(Past Master of Albert Pike Lodge No. 33)
The traveling man in DC is afforded ample opportunities to meet and share a meal with Brethren from all walks of life and all corners of the terrestrial sphere. The enlightenment obtained by the receipt of masonic knowledge or by working inside the Lodge, and the food for the soul that is acquired in the breaking of bread and fellowship with Brethren is a treasure of experiences. For me, each Grand Visitation has been an individual jewel in that treasure.
“The Grand Master shall make a grand visitation, attended by his officers, to each constituent Lodge, at least once a year, ten days previous notice having been given to the Master of the Lodge.” So reads our Masonic Code of the District of Columbia, SEC. 1003.04. However, far from being a mandate or a duty, it’s my humble opinion that these grand visitations are in reality a joyous privilege.
For example, recently, at the grand visitation to East Gate Lodge No. 34, which was chartered 106-years-ago in 1912, I had the rare opportunity and joyous privilege to recognize a distinguished Brother whose service to the Craft and his Lodge, in particular, spans over half of the time that East Gate has been working. In presenting Most Worshipful Brother Donald L. Mallorey (Master of East Gate in 1964 and Grand Master of DC in 1983) with items commemorating his 60-years as a Master Mason, we observe a proper reverence, respect and veneration for age; recognizing in the passing of years an inevitable increase in knowledge. As the words of our presentation ceremony so clearly imparted: “These years of life have a further significance when they have been spent in the service of Freemasonry and in a life dedicated to the uplift of man, the service of those who walk the paths of life with us, and to the Glory of God. We look to age for wisdom and upon wisdom Freemasonry builds the walls of each of its laudable enterprises.”
Further, this year, our grand visitations have been honored by the presence of many of our Past Grand Masters, who continue to serve us all with their wisdom, zeal and institutional prowess. They are cherished beacons and fonts of knowledge who are ready, willing and able to advise and support our Past Masters and Lodge Officers, thereby helping to maintain the strength, stability and continuity of our individual Lodges. Toward this end, I challenge each Lodge to reach out and engage these sapient Brethren. And I encourage all our Masters and Officers that are working hard in their respective Lodges to continue to implement the designs on their trestle boards – as the execution of those designs will soon bear fruit for the betterment of our entire Craft and its Lodges.
As Builders, it is our bounden duty to labor for the construction and improvement of better Lodges, and so it is likewise that building better relationships with all Brethren is crucial to our task as Freemasons. We understand that when both our Lodges and our interpersonal relationships with Brethren enjoy a solid foundation based on Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, we are prepared to face any adversity that may befall us. Conversely, without that solid foundation and singular unity of purpose and of compassion, our edifice will easily crumble. Thus, with the Three Great Lights of Masonry as our guides, we can and should move with one accord for the Greater Good of our Noble Craft. Joseph Fort Newton, in his classic The Builders, invites all men to unite in the quest: “One in the freedom of the Truth, One in the joy of paths untrod, One in the soul’s perennial Youth, One in the larger thought of God.”
Be as One, and do good, my Brethren