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June 2017 DDGM Article for The Word

My Brothers,

The 236th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York has closed and, with it, we begin a new Masonic Year. This year has special significance for me, as it marks the 150th anniversary of Cazenovia Lodge, No. 616.

Serving as District Deputy Grand Master during the sesquicentennial celebration of my mother Lodge is rarer than a once-in-a-lifetime event and I am truly honored to have the opportunity to do so. My first official act after returning from Manhattan was to install the newly elected and appointed Officers of the Lodge. As I performed the Ritual of Installation, the rarity and enormity of the evening settled in and I began to think about the words being said and the following occurred to me:

Throughout my term, thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss with many of my colleagues the difficulties that they have encountered within their Districts and throughout the State. Although the details of the various incidents and problems are rarely the same, one theme seems to underlie many of them – unmasonic conduct. Most of these incidents never rise to the level of Masonic charges or disciplinary action, but it is clear that many of our Brothers either never heard, never understood, or, perhaps more troublingly, have chosen to disregard the lessons of our Ritual and the bindings of our various Obligations.

My Brothers, we simply cannot claim that our Ritual is what makes us special when we all too often disregard the important lessons contained therein. To do so, is the very definition of hypocrisy! It is not good enough to talk the talk; we must walk the walk.

I could list trite expression after trite expression, but what it all boils down to is this: do the right thing, treat people the right way, and forgive those who fail to meet the standard of perfection (which includes every one of us). If we do this in our Lodges, our Fraternity will prosper and grow. If we do this in the larger world, all of humanity can benefit. We can make a difference, one incident and one person at a time, but only if we make the conscious choice to do so – let each of us choose to make this our resolution for this new Masonic year.


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The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of the State of New York