By The Ills..... Bro... Sidney A. Cook 33o
My Subject tonight is the present-day mission of Co-Masonry in the world. No doubt there are many Brothers who are quietly looking at the problems of the world and asking this question. Also, there are to be found those who do not believe that Co-Masonry has any mission, and that it is but an empty form. There are others, again, who are doubtfully inquiring if it has some purpose: what is it?
How can it be applied in order to be of use to the world? How is it to benefit those who, year after year, come and perform its ceremonies?
I feel it is very necessary that we should ask ourselves: What is the mission, or purpose of, Co-Masonry in these days of turmoil and struggle between light and darkness - between destruction and construction? Is there any way that we can help the suffering world and lighten the burden of our Brothers?
Having received the answer from within, and after due consideration, we should decide accordingly; and because only the God within us is our supreme Judge, we should act without fear or hesitation, since "inaction in a deed of mercy is action in a deadly sin."
If on our long journey, we have found a light, and it is still burning in our hearts as it was when we first entered Masonry; then we must not keep that light under a cover, but show it to those who have eyes to see and a mind to understand.
If, however, we feel that we have no way of expressing ourselves through Co-Masonry and that Masonry does not give us any inspiration or understanding of life, then we should seek other channels for self-expression. To stand still because of fear, is stagnation and decay, applicable only to the dead, and no Mason who has symbolically passed through the gateway of death and entered into the land of Eternal Light and Wisdom, can have fear in his heart. He must be the free and fearless expression of GOD within, and the shining star in the East, leading and helping his Brothers in the world. For this has he been instructed in this craft: "Be careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day, for the night cometh when no man can work."
As everything in Evolution will someday come to a crisis, or to a point where it cannot go any further without change or taking a new start, as it were, so likewise, we have come to a crisis. Or, I would rather say the whole world has come to a crisis. We have to decide whether we still want to go on in the old way, wasting our time in useless argument and still preferring the happy-go-lucky life with the rest of the children of the world, or whether we want to take the lead, do our allotted task, and spread the Wisdom.
At the present moment, we are living in a most wonderful and peculiar time in the history of mankind, when everything is being weighed and balances. Truly it is the Day of Judgment: when all morals, forms, customs, and habits are being tested and remade, and only the worthy will survive. Our present economic system, the cornerstone of our materialistic civilization, is being shattered to pieces under the weight of iniquity and exploitation. All the nations of the world - under tyranny of egotism, ambition and competition - are crying for Peace, Freedom, and Liberty. The working classes are demanding the right to light and the pursuit of happiness. Now is the time for social reconstruction based on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, for which our Co-Masonic Order stands. But, as everything in this life has some purpose, so even this seemingly rank injustice and suffering are at present awakening humanity to the realization of the "Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of GOD."
I believe that we all agree that Masonry is a survival of the Ancient Mysteries, and that the purpose of Masonry is to instruct its members in the great art of living. Thus, we are to prepare the material for the building of that temple of humanity of which we are the living parts.
But, are we all trying to live that life, or are we merely collections of empty forms? Are we awake to the realization of the Divinity within us? Are we working to remove the cause of all sorrow and ignorance? Are we radiating happiness and joy, not only by ringing words from our lips, but by feeling sympathy and love towards all, deep down in our hearts where the Master lies buried, waiting for us to raise Him so that He may whisper in our ears the long-lost Word of a Master Mason? When we have learned to speak that Word, which is "selfish service," we have discovered the mystery of life and have become one with the Point within the Circle from which no man err.
This, I believe, is the greatest purpose and mission of Masonry; that every member should live the life of a true Master, in the light of the Ancient Wisdom, doing all his work well, and being a shining light amongst his Brothers in the world.
When we have once fully understood our mission, we shall have restored Masonry to its ancient splendor. In Co-Masonry, both sides of the human family are represented and woman feels herself equal with man in seeking Light as well as in every line of human endeavor.
My brothers, ours is the task to prepare the way and light the path for this great and glorious work of Brotherhood. I feel that today all organizations, as well as individuals, have been put to a very great test. The Dark Powers are trying to wreck the organizations fighting for Truth. The situation is graver then you realize, for we are fighting the last Armageddon before the Dawn of the New Age. Right and not might shall win, but how much more suffering and destruction must the world go through before she will awaken to the call that has gone forth from the Elder Brothers of our Race and the Guardians of Humanity? Since each of us who now is left after the shaking and shifting of our Order must have some realization of the purpose of Co-Masonry in this life, as well as in the lives of others, let us, with all sincerity, pledge ourselves anew to live the life and to serve Humanity.
We can do great things if we have faith and confidence in ourselves. If we but destroy the fear and doubts that are darkening the light before us, our task will be easy. We will have done our duty, not a duty as the world knows it, but as an expression of joy and happiness, singing as music from our hearts.
I know some will say, "It is easy to talk, but we have no money to carry on any public work." This is only an illusion - the result of fear and uncertainty. Can we not trust the words of a great Master: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and everything else shall be added into you?" Let us first seek these greater things, and then decide what we shall give and what we shall do. Let us see that our work is unselfish service for Humanity, and everything else will follow.
The Co-Masonic Order has been in existence about a half a century and we have accomplished very little. We have been afraid to tell that we are Co-Masons. I know some are. Others say, "We have no money, let us await better times," and while we wait the time goes by. Someone else has taken our place, and perhaps, we have lost the opportunity without knowing it. There is no better time than right now. When man is suffering, he is also ready to listen to the words of Wisdom, and it is our duty to spread these words.
Conditions never get better for those who are always waiting for the easy way. We complain about conditions and wait for better ones. We might as well wait for the fresh air to come into our lungs instead of breathing it or into the room where the windows are closed, as to wait for opportunity or times to get better. We must go out and breathe the fresh air; we must open the windows.
Likewise, the opportunity is there if we only can see it. Yes, it is true: times will get better. But, not better enough for those who are waiting to get something for nothing and who are afraid to do anything. "Any rich man can feed the body, but to feed the soul is more important." This is especially true today when the world is in the initial stage of a period of social reconstruction and possibly of great terrestrial convulsions and catastrophes which will set man thinking and make the ignorant to tremble on his knees before the T.G.A.O.T.U., who is the Destroyer, Creator, and Preserver. In order to create, He must first destroy. Unless man has Wisdom and understanding, he may fall back into the dark state where he was ruled by fear.
Freemasonry, as you know, has always found a great purpose in fostering human evolution. When everything else has been in darkness, Masonry has carried the glimmering light from generation to generation. Our Masculine Brothers, in thinking Masonry originated in 1717, have ignored entirely all that existed before that day: namely the Ancient Wisdom, the true Light of Freemasonry. When the whole human family is united again, as in Co-Masonry, then shall this Ancient Wisdom benefit the whole of Humanity; then shall this light shine once more through the Beauty of harmonious life in one Brotherhood.
May His Wisdom enlighten us and give us understanding of our purpose in life and of the mission of our Order in the world today.
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