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Saturday, February 01, 2014

When Masonry becomes the “other woman” by Br. Antonio Caffey

I am sharing a paper written by Br. Antonio Caffey of St. Marks Lodge #7 F&AM PHA in Columbus, Ohio...


Freemasonry with its traditions, history and customs, have made countless numbers of men submit to its teachings.  In my opinion next to religion, Freemasonry offers its pupils a sublime way to live their lives in today’s world.  

This is what attracted me to the Fraternity and made me want to dedicate my time, money and efforts to this organization.  After I was raised, I immersed myself in the Craft.  

I read every book possible, spent every moment I could at the Lodge making myself a “better man.” 

I have had the honor and privilege of serving my Lodge as its Worshipful Master and a Trustee.
     
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a Past Master of my Lodge after a meeting.  

We were discussing Masonry when he stated that at times, he felt as though Masonry was his “mistress.”  I asked him to elaborate on that statement, and he said at times he contemplated on how it seemed like he was cheating on his girlfriend (who is now his wife) by being involved with the Lodge.  

I thought about this statement and initially dismissed this notion.  I have often reflected on this conversation that I had with my esteemed Brother and have concluded that for many of us, Masonry has become the “other woman.”  

Some Brethren have let the Lodge take precedent over family activities and interfere with their lives outside of our Masonic Temples.  We often have the opinion that Brothers should be at every meeting, participate in every Lodge function and support the Lodge in anyway, we can.  A lot of us view the definition of a dedicated Mason through this clouded lens.  

I would say to these Brethren, be careful not to let Masonry become the “other woman.”
     

Being a good Mason can and should coincide with being a good family man.  Signs to look for to make sure you are balancing the two and are not “to involved” in the Lodge are:
1.     Staying out late on Lodge nights.
Having fellowship with Brothers after the Lodge meeting is as old as Freemasonry itself.  There is nothing wrong with staying past the end of the meeting to talk and socialize with your Brethren.  However, when your meeting is ending at 9:00p.m.  and you don’t get home until 12:00a.m.; you should reexamine your priorities.

2.     Volunteering for every committee that your Lodge has.
Many of us find a need to be on every committee that the Worshipful Master has established.  This again takes you out of the home for committee meetings and other activities that are related to the committee’s duties.

3.  If every thing you talk about is related to the Lodge or Freemasonry.
I love the Lodge and I love Freemasonry.  When I am asked to speak on the subject, I get excited.  Nevertheless, I do not let Freemasonry define my experience as a Man.  It along with many other important things in my life contributes to who I am.

4. Financial charges-Spending money on Lodge activities before paying your bills
You would be surprised at how many of us go into debt by supporting this raffle ticket sale or buying this banquet ticket or getting involved in every Masonic organization.

     Many of you may view this claim of Masonry being the “other woman” as ludicrous and absurd.  

I have seen what happens when men show more attention to the Lodge than their families.  We should understand that we can still maintain a healthy and happy family life and be dedicated to the Lodge.  

We need to recognize the signs of when we are spending too much time in our Lodges and not enough time at home.  We should also be able to whisper good counsel to those Brothers who are not balancing both. 
     
I love Masonry, and I show this by spending time with my family, as well as participating in Lodge activities.  

I take what Freemasonry has given me and implement it in my everyday life.  When I need to make a choice on a family activity or a Lodge function, I choose my family.
     
I finally understood that Masonry is not necessarily the Lodge that you go to, the banquet you attend, or the committee you belong to.  

It is how you live your life outside of the Temple, my actions towards others and how I view the world. 

Live Masonry.


Fraternally,

Raymond Sean Walters
Twice Raised Freemason