Brothers, being a Freemason is hard work. Those who are thrive in it donate the best of their free time (and sometime not so free), and the best of themselves to a higher calling of edifying and building up their brothers, and in so doing also improving themselves as men. However, this takes, time, patience and above all, respect.
When we were about to get married, my wife and I read through a few relationship books. One of the principals stood out to me, and I find very applicable to Freemasonry. The book said that men primarily feel loved only when they feel respected. We as Masons are required spread “brotherly love.” That brotherly love is in fact proactive respect from one brother to another.
Respect comes from the Latin, Respectus, which literally means to look back at, as in “look at me when I’m talking to you.” However the implication goes even deeper, perhaps even relating to the concept of the third eye, urging us to see a man’s, soul, and who he really is, and to really listen to it.
The difference between passive and proactive respect is in action. Passive respect is courteous and empathetic of the brothers as they are speaking, respectful of their position in Lodge and responsive when being given an order from a superior officer, and attentive to another’s situation in life so as to not over burden or offend them. Proactive respect not only sees the brothers situation in life, but goes out of their way to build up the reputation and benefit the other brother. This can take the form of anything business referral to a thank you email for something they did for you or the lodge that you noticed. Proactive respect is the true cement that holds a lodge together so that all can best work and best agree.
The second thing that must be noted about proactive Respect, is that it itself demands respect itself. It is contagious. If you have been touched by a brother who has been proactive in engaging with you, someone who has seen a need in your life and gone out of their way to fulfill it without being asked, pass it forward to another brother in the Lodge.
Masons are builders, let us build each other up.
Finally, proactively respect the Lodge and the brothers as a whole. Not only speak it’s praises to others, and give the fraternity the respect it deserves on stated meetings, but also use that mind’s eye to imagination in what it could be and help. Use that third eye to be perceptive of the needs of the brothers and the lodge as a whole, and step forward without being asked. Just as proactive respect for your brothers, takes time out of your day, and commitment, so too should it be to respect the Lodge as a whole be a time commitment. Whether that be seeing that the dishes need to be done, or a lecture that must be memorized, to respect the lodge is not only to see the successes of the Lodge and be grateful to it, but also to see the needs and attend to them