Three, five, and seven
3 5 7
By Stan Shapiro MD, Grand Lodge Education Officer G.L. of MN
“It is a greater pleasure to love than to be loved. So why spend so much energy on gaining the approval of others? Work on loving them instead.” Rabbi Noah Weinberg
Religions describe brotherly love as an extension of the natural affection associated with near kin, toward the greater community, that goes beyond the mere duty in to ” love thy neighbor as thyself”, extends an unconditional hand of friendship that loves when not loved back, that gives without getting, and looks for what is best in others. Because we are the sons of Adam who was created in God’s image, to despise any man is the equivalent of despising God who has made us in his image. Therefore the Biblical command is to love our fellow-man as a brother. The love of God for man and of man for God is extended to include a Brotherly Love for all humanity. Thus a virtue of Brotherly Love is being charitable, kind and benevolent with each other.
When Masons refer to each other as Brother, it has a tenderness and depth all its own, and it is beautiful beyond words. Masons learn Brother Love includes: helping a brother when it is within our power to do so, being willing to sacrifice for a brother or his widow and orphans in need; being willing to “live” for them through active service on their behalf; to love, not just in words, but truly, through deeds; by what we do, not just by what we say; charity and we do not engage in debates about politics or religion.
Sometimes it may be difficult to feel or display Brotherly Love. For example when Brother’s personalities clash, or one or both are unable to forgive, or one doesn’t seem to listen or care about your “constructive” comments, or continues the same behavior, or says or does something which you think is wrong or embarrasses you, and/or when you or both of you get so frustrated or angry you no longer talk to one another. What we could learn from these instances could be valuable not only to resolving the conflict with a Brother but can also help us when we are faced with these issues in our families, neighborhood and/or in our community. (Please see T.F.S. articles # 195 “The Imperfect Brother” and T.F.S. #196 “Forgiveness” in May 2011 which suggest ways we might consider when dealing with these issues. They are available on the Minnesota Grand Lodge Website: http://www.mn-masons.org/. You can use the search box to find them).
Brotherly Love could improve in society and in those Masons who have difficulty in changing the prejudices they have learned in their family and community. Brotherly Love is an art that has to be learned but many people put their energy instead into money, power, prestige or success. If people would practice Brotherly Love, perhaps there wouldn’t be as much conflict between the truly needy and the greedy.
Words to Live By: “If two people who have been strangers, as all of us are, suddenly let the wall between them break down, and feel close, feel one, this moment of oneness is one of the most exhilarating, most exciting experiences in life”…..
Eric Fromm. The Art of Loving
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Harold E “Phil” Phillips, Jr, PM
Aurora 43, Newburg, WV