A PAST MASTER'S MESSAGE
We sometimes speak of Freemasonry as a liberal education, which it is. We sometimes speak of Freemasonry as a religion, which it isn't. When you ask what makes Masons great, you raise a broad and searching question which I am not sure I can answer to your satisfaction. Nevertheless, I shall try.
Our organization is one of the greatest miracles of all time. It is a miracle born of the blood, the toil, the hopes and sacrifices of generations of men who have valued justice and freedom above all else. Against all odds, they have built this great and shining monument known as Masonry. That spirit still lives and it is this spiritual legacy that has made us great.
We are not perfect, of course, and from time to time we have made mistakes. But we have proven over and over again that whenever a Mason's Masonic liberty is threatened, we are ready to take up the challenge. It has always been that way and always will be. Masons from all over the world have poured their skills, their talents, and their hopes into the future. We are great because God has blessed us with a good lodge and with hard-working, intelligent members. We are also humbly aware that all of our blessing flow from Him and that we must keep ourselves worthy of His favor. If we should ever lose it, this would no longer be the lodge we love. But this, Brethren, I am sure will not happen.
In this fraternity, a brother may go as far as his talents and energies will permit. I grew up in poverty and hardship, and had little formal education. There have been many others who have risen from obscurity to positions of great honor because of their abilities. Masons do not believe that a man's place in society is forever fixed by the circumstances of his birth. We Masons are people who look toward the future rather than into the past. We respect traditions, but we are not its slaves. We are not afraid to think greatly and act greatly. We have accomplished much to be proud of, but there is still much to be done.
To the Officers of Chicago Lodge: When you grow older as you advance in your chairs, you may sometimes feel disappointed in the lodge your past masters and I have given you. Try not to judge us too harshly. We did our best, but perhaps we haven't done enough. I hope that you and your officers can do more; for soon - much sooner than you realize - the future of this lodge will be in your hands. You and your Officers will have to make decisions affecting not only our future, but that of all Masons. Prepare yourselves as well as you can so that your decision may be wise and just. In this way, you will be helping to make Chicago Lodge glow in a brighter light.
My Brethren, I hope that I have answered some of your questions. It is good to know that earnest and intelligent young Officers such as you will one day assume the responsibilities of this fraternity; you have my best wishes for the future.
This has been a long letter, but you did have the opportunity to judge me. And I also had the opportunity to judge you. You are the kindest and most important people I have ever had the pleasure to write to. You have given me something which is very hard to get and that is your undivided attention. For this I most humbly and sincerely thank you.
Fraternally,Stephen (Skip) Dukala, P.M.
Chicago Lodge #437 A.F.&A.M.