Awhile back Brother Rui Bandeira of Portugal asked me if he could translate my Beehive posts “I Had A Dream” and “The Last Degree” into Portuguese and post them on his Masonic Blog – A Partir Pedra. I was honored and in no time there was The Beehive in Portuguese.
The moment was not lost on me however. There is this natural curiosity in me and also a yearning to learn about other people in other lands, especially within the Masonic family. So I asked Brother Bandeira if he would write something for The Beehive that would give us some insight into Portuguese Freemasonry. Thus the article which you see below.
But there is one thing the reader needs to know. Brother Bandeira’s native tongue is Portuguese . He is not accomplished in English. He does pretty well as you will see but concentrate more on the content of the article rather than the grammar. I just wish I could do what Brother Bandeira can do and I offer him a tip of the hat!
The words below are all Brother Bandeira’s for he is my guest and he has written a a guest post for the Beehive. Thank you my Brother!
1 – Political influence – Power
Contrary to what many may think, Freemasons have no more influence in political power than any other social institution. The only influence that Freemasonry can exercise is only the moral one, by the example of its members through the application of its principles. They are wrong those who think that by joining the Freemasons they will have access to the corridors of power … Indeed, one of the things that a freemason soon learns within the Order is that it is much more comprehensive the illusion of power, than it itself. Each one has only the power that all the others recognize and accept one exercises. In Lodge, the holder of the Power, the leader, the decision maker, who holds the symbols of power, is the Master. Well, as anyone who has sat on Solomon’s Chair soon found out, in the job of Master of the Lodge one, after all, does not have more rights than the youngest Brother and has more duties than all the other Freemasons. Therefore, those who seek the perfume of the power, seek it elsewhere, not in Freemasonry. You will only learn the performance of your duties.
2 – Economic influence – business and money
Those who think that Freemasonry’s West Gate is a door for contacts and business and to provide conditions for “going up in life”, think again and think better! If this is the reason why you would like to join Freemasonry, save yourself to the work and costs of it. Within Freemasonry, you will makes the same business that you would make outside it. What everybody will ask you in Freemasonry is to give something of yourself in favor of others. From the others, you get what you actually need and what they can give you, not what you want or selfishly think that suits you. The business of Freemasonry is of moral and spiritual nature. Who wishes to enter the Temple must leave his metals outside.
3 – Social influence – honors and recognition
Freemasons use aprons and collars and jewels, it is true. But Freemasons consider it mere objects. The only difference between the most rich, beautiful, colorful and embroidered Grand Officer apron and the simple white apron is that who wears the former paid much more for it than who wears the latter. Moreover, from all the aprons which a Freemason can have, that which means most to him is the latter, the simple white apron. That is what any Freemason, whatever his grade or quality, can and should always symbolically wear. That is the adornment that a Freemason should always take care to maintain always white and pure, and therefore never sully it by objectionable or unworthy actions. Freemasons like to use his Lodge jewel, not because it is beautiful or valuable, but only because it is one of the symbols of his Lodge and its use shows everybody in which brotherly group he is incorporated. Freemason wears a collar when exercising a function, not because it is elegant, but just as a distinctive of the job he is doing. In good accuracy, the Freemason does not wear the collar; the job collar wears the Freemason… Neither does the Freemason, in the profane society, get any status or privilege other that the recognition of his qualities as a person, nor within Freemasonry the social, professional, academic or fortune status that makes any difference between a brother and another. The youngest Entered Apprentice has only a way to address the Most Worshipful Grand Master: “My Brother!” And that is thee treatment he gets in return from the Grand Master. So, he who dreams Freemasonry might be an ideal place to gain or strengthen social recognition, do not be fooled by his dream nor deceive the Freemasons: abstain himself of trying to join the Freemasons!
4 – Charities – to help the others
The well-intentioned who seeks in Freemasonry the instrument to fulfill his desire to help the next, to be charitable, if that is the main reason that moves him, if that is what he only sees in Freemasonry, he is also wrong. Not that Solidarity and Charities are not practiced by the Freemasons. Sure they are! But they are not Freemasonry’s main reason to exist. It is not because of Solidarity and Charity that Freemasonry exists. Solidarity and Charities are simple consequences of being a Freemason. In economics speech, although they are practiced, Solidarity and Charity are not the “core business” of Freemasonry. In business speech, even as important as they are, Solidarity and Charities are simply Freemasonry byproducts. Therefore, if it is Solidarity and Charities that attract the well-intentioned, and nothing more, and not essentially something more, then the best that the well intentioned has to do is to fulfill his desire through other organizations specifically dedicated to that. Angel Flight is a good option. Red Cross, also. Cancer Aid, idem. Child Foundation, the same thing. And there are many more organizations that provide solidarity and charities. And even without joining any organization, certainly in your street or in your town you can find someone who needs your help. Give it to him or her!
5 – Curiosity – to know the “Freemasons secret”
If it is curiosity that makes you want to become a Freemason, do not be fooled: you do not need to be a Freemason to know what you are curious about. Do you want to know the Freemasons words of mutual recognition? Arm yourself with a bit of patience, read some books, find some works which transcribe ancient rituals and please yourself! Never heard that Freemasons preserve tradition? Then just take the consequence of it, what was done previously is still valid now… But, what? Do you want to be a Freemason just to know this without the searching work? My friend, laziness is a mortal sin … If this is just why you want to be a Freemason, be aware that Freemasons do not want lazies among them… And – believe me! -, I assure you it will take more work and take much longer to learn these words, grade by grade, than to read them in some books. Everything is published! Do you want to know the Freemasons secret signs? Poor soul, what’s You Tube for? So, dear curious, if it is curiosity that moves you to Freemasonry, forget it! You have other means to satisfy it! And finally, if you just want to know what Freemasons think, what they do, what they deal about, you do not even need to bother much: you just need to read Freemason Information and The Beehive!
And now, here is the single reason to become a Freemason: Desire for personal improvement
There is only one valid reason to want to be admitted a Freemason: the desire to improve yourself personal, ethical, and spiritually. He who, being a faithful man, defending freedom and morality, has this design and is willing to use the masonic method of search of the transcendent, he is welcome! He can be certain that nothing will be taught to him, but he can learn everything. He can trust that nothing is imposed to him, but he will willingly accept the conduct rules he will find. He can and should be prepared for a long and difficult and laborious journey, but he will never be alone, he will always be accompanied by his brothers. He will find that his works begin when he gets its first degree and will be finished only with his passage to the Lodge Above. He, if he works consistently and well, will become better, will act better in all aspects of his life and it will be by virtue of his improvement that he will be respected and can aspire to influence the others, perhaps in politics, perhaps in business, certainly in social relations, especially in the hearts of those who know him. He will be supportive and merciful, because that is the condition of a freemason, a fair and full and interested man, with the naturalness of breathing and the discretion of the sleep. He, if he has done consistently well his work, can aspire to Know, to Know what nobody can pass him, to Know what only he can sense, the glimpse of Divinity, the meaning of life and creation. And, if he is successful, he will understand that words can not convey this knowledge to anyone else, he can just help his brothers to make their journeys in order to aspire to sense, to perceive, to look. And then realize that this is the famous masonic secret! He, if he has done consistently well his work, even if he never will be anything more than a simple sideliner in a simple Lodge, he will be a true Grand Master, of himself, his consciousness, his initiatory journey. He will not have the honor to be admitted freemason; freemasons will be honoured that he has agreed to join them.