“The Brotherhood of Freemasons – the Place Where Loyalty and Morality Acquire New Values. The Masonic Experience and the Guiding Role of the Lodge."
M. W. Bro. Oscar de Alfonso Ortega
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain, A. F. & A. M.
Thank you for attending.
To write a long speech I find it useless; I can’t do that.
Therefore I prefer to use PowerPoint.
My idea is to speak around 15 minutes, and afterwards to start questions and comments.
You all already know what I am going to say. I am not going to discover any secret or to show you the misteries of the Universe.
I am going to give my absolute personal point of view, without any intention to teach you, because there is
Please feel free to interrupt me whenever you want.
The objective: to enjoy it. And to start a debate so we can arrive at the end to several conclusions.
When I discovered the item to talk about, I did have no idea about what to say.
The first image are two children, laughing. Their faces are very similar and I suppose they are brothers.
What I wanted to express with this image is the idea of Fraternity.
Three years ago, in the Grand Lodge of Spain, we did send a questionnaire to the Brethren asking them several things about the Order. One of the questions was: which word describes in your oppinion what is Freemasonry? The majority answered FRATERNITY.
And I agree.
A fraternal feeling is what connects masons each other.
Ok, is it enough. I have three other Brothers in my family, and my relationship with them is total different as with my Brother masons.
In my family our relationships are based on a mutual confidence. We know each other since we were born, and we enjoy our company.
But it is not the same as we were masons.
What’s the difference? In my family we did not decide to be Brothers, we did not decide the family to be born.
However in Freemasonry we have voluntarily decided that, although we do not have the same blood, I want to be your Brother. I want to have at least this relationship shown on this picture.
But in Freemasonry, the fact of deciding freel (remember: are you free to become a member of this Order? Are you free to take this Obligation? …), makes this relationship different, special.
Freemasonry gives two step further, one after the other.
The first special character of the Fraternity in Freemasonry is the reciprocity.
It is more than a mutual confidence as those normal brothers!!
Here we ask for more than this: we need to be reciprocal. I defend you, you defend me; I trust you, you trust me.
Taking this free obligation of enganging yourself to a Mason, you have also taken the decision that your existence can not be understood without the existence of the other.
Putting these hands together both Brothers create a special link between them.
And this new situation is not an ordinary one; it is presided by the values of Truth, Honour and Justice.
Till now we have spoken about the bond of a Mason and another Mason.
But this Fraternity is a Universal chain. Once you come in, you are a new member of this chain. So you are part of a whole.
And here we arrive to the next step.
All Brothers together provokes that a Mason should assume a commitment towards the other Masons.
But not only towards the other Masons, also to the rest of the persons of the world, to the society.
Ritual de Emulación en inglés: “ …”
This image is very nice for me.
I was a member of the Rotary Club. I was happy. But I did not feel well. I was looking for something different to Rotary. I remember when I was interwied by the Brother, he asked me: why do you want to become a member of the Order? And I answered: I want to feel safe in a group; I want to confidence on my comrades and they also on me. I am looking for real loyalty.
Obviously I was not looking for the secrets of the Universe.
There are many reasons for becoming a Mason: mine is this: to be part a real Fraternity in which real Loyalty is the most important value.
Grand Masters, I hope you remember what is this: a lodge Temple. Here it is where Freemasonry is practiced, not in your big offices.
We are talking about Fraternity, Loyalty …
The title talks about: “the place where Loyalty and Morality acquire new values”.
Those principles are abstract? Or they are real and they are practiced in our Lodges?
Brethren write and produce a lot of Lectures and Works about these principles and values, but I fell there is no real application in practice of them.
The Lodges have the duty to make a Mason a better person, but I have my doubts it happens really. This is one of the reasons we are so bad. Many candidates resign because they do not find the atmosphere of Fraternity they were expecting. The vast majority are good people, but they become disappointed.
If we do not have good Lodge Officers, it can a be disaster.
Lodge officers must be well formed, not only as a Mason but also as individual; if this would not be the case, he can create a lot of problems. The officers, in order to be the Guidance of the others, need to walk the way of perfection; if not, how could a blind guide another blind? Both fall dawn.
It would be very important to establish good and strict methods of recruiting candidates (there are many who come with wrong aspirations, which stops real work of Freemasonry), beyond the Lodges (national or supranational)
Conclusion: the development of the Fraternity (commitment) in a Lodge forces that every member should also be a better individual.
