By The Reverend Brother David R. Ritchie

Grand Chaplain, Grand Lodge of Wisconsin


As Fellow Crafts, we are given the Instructive Tongue, the Attentive

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.



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