Attention to the
From The Grand Lodge Of Texas
Of particular importance to the Fellowcraft Degree are the Rough and Perfect
Ashlars, two stones marking a path for self-improvement for the initiate. The
lessons outlined in this degree rely upon many symbols concerning education and
the gaining of knowledge as a means of advancing, both morally and spiritually.
However, there are other lessons to be gained by examining the stones
themselves, notably the Rough Ashlar.
An "ashlar" is a rough stone taken from a quarry with the intent of preparing it
for use in construction of a building. Its shape is that of a plank or
rectangular solid, which would allow its use for paving or exterior
construction. In olden times these stones were from "freestone," which meant
sandstone or limestone, which could be shaped easily into smooth blocks or other
forms. It was the refining and smoothing that shaped these rough stones into
their final form and thus "fitted them for the builder's use."
For the Freemason, the Rough Ashlar represents his rough state in life and the
need for improvement. He is made aware as a Fellowcraft of the goal of being a
better man, being more spiritual in his thoughts, and striving for perfection in
conduct. A path is laid before him and he is charged to work toward
self-improvement. Duties, obligations, and expectations are clearly placed in
his hands to work toward a better life. He is taught to "smooth" himself, both
externally and internally, and become a true Mason. We, as Brothers, have a duty
to ourselves and to our Brother to teach and help each to become better men and
There are other messages contained within the Rough Ashlar. There are the
internal messages concerning the quality, potential, and character of the stone.
The stone must be of good quality and possess the potential to be a "perfect"
stone in its use. It must have no flaws of character, which may cause it to
weaken in its purpose or use. Thus, when we look at a candidate for the degrees,
we should look carefully at their qualifications and character. The candidate
must be of sound quality and have the potential to serve and support our
Fraternity. He must be carefully inspected, as the Rough Ashlar, in order that
he "fit" in the design of Freemasonry, its tenets, and goals. Just as one bad
stone could ruin the exterior of a building, or weaken the overall structure, so
one flawed Rough Ashlar can bring censure and reproach upon the Fraternity, and
thus weaken Freemasonry in the eyes of the outer world.
Hence there are three goals represented in the Rough Ashlar. One goal is for us
as Masons, one goal is for the Lodge, and one goal is for the initiate. As
Masons we must give due attention to our responsibility in educating our
Brothers in self-improvement. As a Lodge, we must judge carefully in extending
Freemasonry to others, weighing their potential and character as Masons, for
they are the future of the Craft. And finally we must extend the hand of
Brotherly Love and Affection in order that they may attain their place as "just
and upright Masons." Attention to the Rough Ashlar is critical to our future and
we should act accordingly.
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