The Three Legged Stool
Freemasonry is like a three legged stool, in that there are three attributes which so define us that they are the basis of Masonry. We learn in the first degree lecture that, “The three great tenets of a Mason’s profession are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.” It’s hard to imagine that Freemasonry could survive if one of these attributes were missing, and as the first degree charge teaches us, we should be especially careful to maintain them in their fullest splendor. When one leg is longer or shorter than the others, the whole stool is unbalanced.
The question that remains is how do we find balance?
The answer; though simple in principle, is a challenge. We must work together. As Masons we must work with not against each other’s strengths. we are stronger together than the sum of the individual strengths, and together we can make the difference and secure Freemasonry as it was meant to be for generations to come.
It is that attribute that unites all men in every country. It is the glue that binds us together “into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers.” Manifestly, it means we place on another man the highest possible value as friend, a companion, an associate and a neighbor. It is the fellowship which keeps us coming back to lodge to be with brethren with whom we share a common experience. But with fraternalism and fellowship alone we cannot stand as Masons.
It is the duty to give of ourselves and our possessions to those in distress, without being a burden to our family; to help restore peace to the troubled mind of the afflicted. It is a form of Charity. As we learn from Masonic ritual, by offering relief to a distressed Brother, his widow and orphans, Mason strive to soothe the unhappy, sympathize with their misfortunes, express compassion for their misseries and restore peace to the their troubled minds. But with charity and fraternalism together we cannot stand as Masons.
Within the context of Freemasonry, is that attribute of self discovery. Is more than being accurate or factually correct in the intellectual sense, Masonry takes truth to mean that, if we are to have a permanent brotherhood, members must be truthful in character and habit, dependable, and men of honor as well as of honesty. It is the casting off of that which diminishes us and endeavoring to improve ourselves through contemplation and intellectual pursuits. It is the study of the symbolism and history of Freemasonry and the application of the moral truths discovered there upon our character development.
By fraternalism, charity, and Masonic enlightenment we are Freemasons. And like the three legged stool, if one of these attributes is missing, we cannot stand as such. Using knowledge, honesty, and understanding to build ourselves into better men we can make the difference and secure Freemasonry as it was meant to be for generations to come.