New Year Resolutions for Masonic Involvement
New Year Resolutions for Masonic Involvement

New Year Resolutions for Masonic Involvement

It is the end of the year, and I am assessing my efforts and potential impacts on my Masonic Lodge and my Scottish Rite Valley. Did I meet my goals? Was I able to make a positive impact? Did I improve myself in Masonry? I imagine if you had set any Masonic goals, you would be doing the same thing, right? Well, it seems based on a very informal survey of brothers that individual goals as I mentioned can’t be assumed. I never found one brother who answered this question with a plan or a goal beyond title attainment or chair movement. Not one!

In the Masonic lectures, we are given to use the working tools to improve ourselves in Masonry, right? I’ve been a due-paying Mason in several states in my 32 years now and I have heard similar wording in each jurisdiction, all surrounding the idea of “improving yourself in Masonry”. It seems a worthy goal to me.

If you must ask how then perhaps you can consider information already generated for that purpose. To do the “work”, consider reading or including podcasts into your undoubtedly busy schedule. But first, you must want to improve yourself in Masonry. Is it a priority? Is it enough to set a goal?

The desire to improve yourself is followed by action in most cases. Otherwise, if it isn’t a goal it is simply a wish. But how? Is improving yourself done by memorizing parts of the ritual? Is it working the scullery for the planned fundraiser this year? Perhaps it involves helping some less fortunate brothers who no longer drive at night with a ride to and from a lodge. All of these and many other acts of kindness or charity are worthy. But are they helping you improve yourself in Masonry? While helping others is part of our passion, we need to be helping ourselves improve, or as the saying goes, we are either moving forward or we are going backward. Are you voting with your heart or your feet brothers?

The ashlars pictured, used in Tampa, Florida area Coach John S. Nagy’s many books and Facebook posts ask that very question. How do you improve yourself? Masonry can be internalized by every brother in an individual way, every path is unique. But most paths involve effort, such as reading good masonic books or listening to good Masonic podcasts put out by genuine brothers to help each other.

It takes effort, time, and occasionally talking to another brother since iron sharpens iron.

Wisdom isn’t frequently blasted from heaven, often it must be grabbed and held down until it is internalized and seen for what it is. That takes time, effort, and a plan for the capture of such wisdom. What’s your plan?

The lodge ended up sending me as a proxy for the JW to Orlando for Grand Lodge. That was an experience that is not suitable for this issue, but it wasn’t totally positive. New blood in the form of an incoming WM is hoping to change things and it will be fun to see if the change is welcomed by the current lodge membership.

My goals in 2022 from a personal viewpoint were simple, perhaps too much. I wanted to find ways to help my local lodge but that wasn’t available this year. Not to be deterred, I joined the local Lions Club because my local lodge was idle, with only two meetings a month and no charitable work or any other community involvement. Three other brothers were already Lions. The local Lions club is very involved in the community, so I was able to find involvement that I was accustomed to from previous lodges and wait for my Masonic Lodge to shift gears with new leadership on the horizon. We might start back with community involvement soon!

My other goal for 2022 from a Masonic view was to find ways to help my Scottish Rite Valley. They had been hit hard by the passing of many brothers during Covid and the opportunities to help were many. In that effort, I exceeded my grandest goals and kept going, so it was a very satisfying experience.

What are your goals for 2023 for improving yourself in Masonry?

Paul R. Swanson, 32° December 2022