By Most Illustrious Companion John D. Barnes
Past Most Illustrious Grand Master and Grand Treasurer, Grand Council of New Jersey
(Photo Credit: pxfuel.com)
'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.' -Hebrews 13:2
This was one of my mother-in-law’s favorite quotes. She lived up to this motto every day. My wife tells me stories of her parents, in their younger days, coming home with friends late at night. Her mother would have a meal on the table in minutes, as if by magic. When my wife was younger, she’d bring friends over and her mother would miraculously have enough extra food for them to have dinner with the family. One of the things I learned about visiting my future in-laws was to come hungry but eat with caution. Every time I thought the meal was over, and that I couldn’t eat another bite – out came another course! She was laid to rest this weekend, and the family and friends got together for a final repast. Some of our neighbors, who had never met my mother-in-law, came for my wife’s sake. There were strangers at Mom’s table to the very last!
So it should be in your Council. Any Companion who visits should be made to feel welcome. Their rank or honors should mean nothing: you should treat a new Companion the same way you would treat a revered Past Grand Master. They should be made to feel that they are a part of your Council, a part of your family. We are a Brotherhood of Man, under the Fatherhood of God. We profess that all Masons are our Brothers; that those who have advanced to through the Chapter to the Council are our Companions. Act like you mean that.
You don’t have to stuff them with so much food that their aprons pop off, but feed them fellowship and Masonic Knowledge. You don’t have to shower them with expensive gifts, but share your time in Council with them. Always have something on hand to make their visit memorable. It doesn’t have to be much.
But it should be served just like my mother-in-law served at her dinner table: with an open hand and an open heart.