I sat in Mass last Sunday and listened to my Deacon give an excellent homily. His theme was- knowing your personal mission. One of the scriptures he drew upon was part of the first reading – Jeremiah 1: 4-5.
The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
He explained to us that the Father gave Christ a mission and then told us that we each had a mission. We need to stop and think about what God has placed us here to do, he said. If we just go to work and then come home and plunk ourselves down in front of the TV, if we never contemplate our higher calling, then we are leading superficial lives and ignoring God. What kind of life are we leading if there is no purpose to it, no point to it, no goals to strive for? Are we existing or are we really living? Think about these things and know that the Father has called each of us to live a life with a mission was the Deacon’s message for the day.
That really stuck with me all week because I have already done that. I know my mission. What was bugging me was how I came to think about what my mission was. What was the catalyst?
The more I thought about it the more I realized that I got a push, a shove from Freemasonry. Freemasons talk a lot about making good men better but often can’t explain how that is accomplished. But aren’t we encouraging a Mason to realize his mission when we pump into him all the symbolism, virtues and tenets of the craft? Isn’t a part of making good men better filling them full of a spiritual awareness? Does not Freemasonry show its members that there is a lot of purpose and meaning to living?
And is Freemasonry not structured for the here and now. It is not showing a way to salvation it is developing a plan for living, and living is done on this earth. As a matter of fact Freemasonry teaches lessons, lessons in living – here and now. This is what separates it from worship.
The fact is all of this is interconnected – the life here on earth, the further existence in the hereafter and all that we do to accomplish these ends as best as we can are interrelated. There is crossover here but there is also separation. The church paves a path to future life and the Lodge shows us a way of life here on earth. To get from one plane to the next we need to have a mission that is more earthly than praise and adoration. The mission and the plan is for us to be all we can be and all that God has seen in us that is possible.
So we give a man working tools, tools to live his life here with – a 24 inch gauge to divide his time between God and a distressed worthy Brother, his usual vocations and refreshment and sleep, the plumb square and level, a trowel to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, and many other tools to build his spiritual Temple.
We take our Entered Apprentices on a journey of 3,5 and 7 steps there to receive instruction on the wages of a Fellow Craft. Then we raise our Fellow Crafts from darkness into light and they are reborn into a new way of life. Now as Master Masons they have the opportunity to reflect on all that has transpired and to take those teachings from the Lodge room into the big outer world and live them. In the process those of us who are mentoring our newest Brothers are smart if we gently shove them into a contemplative or meditative state to ponder the meaning of it all and how this all fits into their individual paths of life.
If we are smart we encourage our newest Brethren to formulate a mission, even write their own personal mission statement. Then we can say that we have shown the Brethren a way to add purpose and meaning into their lives. Knowing and living your mission in life is having a joyful and fulfilling journey, this journey we call life.
And better men have been made.