The tragic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has touched the lives of many members of our fraternity there. In cooperation with the other jurisdictions operating in Lebanon in amity with the Grand Lodge of DC, namely the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Grande Loge Nationale Française, we have launched a website FACT (Fraternal Assistance Crisis Team) Lebanon, for those who to seek to understand the devastation there, our proposed response, and ultimately to give those who wish, a means to assist our distressed Brethren in Lebanon. To see details on the fund, its organization, and how contributions will be dispersed, please see this fact sheet. U.S.-based donations can be made through the Masonic Foundation of DC using THIS LINK.
Please visit and contribute, if you can.
To donate by check, please make payable to The DC Masonic Foundation and mail to:
The DC Masonic Foundation
5428 MacArthur Blvd. NW
Washington, DC 20016-2524
In the memo section, please write: "Beirut Relief Fund"
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from President and Brother Theodore Roosevelt. During a 1910 speech in France entitled “Citizenship in a Republic,” he said:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
While these words always seem to push me to do better, they are especially poignant in a crisis. There are Brothers and non-Brothers alike who are providing vital services for our nation and the world, but not everyone can serve so actively. So, for everyone out there who wants to get involved but doesn’t know how, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight other ways you can utilize this time to “step into the arena” and help as our nation continues to fight this COID-19 epidemic.
As Masons, we look to serve. We serve each other, our communities, and the world. Every year, Masons give millions to charities and donation countless hours of their time volunteering. It is at the core of our being “good and true”. That is needed now, more than ever, and everyone, from the newest Entered Apprentice to the most senior Past Master, can participate.
By Jason Van Dyke, PM
Managing Editor & Past Master, The Colonial Lodge No. 1821
Everything in Masonry has a meaning: from the words we use in Lodge to the very furniture and how it is arranged. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of the most overlooked pieces of furniture in the Lodge has a deep and profound meaning hidden inside of it – the mace, or Marshal’s baton.
While you might not have noticed before, similar tools are carried by officials at universities, in religious ceremonies, and in governmental organizations; the Baton (military), staff (often religious), scepter (royalty), or swagger stick (lower rank military) are all important pieces of the uniform of these functionaries. While they are all slightly different, for the most part they all symbolize the same thing as our Marshal’s baton – the authority and strength of the institution.
The tradition of carrying this symbol probably started ancient Greece or Minoa. But it is most familiar to us from the Roman Empire. There, the fasces was carried by lictors, sort of the Roman version of the Secret Service. The fasces was made of a bundle of birch sticks bound together by red ribbon or leather straps, and sometimes included an axe in the middle. In this configuration, the bundle of sticks symbolized strength in numbers, or the will of the Roman people made manifest, and the axe symbolized the power of capital punishment that the Roman police had. In fact, the fasces is still a common symbol used today in many republics, and you can see it displayed in buildings everywhere here in the District of Columbia as a symbol of the power and authority of the U.S. Government.
ecumenically, as well—in this case, it was called a virge or beadle (or mazzieri, in the Pope’s case) and was carried in front of church processions, sometimes being used to clear the way of animals or unruly crowds of parishioners.
For Masons, it was this implied threat of defensive violence that lead to the mace being seen as a symbol of independence to forces outside the Lodge, and as a sign of corporeal punishment to those who dared question the authority of the Master inside the Lodge. (While we are not aware of a mace/baton ever actually being used in Lodge for this purpose, we are reasonably sure every Master from the start of time has actively contemplated using it several times per meeting.)