There comes a time in many a Mason’s life when the Master or Master-elect of the Lodge appoints him to be an officer of the lodge for the first time.
If the Mason chooses to accept the office being appointed to him, he may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of whatever duties are attached thereto.
In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed in this manner, how can a Mason prepare to be an officer of the Lodge?
The answer includes:
- organizing your time,
- memorizing the relevant ritual
- asking advice from those who have filled that office before, and
- trusting that the Master of the Lodge is a good judge of character.
Organize Your Time
Being an officer can require more time than mere lodge attendance; the closer that one’s station is to that of the presiding offices, the bigger that this time requirement becomes.
However, we are also charged not to let Masonry interfere with our usual vocations, which I personally interpret to mean my duties to God, family, and country.
For years, I carried two planners that I kept together: a day planner with a year planner, both pocket-sized.
As much as I loved carrying them, I eventually lost them both shortly before the pandemic occurred. I am sure that they are somewhere about my home, but as our home is a work-in-progress, I have not yet been able to find them.
As it happens, Google Calendar is free and has therefore since filled my needs.
Whatever method you choose to use to keep track of your time, please keep in mind the importance of planning everything as best as you can with the intention of a due balance between Masonry and your usual vocations; plan Masonic duties around your ecclesiastical/spiritual duties, your family time/obligations (which includes your job), and your civic duties, not the other way around; if applicable, delegate some of your duties to others in the Lodge.
You are likely not the first person to fill the office to which you are being appointed.
Even if you are a charter member of your Lodge, another Mason in your Grand Lodge has likely filled the role that you are now filling.
Memorize and Live the Ritual
As an officer, you will have certain ritual portions that you will need to have memorized before your installation and during your term in your respective office.
If you hope to move to another office at the end of your term, then I also earnestly recommend to your consideration the memorization of that office’s ritual before you are even appointed or elected.
Before I was installed as the Junior Deacon of my Lodge, I made sure to have all of its parts memorized; I have striven to do the same for each office since. Please do not let ritual be an obstacle to your opportunities to serve your Lodge; the sooner that you can start memorizing it, the better.
It should also be noted that you should strive to live the ritual that you are memorizing and performing. Various commendable virtues are referenced and listed in Masonic ritual that every Mason should strive to embody.
The more that these virtues shine through your character, the more it will be hoped that you be one to officiate for your Lodge.
Trust the Judgment of your Master and Lodge
If you are being appointed by the Master of the Lodge or if you are being elected by the Lodge itself and you do not feel confident about whether you merit the position, then I recommend that you trust that he or they have judged your character and ability, and have therefore found you to be an acceptable, wonderful, or necessary holder of the office that you are offered.
Refusal of Office
Although it does not directly address the question of this article, I feel that it is appropriate to do a quick tackle of this tangential issue: there is no shame in refusing to serve in an office of your Lodge if you believe that you will not be able to the duties attached thereto.
I personally had to turn down an appointment to an office in 2017 due to circumstances that later led to me moving out-of-state. There was disappointment from a few (including myself) due to those circumstances; but everyone understood, and no grudges were held.
Fortunately, I moved back in late 2018 and was later appointed and installed to serve as the Junior Deacon for the 2019 year for that same Lodge.
I have not held many offices, but the few that I have held have been exceptionally fun (except for the office that I held during 2020, due solely to the fact that I my opportunity to enjoy it was cut short by the pandemic).
The more that you put into your respective duties in Masonry, the more that you will get out of them (as is the case with anything of value).
I’ll also add one more thing here: once you have achieved a good routine for such preparation, be willing and (as applicable) able to help others who are coming in through the ranks of the Lodge.
Just as you rely on the help of others for your Masonic duties, so may someone else in a similar position one day reach out to you as well.
Plan out your office’s tasks as they come; make sure that they do not interfere with the more important things in life. Ask others for help when needed. Learn the ritual that comes with your office; emulate the principles that the whole ritual teaches.
Trust that you merit the faith that the Master and/or the Lodge are reposing in you by asking you to be an officer.
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This article was written for MasonicFind.com by Brandon Cole, SW.