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more light #326

Inner Qualities

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

A message from our late Vice-President and Brother Hubert H. Humphrey: “Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.”

Dear Masonic Student,

In Freemasonry we learn that it is not the outer, the clothing and accouterments, that makes a man worthy to become a Mason, it is the inner; the inner qualities are what we look for, because what a man is on the inside will eventually manifest itself on the outside.

If you wear some sort of Masonic Jewelry, such as a lapel pin or a ring, why do you wear it? Some Freemasons refer to wearing Masonic emblems as ‘wearing light.’ I like that phrase, and I like to wear ‘light.’

One Brother I know tells me he wears light for purely personal reasons, not to advertise that he is a Freemason. He tells me that the ring and the lapel pin are simply tangible reminders of the important lessons he has learned in Freemasonry, and wants to remember.

Some Grand Masters will have a lapel pin designed for their year in the Grand East of their jurisdiction, and while all of them are well worth wearing, some are beautiful and carry an excellent message; a message the wearer can use to remind him of something important.

One such pin is the pin of M.W. Brother Tom Hendrickson of Minnesota. There is a great message on his pin, so great other Grand Masters use it too, M.W. Brother Tom’s pin has the Square and Compasses on it with the words ‘A Way of Life.’  A great message for the wearer to keep in mind as he travels through life, and comes up against problems and obstacles: Freemasonry is a way of life; a way that makes life more pleasant.

The lapel pin of M.W. Brother Bud Banks, PGM of the Grand Lodge of Nevada, depicts the point within the circle, the two St’s John, and The Three Great Lights. In addition to this being a beautiful pin, it has the advantage of significant symbolism, which serves as a reminder of some great Masonic truths to keep in mind; for some of us we can use reminders as we circumambulate through life, both within and without the Lodge.

The Saints John remind us of their lives and virtues, which we can use as a model to improve our lives and the lives of others. Their example can help us become the better men we want to become.

The circle can remind us of our journey through life. A person learns fairly early in life that we will encounter obstacles. Obstacles are a part of life, but our learning from Freemasonry, and life, teach us that with preparedness, friends, Brothers, and a faithful reliance on Divine Providence, the obstacles we encounter need not prevent us from reaching our goals.

The Three Great Lights of Masonry, The Holy Bible, the Square, and the Compass, have so much to teach and to remind the Mason of when he has these in view. In the case of M.W. Brother Bud’s pin, and the Three Great Lights depicted upon it, a Mason just by knowing he has it on his person, can have it in view in his mind’s eye: And if he needs a physical reminder all he need do is touch his lapel and the pin to remember the important lessons conveyed by the Three Great Lights.

Another Grand Master’s pin I like is the one M.W. Brother Jack Benson, PGM of Minnesota, gave out during his year. It has had a profound effect on Many Masons who wear it. This pin depicts the Minnesota Masonic Logo with the word ‘Attitude.’

I like that pin because it says everything in one word: Attitude. Attitude is so important in every area of life; attitude means everything. As Earl Nightingale used to say; “The magic word is attitude.” Attitude means the position or bearing indicating our action, feeling, or moods. Our attitude tells the world what we expect, and in return the world has an idea of what to expect from us.

Attitude is a reflection of the person inside, our inner disposition. It goes to the saying; “You can’t give away what you don’t have.” If deep down inside we’re bitter, negative, and hostile; then when we’re under pressure that’s the way we are likely to react. It’s hard to be positive and loving when deep down inside us the opposite is what’s there. Scott Hamilton once said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”

Recently I heard an interview with Carol Burnett. She has written a book about her daughter who had passed due to cancer. She related how her daughter was always happy, and able to bolster-up other people when they were feeling low; this attitude carried on throughout her young life including her time fighting the cancer. Ms. Burnett quoted her daughter when she was asked how she could always be so happy; ‘When I wake up each morning I make a decision to enjoy life.’ That’s good advice for all of us; make a decision to enjoy life. All it takes is the right attitude, and the nice thing about attitude is that we are the ones who decide what kind of an attitude we will have every day.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014