Mea culpa

Don’s Diary

Many years ago now but I recall three expressions that were very relevant when I joined the anathema of a regulated workforce in the private sector, two fairly new: “a circuit breaker” and “a piece of ice”. I was very familiar, “mea culpa”, the third expression from my life-long interest in Latin. “Mea culpa”, of course, is an expression used three times in the Latin Mass, and “mon tort” from a similar interest in François. “My fault” is clearly an important, costless and conciliatory position to take in resolving issues and “moving on”. That is what we should do in Freemasonry when we install a new Worshipful Master in a lodge as we will do at our next meeting.

We often hear trite comments about the installation of a Worshipful Master being a time of “rebirth” or renewal. Certainly a new Worshipful Master will almost invariably change how the management of business from the Chair of King Solomon is conducted. It would be likely to be boring if this were not to be the case. Every master will bring his own peculiar talents to the “mastership”: implant his own personality on the role. I like to see the natural talent and personality grow and flourish whilst in the Chair. The last thing any lodge wants is to see the Master constrained by a lot of old Past Masters who have had their day providing there is good management and we see the three great principles of Freemasonry flourish: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Everything else fades into insignificance.

There will be new faces in different roles in the team of officers and all we can ask is that they try and do their best. We should not forget that it is for all a learning experience and an opportunity for development. We should wish them enjoyment and success in their new roles.

So where does “the circuit breaker”, “the piece of ice” and “mea culpa” fit in? Invariably in any organisation and family there will be precious egos, perceived “hurts” and less than real men will sulk and not be encouraged to “move on” for their own good or the good of the organisation. The “circuit breaker” of a new Worshipful Master will not be sufficiently potent for change, they will not be soothed by any piece of ice we may offer and they are not big enough men to say “mea culpa” or “mon tort” if you like! They do not accept that things are never one-sided. They are preoccupied with blame and judging others. We should feel sorry for them as they are the losers and will be likely to continue on that unhappy, destructive, negative path throughout the remainder of their life. One has to wonder whether or not they would be happier somewhere else other than in Freemasonry. We are lucky not to have such men at Devotion – but we must be every vigilant against these behaviours in others and ourselves.

We should always bear in mind that we are charged to be happy and communicate happiness to others. May our new Worshipful Master and his officers have a great year.

Yours fraternally ,