During my recent visit to the Grand Lodge of Italy with our Grand Secretary, we deeply enriched our minds with the most valuable jewels of the Renaissance. We started in Rome – “Rome is a world,” wrote our Masonic Brother Goethe in Italian Journey, “and one must spend years before one can become at all acquainted with it.”
Nonetheless, our all-too-short visit to the ruins of the ancient Roman Coliseum and our subsequent viewing of the colonnade and elaborations of St. Peter’s sculpted by Bernini in the Baroque era were reminders of how swiftly the sands of time run for man and his creations, from century to century and from millennium to millennium. Yet these wonderful expressions of architecture crafted by operative Masons transcend history and are truly monuments to the greatness of the human spirit, from generation to generation.
From Rome, we drove about five hours to Rimini, a gorgeous city lying on a Mediterranean beach which attracts people from all over the world. Here in the midst of such natural beauty at the seashore, the thoughtful traveler may ruminate of the fragile state of man against the powerful forces of nature. Again, turning to Bro. Goethe’s Italian Journey: “In the upper provinces, Rimini . . . has suffered. The earth has strange humours, and people talk of earthquakes here just as we do of wind and weather.” One cannot think of Roman Pompei without remembering its ancient destruction at the whims of a volcano. This is ever a reminder that just as man thinks his greatness is still aspiring, he falls, like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.
In the coming issue of The Voice of Freemasonry, I will be sharing more thoughts on my “Masonic Italian Journey.” In the meantime, summer is a time when many of us go on vacation – a necessary break from our routine labors which allows us to recharge with the required energy needed to propel us into real action and productive accomplishment as we return to our everyday lives. Let me encourage all Brethren, if within the length of their cable-tow, not merely to use vacation time as a reduced work schedule. It is rather time to “vacate” the house and the usual locales and use free time for travel and the wonderful opportunities it provides for recreation, learning, and personal development.