California Freemasonry and volunteerism have gone hand-in-hand since the very beginning. From providing aid during the 1850 cholera epidemic to serving in the
Masonic Ambulance Corps to reading for students in elementary schools today, Masons always rise to the occasion.
Why are we so willing to offer a helping hand? While I would
like to wax poetic, I think it boils down to a simple, yet profound notion: It is the right thing to do. When we see a need,
we rush in to address it. When we sense that a cornerstone has
rough edges, we band together to smooth it into a useful stone.
In my travels, I have noticed something special among brethren when we volunteer together. There is a deeper bond and a
lighter spirit that comes from working beside each other, out
in the community. While common Masonic teachings create a
unique connection between us, knowing our brothers outside
the lodge provides the opportunity to learn even more about
each other and to deepen our relationships. The privilege of giving to others strengthens our spirits and gives us a sense of our
own gratitude for life and its blessings. The truth about helping
others is this: When we do so, we feel good about ourselves.
Masons accept the responsibility to repair our world; to leave
it in a better condition than before we were born. By applying
our strengths and resources where they are needed, we improve
the lives of others – and by extension, our communities. This
volunteerism doesn’t need to be heroic or entail a great investment of time. Donating blood once a month can help save lives.
Tutoring a struggling student for an hour a week may help to
secure his solid future.
Volunteerism may well be the highest form of Masonic charity.
Kneeling at the altar, we pledge to meet the highest expectation
of caring for one another. We accomplish this as brothers when
we encourage each other to work together to make the world a
better place for our children, and when we are there to assist a
brother in need.
It is my hope that California Masons will look deeply within
their lodges, communities, and society as a whole, providing
Masonic charity where there is a need. Volunteerism builds the
world around us as a reflection of who we are – the greatest
fraternity on earth.
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