I must admit that this word has been driving me crazy, in that few words are used in my reference material regarding its meaning, however, this morning I woke up with a different thought of how to approach its meaning and I do hope you will understand my intent.
Fortitude Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
- Strength 2. Strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.
Fortitude Lexicon of Freemasonry Albert. G. Mackey
One of the four cardinal virtues, whose excellencies are dilated on in the first degree. It not only instructs the worthy Mason to bear the ills of life with becoming resolution, “taking up arms against a sea of trouble” but, by its intimate connection with a portion of our ceremonies, it teaches him to let no dangers shake, no pains dissolve the inviolable fidelity he owes to the trusts imposed in him.
Fortitude Freemason’s Guide and Compendium Bernard E, Jones Page 290
To support a Brother.
In that these definitions, while accurate, did not give me a clear message I decided to look at my Thesaurus and lo and behold here is what I found.
Fortitude Webster’s New Complete Thesaurus
Noun. A quality of character combining courage and staying power.
Synonym (the same or almost the same) backbone, grit, guts, intestinal fortitude, moxie, nerve, sand, spunk.
Related words Courage, mettle, pith, resoluteness, resolution, spirit, stick-to-itiveness, tenacity,
Boldness. Bravery, courageousness, dauntlessness, fearlessness, intrepidity, valiancy, valor, valorousness, endurance, stamina, strength, constancy, determination, perseverance.
Now, I believe I better understand what our ancient brethren had in mind when they included this word as a Cardinal Virtue.
Personally, I think back through life to the times when I was faced with the choice of doing the “EXPEDIENT” thing and/or being faced with situations where “THE END WOULD JUSTIFY THE MEANS”.
As I grow older I fervently believe that it is in situations such as this that we have the opportunity to identify ourselves as MASONS by doing what we KNOW to be RIGHT.
Remember to look for the FOUR TASSELS located in your Lodge Room and think of them as a constant reminder of the CARDINAL VIRTUES.