From the Secretaries Table (October, 2009)

posted May 16, 2015, 6:42 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 16, 2015, 7:21 PM ]


Masonic Cement  - 09 (From the Grand Lodge of Texas)
Construction has a long history, going back to the use of clay bricks by the Babylonians in 2900 BC and where slime and pitch were their “mortar”. Some 400 years later in early Egypt the pyramids were built with a mortar of mud and clay, or of sand and clay. These mortars later were supplemented with lime or gypsum, which was somewhat soft and not durable. Subsequently the Greeks and Romans improved their mortar through the use of volcanic ash and other materials, but surprisingly, these improvements were lost and builders in the middle Ages used an inferior mortar which was subject to water degradation. It was not until the late 1700’s when the more modern cements were developed and perfected.
Romans used the term “opus caementicium” to describe masonry which resembled concrete and this material was referred to as “cementum”, “cimentum”, “cäment”, or “cement”. the tempering, and correct mixture of the various materials, and the actual preparation were known to a select few and they closely guarded their knowledge as “secrets” of the craft. To be a “mattjon”, or wall builder, was a mark of respect with its masters, apprentices, and workmen.
Use of cement to solidify and unite a building easily admonishes us to use the mortar of our experiences, of our lives, and small interactions with each other to unite our Band of Brothers and add to the beauty of the Temple created by the Great Architect. The Entered Apprentice is charged to prepare the mortar and guard it against being “untempered”, or not being mixed or prepared properly. His apron is to protect him from this mortar and points to need to restrain his passions in order to move to the next phase of his life, namely applying his knowledge to construction.
A Fellow Craft he is to work and build. The implements of Masonry, notably the trowel, are to apply his cement and unite the various components of his life into a harmonious whole. Brotherly love and affection are the critical components which bring Masons together and a Brother must care about the conditions of his Brothers and make every effort to reach out to them at all times. The choices he makes represent his trowel in action for the betterment of himself and those about him.
So it is, as a Master, he is charged to admonish, comfort, and aid his fellow Brothers. Like a Craftsman adding the final touches to a structure or an artisan crafting the final brush strokes to a painting, he must strive to help his Brothers in completing their Temple and at the same time, complete his. of us is a stone in the Temple of the Great Architect and the mortar that holds that Temple together is the mortar we create through our actions and deeds. We must strive to make that cement as true and pure as we can, for each Mason will be measured in the final days and wishes to be found upright, level and square. 

Robert D. Rowan, Jr. 
General Secretary