Wednesday, February 6, 2008
One of the obligations that we take in the Master Mason degree is to help, aid, and assist all poor distressed Master Masons, their widows, and orphans. Within the past few days, I have learned of three brother Masons who are experiencing times of distress in their lives currently.
The wife of a Prince Hall brother in Des Moines is battling cancer and is currently hospitalized in a Des Moines hospital; a brother who I work with has been diagnosed with leukemia this past week; and the daughter of a brother in Altoona is battling a rare disease and is need of a bone marrow transplant.
I would like to expand a little on the brother from Altoona and his situation. He and his wife adopted a little girl from India. The little girl had been literally abandoned in the streets in India. Dogs had gotten ahold of her and mauled a part of one of her legs before she was rescued.
Bro. Ernie Landwehr and his wife adopted this little girl from India and brought her to Iowa. The little girls' name is Maddie. Unfortunately this little girl has now developed a condition that requires her to have a bone marrow transplant. The brothers of King David Lodge #407 in Altoona and various groups in Altoona are trying to raise funds to assist this family with the incredible expenses they are facing. You may have read the story about this family in last Sunday's Des Moines Register by reporter John Carlson. I encourage you to visit the website that has been established to help this family (www.helpmaddie.com). Keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.
I believe that this obligation that we take as Master Masons is often overlooked by us brothers. Do we do it intentionally or are we simply "blinded" by our busy lives? I have heard the story of a now deceased brother from Des Moines who helped two widow ladies in his lodge for many years by taking them to the grocery store and on errands. When asked why he did that for so many years, he replied because that was the obligation that I took as Master Mason. Are we the brothers of today, living up to that obligation?
Our fraternity does some wonderful things to help, aid, and assist people: The Shriners' Children's Hospitals; the Knights Templar Eye Foundation; the Scottish Rite Language Clinics, scholarship programs and on and on. But what do we do for those in our own neighborhoods or even in our own lodges who may need a little help from time to time. When I mention the word "help", I am not necessarily meaning financial help. Maybe just a phone call or a visit to a shut in brother or the widow of a brother or maybe a prayer said to the Great Architect of the Universe. We often confuse the word "relief" with a financial donation, relief can take many other forms other than being financial in nature.
Our fraternity is based on friendship and brotherly love. We say we make "good men, better men". Are we instilling in our Masons of today the attitude of helping those in their own midst who may need a friend when they are in need? I believe each of us needs to examine our own hearts and ask ourselves the question, are we really living up to our obligation?