My Dear Brethren,
While Abraham Lincoln planned to have his Masonic degrees conferred after finishing his presidency, historians have noted his support for the Craft while in office. One account indicates that he “always entertained a profound respect for the Masonic fraternity and…long cherished a desire to become a member.” It’s a bit speculative to say exactly why he deferred membership, but perhaps it was tied to his candidacy for political office and a desire not to have his motives misconstrued. Some suggest Lincoln put off his initiation out of a sense of humility, subjugating his personal desire and aspiration to join the fraternity, for which he obviously had great affection.
We have all see depictions or photographs of gargoyles carved by stone masons on great gothic cathedrals. These creatures were intended to frighten off evil spirits and were crafted with a spout to convey water away from the walls of the building. These gargoyles, typically the stone masons’ most beautiful and detailed artwork, were placed high up on these edifices where the public could never see and appreciate them. This dedication to applying one’s talents and skills without public acknowledgement or praise reveals a certain level of humility sometimes referred to as “working under the aspect of eternity.”
On the subject of humility, when asked, “Why do you want to be a Mason,” petitioners to the Blue Lodge often articulate a desire to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. This month, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, which has jurisdiction over all regular and duly constituted lodges in the state, holds its Annual Communication in Atlantic City. I encourage you to take this opportunity for healthy recreation and to experience Grand Lodge pomp and ceremony. Treat yourself to the camaraderie and fellowship of brothers from our own lodge and from all over the Garden State.
Sincerely and Fraternally Yours,
Vito J. Petitti