The second great tenet of Masonry is relief. Typically what immediately comes to mind is the practice of charity by giving of monetary gifts. Certainly Masonry and the allied organizations have a great history of raising funds to support worthwhile charitable endeavors.
But what I want to talk about centers around a passage in the EA lecture which states; “To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize in their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.”
I recently read the text of an address given to the conference of Grand Masters in 1953. Called the “Philosophy of the First Degree” and was presented by MW Bro Harry Howard who served as GM of the GL of Alberta in 1952. In talking about charity he said;
“It would be well at this point to deal with the quality of Charity and to consider what it consists of. To give money to the poor is a beautiful act but hardly as important as to give love, unstinted, without hope of gain or reward.”
So this tells us as Masonic leaders that our main concern should be our followers because they are brother Masons. So to lead with Charity requires us to seek out those of our followers who are troubled and seek to resolve their problems.
Sit back for a moment and think about the last controversial subject that was hotly debated in your lodge and may have gotten out of hand. Don’t dwell on the negative but only think about how might the situation would have been more easily resolved if everyone had approached each other with Masonic charity. With respect and a genuine concern to resolve each other’s unhappiness without hope of gain or reward.
John Maxwell talks about having a servant heart. He says first you need to develop the ability to put others ahead of yourself and your personal desires. Also you need to be intentionally aware of other people’s needs, available to help them, and able to accept their desires as important.
This sounds like Masonic charity the second great tenet of our profession as Masons.