As we enter November, let us first give thanks to all the Veterans who, due to their Sacrifice and Fortitude, make it possible for all of us to be afforded the freedoms we have. One of these freedoms is the Right to Vote, so please don’t forget to cast your ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2nd. Let us then honor our Veterans on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11th, as we should every day.
In remembering our Veterans, I would like to speak about one of our virtues as Freemasons. Fortitude is a virtue we are taught to practice – facing our fears and distancing ourselves from cowardice. My personal example is performing in public, not so much speaking, but retaining and performing memorized dialogue. One of my first duties when I became a new officer was to have a big part in the 1st Degree, and I was given two weeks to learn it.
Of course, I said yes, but in my mind, I was asking myself, “What did I get myself into?” I had just finished my 3rd Degree when I was then asked to be a steward. At the first officers’ meeting I was then asked to take a part in the question-and-answer portion of the upcoming degree.
On my way to the Lodge on degree night, I was saying to myself, “What did I get myself into? I’m going to fail. I’m going to be a disappointment.” Not at all enjoying the degree as I was going over the lines in my head while traveling to the lodge, I accomplished my portion with success, only to be asked to do the 2nd then 3rd Degrees when that time came!
By conquering fear and performing other roles in the Degrees, I gained a better understanding of not only the Degrees, but it also helped me to advance in the lodge. Last year, as Junior Warden, being the acting Master for the 1st Degree was so much longer and required a lot more memorization. However, it was a lot easier than when I first undertook the smaller roles in the Degrees because I had met my fear and conquered it while demonstrating Fortitude.
My Brothers, enjoy a very good Thanksgiving and a safe November. I always look forward to seeing you at the lodge and, as your Senior Warden, you can always reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
One of the bravest things a Mason can accomplish is conquering his fear.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Michael S. Crispino, Jr