Fraternal best wishes to all
We are very fortunate at Devotion as we receive and warmly welcome many visitors. Many visits are in response to the visits made my our Worshipful Master, other perhaps find the Fourth Friday convenient time, while I am sure that many enjoy the home cooked meals and an un-rationed quantity of wine. They quickly appreciate the complete harmony and warmth. They park on-site or in nearby Hoddle Street and this has never been a problem.
Visiting does not rate a great prominence in our ritual or in our regulations yet it constitutes a major masonic activity. As with Freemasonry itself, the benefits to be derived from this activity vary between individuals. I remember in my early years of Mastership when I had started to commit the degree work to memory, it was like going to another rehearsal. I learned that as a visiting Master you really represented your lodge and brought it to the forefront of the host lodge member’s minds. Close bonds were formed especially with other “Masters on the Road” that still endure. My visiting before Mastership was less frequent and was probably more relaxed but still very enjoyable. The most formal visiting, however, has always been the “official visits” where the Master visits with his Wardens and Brethren. It demonstrates that the visiting lodge has gone to a special effort to recognise the occasion or the Installed Master. The visited lodge recognises this in the manner in which the visitors are received.
Responses to the Visitors’ Toasts invariably refer to the great masonic privilege of visiting. We are charged at every Installation to be happy and to communicate happiness to others. This places an obligation on both the hosts and the visitors, but no more than a natural courtesy would demand. There is no place for insularity or provocative behaviour and it is beholden on the visitor to show his gratefulness for his host's efforts, however modest.
Visiting for me now has the greatest benefit of getting me “out of my rut” – it shakes any temptation for complacency. There are some lodges that make you feel grateful that you are a member of Devotion but more often you see things that warrant your emulation. For me, with my involvement with a number of appendant Orders, visiting involves travelling. Recently I have been to Mildura, Shepparton and Bendigo. It is very moving to see the effects of the current drought before the fire season has started, and to get the sense of hardship burdening most of the country people including Freemasons (they are usually too proud to go to complain). They are invariably what might be called “older Australians”. The newer ones, and some people say we need more, are in the main ensconced in the now largely non- manufacturing and non-industrial Capital cities or within about 15 km of their extremities.
More people need to get off their tails and see what is happening in this great country of ours rather than relying on information from politicians.