Are We Our Brothers’ (And Sisters’) Keepers?

Peter Paul Rubens – Cain slaying Abel (Courtauld Institute)

From the title of this paper it is obvious that it is paraphrasing a well known passage contained in the Volume of the Sacred Law, Book of Genesis, Chapter 4, Verse 9, in which the Lord calls Cain to account for his brother Abel’s whereabouts. The answer, as we know, is one of defiance. In the words of the King James version of the Holy Bible it is the familiar response: “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” The more modern Living Bible puts it into these words: “How should I know?… Am I supposed to keep track of him wherever he goes?”

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The Greatest Organization on Earth

Not just a man. A Mason.

I believe that I belong to the greatest organization on earth, a brotherhood of men with the sole purpose of creating better men for a better world, who sees God’s creation as a masterpiece and that each one of us is connected to everything else in the Universe…to each other, to the plants and to all of the creatures of the earth and beyond.

We recognize our relationship to everything and that eternity isn’t a place where we go after we die—but eternity is here, now and forever. We believe that everyone is equal—regardless of our race, our creed, our gender, our economic status or our sexual orientation. Our lives are precious—all life is precious and that the Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, Cosmic Consciousness, Atonement, Enlightenment—whatever you call it—isn’t a place beyond us, but it is within us.

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The Great Dissension (or Schism)

The School of Athens by Raphael (1509–1510), fresco at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City.

Address by Wor. Bro. E. J. E. McLagan, member of the Hobart Lodge of Research, 21st. July, 1967.

I now address the issue of the Great Dissension, which occurred in the 18th Century, culminating in Freemasonry in England being divided into two factions bitterly opposed to each other.

These rivals became known as the “Antients” who formed a rival Grand Lodge in 1751, and the “Moderns”, who loyally adhered to the original Grand Lodge constituted in 1717.

Until comparatively recently the “Antients” have been apt to be described as “Seceders” or “Schismatics”, but both terms are quite unjustified seeing that not one of the first dissidents belonged to any lodge under the jurisdiction of the Premier Grand Lodge, and also that their ritual and customs differed scarcely at all from those of their Scottish and Irish Brethren, whose Grand Lodges, as we shall see later, were to recognize the so-called “Antients” as the Grand Lodge of England.

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What is an Almoner?

Pieter Thijs - Portrait of an almoner with his wife and children as an allegory of charity
Pieter Thijs – Portrait of an almoner with his wife and children as an allegory of charity

The word “ALMONER” is an officer elected or appointed in the Continental Lodges of Europe to take charge of the contents of the alms-box, to carry into effect the charitable resolutions of the Lodge, and to visit sick and needy brethren. A physician is usually selected in preference to any other member for this office. An Almoner may also be appointed among the officers of an English Lodge. In the United States the officer does not exist, his duties being performed by a Committee of Charity.

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