WE DON’T WORK WITH LODGES; WE WORK WITH PERSONS. The lodges are simply the reflection of the individuals.
If there are members who have not taken the necessary steps to develop as persons, auto-evaluate their thoughts, actions, inside and outside the Lodge, the Fraternity becomes impossible. ¿HOW IS POSSIBLE TO BUILD A TEMPLE OF FRATERNITY WITH SAND AND NOT WITH CEMENT? THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.
There are two important dangers in the Lodges.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The wolf is very intelligent.
He can wear a sheep’s clothing, during years, because it is also very patient.
He thinks that the sheep’s are stupid, because they are all the time looking at the grass and not to the horizont.
The dogs that take care of the herd have a speciall affinity with the wolf in sheep’s clothing; the dogs do not know why, but the feel very good with that “sheep”, something to do with the instinct.
And the wolfs in sheep’s clothing are everywhere: Lodges, Districts, Grand Lodges …
This is an external danger.
This is the second danger.
EGO, VANITY, ARROGANCE
My dear Grand Masters, where can you find more vanity: in an Entered Apprentice or in a Grand Master?
So high you arrive, so more vanity you have.
Everybody has vanity, it is clear.
But we must keep it under control; the vanity can not overcome our minds.
I have a secret: my wife. She always tells me how arrogant I am.
This is an internal danger.
The Masonic Method is not for teaching or educate (a very intelligent Brother is on the top and spreads secrets knowledge to the ignorant Apprentices), it is for forming persons.
It is a work of self-formation.
We show the Brother where he is and where is his goal.
We do not explain him how to arrive, but we present him the tools (Masonic tools).
Which is the most important tool? THE EXAMPLE.
No theory; our actions.
Every Brother should be the good example for the others.
If we tell the Brother how he should behave, and 5 minutes later we do exactly the contrary, what will he learn? Our words or our actions?
The good example, the transparency and the ethics of the Grand Lodges should be the factors in order to spread morality and good practices in our Lodges.
Who will abandon an Institution where these principles and values are not only theory but reals?
And we should never forget that the targets of all this are not the Lodges, they are the PERSONS.
And once he has the tools: GO, on your own. Nobody is going to form you, you must form yourself.
The Brother walks that way from here to there ALONE.
And this experience is terrible, because he feels abandoned, he has doubts, he fails, he gets lost many time …
It remembers me the Camino de Santiago.
You discover yourself when you are working on your own. And sometime you don’t like what you discover.
The moral development must be done by each one. Although if you are a member of a fantastic lodge and the other members help you and treat you well, there is a moment that you must do your work alone, and if you don’t do that, you will never achieve the goal.
And which is the goal?
Masonic misteries, ancestral secrets, Iluminati, the hidden government of the world, to discover the secret recipe of the Coca Cola …
The goal is this.
Integrity is our North.
Honest, upright persons make exceptional Masons.
I put “persons” forward, and then “masons”, this is important.
Many people think: if I am mason, I am a good person; it is exactly in contrary.
Without Integrity, is it worthy to write 100 lectures a year talking about these beautiful principles?
Every level of the Order should be responsible making possible that our method is effective: every Master Mason, Lodges, Officers, Grand Officers, and this World Conference too.
I am very strict: we need to be intolerants with the non Masonic attitudes of many Brothers. They are the bad example for the others.
What is Integrity? Not easy to respond.
These are my proposals, but sure there are more others.
Last Saturday the Grand Lodge of Spain organized a Forum about Ethical Leadership.
This a tribute to one of the Brothers who gave us a speech.
It was very interesting.
He used the same picture: the desert. I have never been there.
I have written here: “personal effort”
At the desert, there is no Water, no Vegetation. Nobody can help you and you are lost in this immensity.
Because you don’t have nothing to eat, you must search in your interior to find your symbolic water.
Persons who have light inside, they survive. Other who do not find anything, finally they die at the desert.
Exactly as in Freemasonry.
The desert is a metaphor, a symbol of the hard work, the personal effort, that we must do.
And the problem is that it is not a short way, it is a long one. It doesn’t take a week, a month or a year. It takes all our life.
Only the best, the selected, will cross the desert and arrive to the paradise.