Improving Ourselves
By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey

The Ripple EffectThe Ripple Effect
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'Everyone thinks of changine the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.' -Leo Tolstoy

My Companion:

Apparently, Count Tolstoy never understood what Masonry is all about.

Our aim is not to change the world, but to change individuals. We work to make good men better, to teach men to be upright, square and level, and to revere the G. A. O. T. U. with all our heart. The many lessons, signs, and symbols of our Craft are designed to bring these things to our minds in the midst of the most innocent social pleasures.

If we as Masons, be it Symbolic, Capitular, Cryptic or Chivalric, do our best to lead by example, the world will follow. But this is true only if we act, only if we attend meetings; only if we talk to and learn from our Brothers, Companions, and Sir Knights; and only if we bring out of the meetings the lessons learned in them. It is by applying these lessons while “in the world”, not just in Lodge, that we show the true value of Masonry.

As we each learn to improve ourselves, we improve the space immediately around us. As that space improves, the people within it are improved. As they improve, so the space around them improves. And so on, until “its influence beams everywhere civilization extends.”

This is called the ripple effect: a stone tossed into a pond creates ripples. Bigger stones make bigger ripples, and many stones make many ripples. But only if you actually throw the stones!

Don’t be afraid to make waves!

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