUSING A FEELING OF GREAT PLEASURE, CONTENTMENT OR JOY.”
I REVIEWED OUR RITUAL FOR REFERENCES TO HAPPINESS AND FOUND ONLY THREE PRINCIPAL ONES. IN THE CEREMONY OF INSTALLATION AND INVESTITURE, THE CHARGE TO THE W.M. TELLS HIM: “THE HAPPINESS OF THE BRETHREN WILL BE GENERALLY PROMOTED IN PROPORTION TO THE ZEAL AND ASSIDUITY WITH WHICH YOU PROMULGATE THE GENUINE TENETS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE FRATERNITY.” IN THE GENERAL CHARGE WE ARE TOLD: “I TRUST THAT YOU WILL HAVE BUT ONE AIM, TO PLEASE EACH OTHER AND UNITE IN THE GRAND DESIGN OF BEING HAPPY AND COMMUNICATING HAPPINESS.” FINALLY, IN THE CLOSING OF THE LODGE THE J.W. SAYS THOSE MEMORABLE WORDS: “HAPPY TO MEET, SORRY TO PART, HAPPY TO MEET AGAIN.” SO THIS TELLS ME THAT THERE IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING ABOUT FREEMASONRY WHICH IS MEANT TO MAKE US HAPPY.
I ASKED MYSELF WHAT IT IS ABOUT MASONRY THAT MAKES ME HAPPY. ON THINKING ABOUT THIS QUESTION, I DISCOVERED THAT THERE IS NOT A SINGLE ANSWER. CERTAINLY ONE OF THE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO MY HAPPINESS HAS BEEN THE FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP THAT I HAVE FOUND, NOT ONLY IN MY OWN LODGES, BUT WHEREVER I HAVE TRAVELLED IN MASONRY. FURTHERMORE THIS BOND OF FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP IS MUCH STRONGER THAN I HAVE EXPERIENCED IN ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION AND THESE BONDS ARE LASTING AND CONTINUE TO GROW. THROUGH THESE AFFILIATIONS I HAVE LEARNED VALUABLE LESSONS FROM MANY BRETHREN THAT HAVE HAD A POSITIVE IMPACT ON MY OUTLOOK AND ON MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS OTHERS BOTH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE OF THE FRATERNITY. FREEMASONRY HAS, AT LEAST TO SOME EXTENT, LIVED UP TO ITS PROMISE TO MAKE ME A BETTER MAN, AND THIS I BELIEVE MAKES ME A HAPPIER MAN.
YET THERE HAS TO BE MORE TO MASONIC HAPPINESS – SOMETHING DEEPER. LIKE MANY OF THE LONGER SERVING BRETHREN, I HAVE SAT THROUGH COUNTLESS DEGREE AND INSTALLATION CEREMONIES AND I ASK MYSELF WHAT IT IS ABOUT THESE CEREMONIES THAT DRAWS US BACK TIME AND TIME AGAIN? I AM CONVINCED THAT IT IS THE MESSAGE THAT FREEMASONRY CONVEYS THROUGH THOSE RITUALS. THE WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS SINK INTO OUR SUB-CONSCIOUS. THE CONCEPTS OF BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF, TRUTH, CHARITY, TRUST, FIDELITY, FAITH IN GOD, LEARNING AND LIGHT ARE CONSTANTLY BEFORE US. THESE CONCEPTS CANNOT HAVE ANYTHING BUT A POSITIVE IMPACT ON OUR FEELINGS AND ARE MEANT TO GUIDE OUR ACTIONS IN LIFE.
IF WE LOOK AT THE CHARGE TO THE W.M. AND BRING IT TO A PERSONAL LEVEL I BEIEVE THAT WE WILL FIND ONE OF THE MAIN CLUES TO OUR OWN HAPPINESS. IN THIS CHARGE, THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAPPINESS OF THE LODGE AS A WHOLE IS PLACED ON THE W.M. BUT IF WE LOOK AT IT FROM A MORE PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE, AS INDIVIDUALS AND MASTERS OF OUR OWN INTERNAL LODGE, OUR HAPPINESS WILL BE PROMOTED IN PROPORTION TO THE ZEAL AND ASSIDUITY WITH WHICH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US PROMULGATE THE GENUINE TENETS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE FRATERNITY IN OUR LIVES AND ACTIONS TOWARD ONE ANOTHER. WE MUST ALL DO THIS, AND THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE PROMULGATE, PRACTICE AND LIVE BY THOSE TENETS AND PRINCIPLES WILL DETERMINE THE DEGREE OF HAPPINESS WHICH WE DERIVE FROM THEM AND FROM MASONRY. BRETHREN, THIS IS HOW WE PLEASE EACH OTHER AND UNITE IN THE GRAND DESIGN OF BEING HAPPY AND COMMUNICATING HAPPINESS.
FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP ARE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO BEING A HAPPY MAN, BUT I THINK THAT IT IS IN ATTEMPTING TO LIVE OUR LIVES, BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE LODGE, BY THE TENETS AND PRINCIPLES TAUGHT IN OUR RITUAL THAT INEVITABLY LEADS TO THE STRONG BONDS WHICH UNITE US, THAT MAKES US BETTER MEN, AND WHICH TRULY CONSTITUTES MASONIC HAPPINESS.
IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO ASK EACH OF YOU TO THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE BY THE PRINCIPLES AND TENETS OF FREEMASONRY AND WHAT IN THEM TRULY MAKES YOU HAPPY TO MEET, SORRY TO PART AND HAPPY TO MEET AGAIN.