The Tipping Point of Freemasonry

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a subject that all of us have thought or spoken about sometime within our Masonic careers.

As a Past Master I have witnessed many Masonic careers wax and wane and had often wondered if there was a singular defining moment, a tipping point which determines successful retention or rejection.

Why do brothers lose interest in Freemasonry and what can we do to get that spark back?

At what moment did our own thoughts begin to waver?

There is a tipping point in every Freemason’s life; a time at which the joy of being a member of our gentle Craft begins to wane. A time where we forget what we came here to do.

It is at this point that we lose the viewpoint of the candidate that we once were and become an audience of Freemasonry instead of remaining the participant.

When his happens, we lose the perspective of the candidate and no longer seek new light.

In the beginning, Masonry was exciting and new. We came to the Craft as eager candidates for its mysteries, and with each new degree earned, felt a sense of pride and accomplishment as we pulled back the veils of its mysteries to reveal its ancient secrets inside, each revelation driving us on further to seek more light.

But sometimes after reaching the sublime degree of Master Mason many of us hit a plateau and become complacent in our Masonic journeys.

A participant is active; engaged. His mind prepossessed by the sum of all he experiences, processing it; he refines his character toward the laudable goal of making himself into a better man.

He expresses the very quintessence of Freemasonry in thought and deed by the rectitude of his conduct and through the perfection of his character by becoming the Perfect Ashlar.

A spectator on the other hand is passive; unengaged, his mind distracted by a thousand wandering impulses pulling him from the platinum path. Lost on the path to Masonic enlightenment and no longer a suitable candidate for its mysteries, he is unable to perfect himself because he lacks the ability to subdue his passions and internalize the lessons availed to him causing his interest to wane.

We start out strong getting caught up in the euphoria of learning the fundamental tenets of the Craft, only to find ourselves overwhelmed and over committed by the combined duties of family and fraternity.

For some it comes soon after bring raised, for others it happens after serving as Master of his lodge. Our cable-tow becomes taut and stretched, becoming a tightly wound leash around our necks, suffocating our desires for more light if not held in check and properly balanced.

 

As we learn in the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Mason:

8 hours for the service of God, and a worthy distressed brother

8 for our usual vocations 

8 for refreshment and sleep

 

We must never stop perfecting ourselves in our quest for Masonic Enlightenment, always striving for equanimity and endeavoring to become a lifelong apprentice to the Craft, punctuating our experiences with circumspection and quiet reflection.

To rekindle our love affair with Freemasonry we must continually witness the conferring of every degree through the eyes of one who has just knocked at the door of Freemasonry, and every word should pluck a resonant chord within our hearts.

We must recapture that transformative moment when before the sacred altar of Freemasonry we bind ourselves before God Almighty in mystic brotherhood and friendship, to become brothers.

It is only then that we can hope to be progressive in Masonry, and rekindle the inspiration we received when we really were the candidate.

Any Freemason who truly seeks light will find something new in Freemasonry each and every time a degree is confirmed; BUT HE MUST BE THE CANDIDATE.

He must possess the freshness of mind and spirit, the eagerness of an initiate seeking new light that was his when he first entered the fraternity.

If we look upon the degrees of Freemasonry in an impersonal way, and only consider the ceremonies as cold repetition, then we can gain nothing from them. And if we attain a small spiritual insight and refuse to nurture it and let it grow in vision and wisdom, then even that first light becomes extinguished. We cease to grow when we no longer seek the source that inspired us from the beginning.

This is the tipping point; that critical moment when we must take charge of our destinies and decide what kind of Mason we wish to be.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. To grow in Masonry we must have an open mind, the courage of our convictions, the desire to advance, and the longing for more light: All that we had when we first offered ourselves as candidates for the Mysteries of Freemasonry.

Freemasonry takes more than just time; it wants your best moments and the best of you. This is the real challenge of subduing our passions and improving ourselves through Masonry.

You have to be emotionally engaged in what you’re doing, or it comes out flat. You can’t fake your way through this.

Forever and always we must be the candidate.

 

What are your thoughts?

Why do brothers lose interest in Freemasonry and what can we do to get that spark back?

Article by: Martin Bogardus
Worshipful Brother Martin Bogardus hails from New Jersey and is a poet, writer and Associate Editor for the New Jersey Freemason magazine. He is currently serving as Senior Warden at the New Jersey Masonic Lodge of Research and Education No. 1786.

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