Let's Use the Freedom We Have
We have just passed through that period of the year when each of us probably pauses and considers the significance of the blessings and privileges we have been granted in life. It does not matter what our religious persuasion may be. It is a time when the existence of a Supreme Being probably carries a greater impact upon our hearts because it is the time in which our minds are stimulated more frequently to appreciate His importance in our lives.
We, as both Americans and Freemasons, have a greater reason to be thankful than perhaps those anywhere else in the world. We live in a country where freedom is an accepted aspect of life. We live in a country where we can openly choose to worship God as we please without concern. We live in a country where we can be a member of the Masonic Fraternity without fear of any type of retribution.
And, yet, we all too often take these freedoms for granted. There are many places in the world today where these freedoms simply do not exist. How often we tend to forget that our freedom to worship God and our freedom to be a Freemason are freedoms earned by the sacrifices made by others. Prosperity has a way of dulling appreciation for those whose sacrifices and commitments gave us that prosperity. It is easy to become complacent when we have not had to struggle, and we have become complacent.
I have had the privilege in recent years to be in conversations with Freemasons from many parts of the world. As a result, I have developed an even greater appreciation for being able to walk into a lodge room and sit with my brothers, and of being able to walk into a church of my choice and worship God as I choose.
I have talked with brothers who had to leave their native countries because Freemasons were being persecuted and killed. I have talked to those who today live with a continuing concern for their lives or their freedom because they are Freemasons. I have written to brothers in countries where I had to use envelopes with no Masonic reference because it could place them in jeopardy.
And we, with no reason to fear, do not even put forth the effort to attend our meetings. We have so much for which we should give thanks to the Grand Architect of the Universe and to those who made supreme sacrifices for our freedoms. We cannot do that by not using these freedoms.
My brothers, let us individually commit ourselves to make use of that which we have, the least of which is not the freedom of sitting in a lodge room with our brothers.