“We wear the same ring.”  A while  ago, a gentleman expected admission into my boss’s office by expressing the aforementioned phrase to the secretary.  As a bit of background, I work as a magistrate, and my boss happens to be a judge, who is also a Brother.  Recognizing his ring, the secretary quickly looked to me.  I introduced myself and the pass grip was correct.  I was not sure whether to feel at ease, as I was talking with a Brother, or a bit concerned as he decided to announce his affiliation rather than letting it be known by.  I think we all know what comes next.

I ask you Brother, are you one who announces your affiliation, or do you make it known by your actions?  As we go through this uncertain time, are you doing what you are directed to be doing by our tenants?  Our lessons are replete with instructions that are to guide us through not only this difficult time, but life.  Looking back to that incident, two thoughts popped into my head,  “judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice,” as well as the idea that “Charity extends beyond the grave through the boundless realms of eternity.” 

Let me explain.  The man, or Brother as I had confirmed, was there seeking relief for someone who he believed was in need.  The Brother was desperate for help, and while he had not gone so far as to raise his hands, he was in a very public place, announcing what he was, and that he was in need.  I afforded him as much help as I was able to give within the constraints of the law, and sent him on his way, with what I hoped was some peace of mind.

At that moment, I had decided to judge with candor.  Although taken aback by his announcing his affiliation, I decided to hear him out, believing that he had a sincere need to have introduced himself in that manner.  Only by seeing past what I believed to be an improper request, was I able to see that he was attempting to do an act of charity, which I hope I reciprocated by talking with him.  

As we are faced with unprecedented challenges, with many people in need, I dare say that some of the best charity we as Masons can provide is not losing sight of our lessons and remember that charity is not only monetary, but sometimes, simply good counsel.  Just because we cannot be present with one another, does not mean we cannot be present for one another.  Continue listening to see where, and how, you may be called to live out our tenants.  

H. Matthew Reed
Master of Ceremonies
Gabriel Lodge of Perfection