So, you’ve just been raised a Master Mason.  Now what?

Having been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, you have reached a level where you're able to vote, hold office, visit other lodges if found worthy, and benefit from all of the rights and privileges associated with being a master Mason.  You also find yourself faced with many interesting opportunities and challenges.  On one hand, you can enjoy the satisfaction of having experienced a unique set of degrees the purpose of which is to provide you with the essential elements of a philosophy of living day to day life.  You have bound yourself to an ancient brotherhood based on shared moral values and the aspiration of living an admirable life.  The brothers of this Lodge have invested many hours in teaching you basic principles, lectures, and other important material to support this end.

On the other hand, it may seem that the Lodge has just turned their back on you to focus on the next candidate coming through the process you have just finished.  You are left with unanswered questions, confusing experiences, and a desire for more with no clear direction.  It is as if a young bird has reached a point in its life and is tossed from the nest stand for themselves and the world.

We hear of other opportunities in organized Freemasonry such as the York Rite bodies, the Scottish Rite, and social organizations.  We may find people encouraging our involvement and even offering us petitions for membership within minutes of "getting up off the floor."

So which way do you go?  What should you do?  To whom should you turn for advice and direction?  The answers to these questions lie within the lectures and charges you have already heard.  Unfortunately, so much information has been presented to you in such a short time that it is difficult to make sense out of even the most basic parts let alone be able to remember and understand specific phrases and their subtle meanings.

It quickly becomes clear that you have discovered the tip of a very large iceberg.  We all know the essence of Freemasonry is contained within the lectures and experiences of the first 3° and should remember the lessons of the Fellowcraft degree of monitoring us to approach each challenge as a student of the Liberal Arts and Sciences always endeavoring to study, learn, and grow as a Mason.

It would be wise for you to attend Lodge regularly to again witness the work being presented.  You should ask questions of those around you and consult with knowledgeable brothers about the questions you have regarding any aspect of Freemasonry.

The brothers around you have limitations.  However, it is the wise brother who will answer a difficult question with "I'm not sure, but we can find out together."  It would also be wise for you to begin to expand your reading list to see what other great minds have said about Freemasonry and be prepared to discuss your readings with those around you to help determine what elements of truth are contained within those writings as well as which writings have been written from a misguided or misinformed view of Freemasonry.

It would be wise for the Lodge to continue to reach out to new Master Masons and invite them to stay involved with Lodge not just in the meetings and not just in the role of "servant," but to support them becoming a lifelong student of Freemasonry.

In operative masonry, the entered apprentice is trained in basic skills eventually moving to the level of journeyman or ‘fellow of the craft’ to be a productive worker in the shop of the master where he performs tasks assigned to him by the master.  During that time, the admirable journeymen will take time on his own to begin to explore his own designs, experiment with various techniques, and improve himself.  He will soon come to the point that he is able to produce a work of his own that reflects not only the technical skills that he has been taught and developed through experience but also the ability to innovate, to plan, and to create them his own resources.  This piece, if found worthy, is deemed his "masterpiece" and this ‘fellow of the craft’ becomes a true master of the craft and is given the privilege of training new apprentices.  This process requires initiative on the part of the craftsman to explore, pursue, and learn without being directed.

As the newest Master Mason to join our ranks, it becomes your responsibility to demonstrate the initiative to seek more light in masonry, ask questions, pursue existing knowledge, and begin to think your own thoughts and develop your own understanding of what Freemasonry is and can be in your life.  This is, indeed, a lifelong process as you continue to work at improving your personal "Masterpiece" which will be presented to the Great Architect of the Universe when we are called from this lodge to the grand lodge above.