FREEMASONRY & SPIRITUAL STRENGTH
Are there ever present possibilities which, if activated in our lives would lead to strength? Can we discern those possibilities which lead to harmony - the strength and support of all societies, especially of ours?
Yes we can. We have the knowledge of how to do it stored in our working tools and symbols. And each of us to a degree has practiced with them and learned from that practice.
What prevents us from increasing the quality and quantity of our practice? We all have our priorities in life and some of these can conflict with our quest for virtue. When we reach a point of such conflict, we create as it were a battlefield of the self. One army struggles to continue the climb on the ladder of virtue. The other declares we have a right to things we want such as the glitter of fame and fortune and all the in-betweens.
Generally the will of the Mason is strong, but when we are used to willing something that our Masonic experience has taught us does not lead to virtue, then we get torn, to some degree, between the two.
Which side will win out depends on how well we have learned from our life's experiences. If we have learned, beyond a doubt, that the virtuous life leads to happiness, and that a life which is other than virtuous leads to a degree of pain, then we will succeed in overcoming our non-beneficial habit. If the habit is too strong, we may have to be in a holding pattern for a while before we can advance in our quest for greater virtue.
Yes, we can have the knowledge yet not will to operate on that knowledge. This could happen 100%, or to varying degrees, depending on the strength of our "hard earned" habits. A habit is some pattern of thinking, feeling, or action which we have learned to do in the past which may or may not be beneficial for our present purposes. The idea is not to condemn all habits as bad, but to discern which habits, if any, are now hindering our progress up that ladder of virtue and weed them from our garden.
If we are truly serious about achieving the virtuous life, and thus the gaining of strength through personal harmony, then no matter how strong our non-beneficial habit pattern may be, we can ask the Supreme Being for help in achieving the Masonic victory. (If He can give out new cars, surely He can guide us to whip a habit pattern.)
Everyone of us trusts in the Supreme Being. Everyone of us know that our prayers are powerful. Everyone one of us know that we have been given free-will to pray for whatever we want. How many of us desire to be a temperate man? How many of us desire to have fortitude? How many of us choose prudence in every thought and act? Who among us truly desires to be a just man?
It really is a matter of what we want. How serious are we about what we want? If we want virtue we will study virtue, read about virtuous people and their intense striving to perfect themselves.
The more we decidedly want the virtuous life, the more we understand virtue, the more we find ourselves choosing those possibilities which contain the seeds of virtue for our garden of happiness. When we choose virtue then we choose the strength of harmony in our lives. The more we choose virtue the stronger and more harmonious we become, and thus contribute to Lodge harmony. (yes, Lodge harmony is our personal responsibility.)
Virtue is inseparable from happiness. There can be no serious happiness without virtue. When we are not engaged in the business of our serious quest for virtue, we are like a kite without a tail. We cannot stay aloft for long without taking a nose dive onto the hard ground of ignorance, or getting tangled in the countless branches of our self-willed trees of confusion. Virtue is stability.
The prudent man has an anchor in the Divine. From the Divine he draws greater and greater strength, because his prudence strives on to higher and higher degrees of virtue. Can we choose strength? (You bet we can!)