INSTRUCTIVE TONGUE, ATTENTIVE EAR
By The Reverend Brother David R. Ritchie
Grand Chaplain, Grand Lodge of Wisconsin
Ear. and the Faithful Breast.
It has been my experience that most Masons are more than willing to
use the Instructive Tongue. We have all been part of a degree with six
prompters (usually all saying something different). We like to help and
we want to inform others, share with them the knowledge we have.
This is one of the passions many of us struggle to subdue. We some-
times tend to employ the Instructive Tongue before we have engaged
the Attentive Ear.
The Attentive Ear is where it starts. It is how we learn our work. It is
also the first step in practicing our tenets. Brotherly Love starts by listening
to a Brother’s story. Relief starts by listening to a Brother’s
struggles, his problems. Truth begins when we listen to the beliefs and
ideas of others and then quietly contemplate and form our own.
The Instructive Tongue, Attentive Ear. and Faithful Breast are the
reasons we, as a fraternity, have survived the centuries. They are the
reason we are valid and needed today. They are what will make us vi-
able in the future.
How many problems are caused in Lodges and in life by an unbridled
instructive tongue? The trouble comes when we get the order wrong.
The Instructive Tongue must teach us first. This is what the Attentive
Ear hears. Then the Attentive Ear fills the Faithful Breast and then, and
only then, will the Instructive Tongue, in turn, be ready to pass on to
others the secrets of Freemasonry, our history, our stories, and our ritual.