When he was approached about this issue’s
Member Profile, Marcus Gracia was pleasantly
surprised. “Usually lawyers are the brunt
of jokes, not admiration,” he says. Gracia’s
career took a meandering path, starting in
finance, winding its way through arbitration,
and ultimately arriving at his current role
and passion: mediation. He is a negotiator
between corporations, navigating emotionally
charged situations in search of compromise.
“I take civility to heart,” Gracia says.
“Civility means trying to work on the positive rather than the negative, even when
it’s difficult – especially when it’s difficult.”
Without civility, he says, people cease to
treat each other well. They stop listening.
Whether individuals or corporations, that
rarely leads to a happy resolution.
In his line of work, the quality that Gracia
values most of all is honor. “When one law-
yer says to another, ‘You are not an honorable
man,’ it’s the equivalent of hitting him in the
face with a gauntlet in the Middle Ages,” he
says. “It means, ‘You ought to be disbarred.’”
In law and in lodge, Gracia does his best to
lead by example. He is a Mason of 25 years and
twice-past master of Mount Jackson Lodge No.
295. In his installation as master last year, he
directed his lodge to a familiar theme:
“In Masonry, we claim that we take good men and we make
them better. How do we do that?” he asked his lodge. “We start
out with honorable men.”
In his own words
WHY DID YOU BECOME A MASON?
I met a fellow in San Francisco who I admired very much, who
was very involved in Freemasonry. When he introduced me to
the lodge, I admired the men I met there. I try to bring others
into the fraternity in the same way: I try to model what I saw in
HOW HAS MASONRY INFLUENCED YOU?
I’m a very opinionated person. I’ve got thoughts on everything.
My brothers have helped me realize that I need to work on toning down the way I talk about those opinions. I look at each day
as a chance to do that work.
HOW CAN FREEMASONRY LEAD TO A MORE CIVIL FUTURE?
More and more, people are spending their time in the company
of computers. But try as we might, we will never be able to
shake hands with a computer. Civility doesn’t come from the
sky in a bolt of lightning. It takes practice. It takes work. That’s
part of what Masons do in lodge.
MEET MARCUS GRACIA:
AND MASTER MASON
by Laura Normand
FACES OF MASONRY