Three Five Seven – # 222

Three, five, and seven
3 5 7
By Stan Shapiro MD, Grand Lodge Education Officer G.L. of MN

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin


Webster’s dictionary defines passion as the “state of being affected by one of any of the emotions, for example an extreme compelling emotion or intense emotional drive or excitement.” In Masonry we are told to learn to subdue our passions. The Education Committee hopes you will not subdue your passion for further light and self discovery. You can always learn something new by attending your Lodge and experiencing friendship with your brothers, hearing an interesting speaker, the discussions that follow and/or seeing a well done ritual. The education you can get in Lodge is different from what you will learn from books or on the Internet. Many of the things you learn in Freemasonry can be used to better yourself and your relationships both in and out of the Lodge as well as improve your community.

Another passion that many of you will not wish to subdue is your avid interest in sports. Watching a sport event is a big part of American life for many of us. When we are passionately involved with sports (or literature or movies or other cultural interests), we are engaged in something that touches our own high aspirations. For many people sports have become a religious experience where the Stadium is like a Temple. When your team wins it creates a sense of emotional release and belonging (for some the sense of belonging can be a replacement for not having a sense of belonging with their family of origin) and/or one can feel redeemed. Sports can fill people’s need for heroes and help correct the erosion of male identity in our society i.e. that men are soft and sweet but not tough. Sports are also a way to help men bond and have companionship without having to be intimate. Sports can be a healthy outlet for aggression but can create a problem in some people when their team loses. When their team has lost, some become so angry they are abusive to their family or others. As Mason’s we learn to control our anger at moments like these.

The positive qualities which people experience in their passion for sports can also occur in Freemasonry. As Masons we can have a sacred experience in our Lodge. We have an opportunity to achieve our aspirations, improve ourselves and have a sense of belonging. The belonging is real as opposed to the sense of belonging experienced when one watches sports in a crowd of strangers. Masonry gives us an opportunity for real friendship and for male bonding which can help make our brothers be better husbands, fathers, students and workers. When our Blue Lodge is successful, we can be proud or have other positive emotions. Masonry gives us the opportunity to experience all four things researchers report that make people happy: being connected with others, progress in what we are pursuing, control over what we are doing and being part of something we enjoy that is bigger than ourselves. Watching sports can only provide some of those.

Words To Live By: “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

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