My Dear Brethren,
March brings with it the first day of spring. From time immemorial, spring has been celebrated as the season of new beginnings. As Freemasons we should take time to reflect on our own new beginnings: a marriage, the birth of a child, a new job, moving into a more spacious home, or the rekindling of a meaningful friendship.
Some call the bond of friendship the most valuable asset of our Craft. Our Marine Corps brethren speak of esprit de corps, defined as “a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty with deep regard for history, traditions, and honor.” Call it what you will, friendship is at the center of it, and we owe it to ourselves to be diligent in protecting those alliances outside of our family ties. As Richard Bach puts it so eloquently in Illusions, “the bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”
That friendship holds a special importance to Freemasonry is an understatement. Allusions to friendship abound within Blue Lodge ritual and your attentive ear will pick up on references to it in all of our degree work. In the beginning, the Entered Apprentice candidate is conducted by a friend in whom can be placed the utmost trust. Upon becoming a Master Mason – another new beginning – he learns about the trowel, which symbolically spreads the cement of brotherly love and affection.
So, as we enter this season of new beginnings, I encourage you to be mindful of treasuring and renewing those friendships that have been particularly impactful. As it is sometimes said, the first rule of friendship is to be a friend.
Sincerely and Fraternally Yours,
Vito J. Petitti