Benevolence and charity are basic principals of Freemasonry. Every Mason is expected to maintain an attitude of benevolence toward all mankind and to perform acts of charity for those in need. This distinguishing characteristic of its members is a foundation stone of the fraternity.
In the Middle Ages each lodge of operative masons, who built the cathedrals, abbeys and castles, maintained a charity chest to help widows and orphans, or members in distress. In addition, they assisted a fellow mason by giving him a day’s work or the means of traveling to the project of a neighbouring lodge.
In the same manner, Masonic lodges of today have an account reserved for charitable purposes to which every member contributes. These funds are used to quietly assist members in need, send remembrances to widows, or special greetings to brethren confined by age or illness. Many lodges extend their benevolent activities by supporting worthwhile community projects.
THE NEED CONTINUES
Even with increased availability of governmental social assistance, there remains a pressing need for Masonic benevolence and charity. Kindly acts of remembrance toward older members, the infirmed and widows are always required. Practical assistance for those in distress is still the responsibility of those who can help.
Therefore, every Mason through his private efforts, his lodge and the other avenues of Masonic charity ought to consider what he should, can, and will do to assist others.