Often we hear that, as Masons, we should be good men, of good morals, etc – and that learning is not what makes us Masons. While this may be true – in that being a good man of good morals is the prerequisite for membership – it is not the Alpha and Omega of the Craft! If we look carefully at the Degrees, we will notice that the First Degree discusses the character of the member, but that the Second Degree urges the candidate to focus on learning the liberal arts and sciences. In some rituals this is more explicit than in others, but it's present in every single one. In order to become a Master Mason, one needs to be a Fellow Craft first. By just by being a good man – of good morals – he is merely qualifying himself to be an Entered Apprentice. Many Brethren choose to remain as Entered Apprentice Masons for their entire life and focus strictly on the goodness and the charity. There is nothing wrong with that and I congratulate them on their efforts as I understand that the Craft cannot function without them. Yet, if we want to fulfill our duties as Craftsmen, we need to devote to studying liberal arts and sciences. That includes studying Freemasonry – it being a very important Art and Science – but it does not end there. It is only after we have fulfilled our duties as Fellow Craft Masons that we can strive to become Masters of our Craft. We know what happened to those who tried to obtain the rank of a Master Mason without fulfilling the duties of a Craftsman first and we also know how that story ended. We are all Masons and, as long as we are good man with strong values and morals, that qualifies us to be here - but only as Entered Apprentice Masons. Going further in the Craft requires much more work than just "being."2I think I will let the above quote exist on its own for now. It says a lot.
1. Inspired by a Brother in Ontario.
2. Written by the same Brother.