To act on the square is one of the principle and most memorable injunctions we receive in the Lodge and one that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Perhaps the most common interpretation is to act honestly, uprightly, and in such a way that all our actions could be tested with the square of morality and virtue, and found true. Another meaning could be be that we are to act with common sense, eschewing the twisted paths forged by those who operate without logic and reason. However, there is another interpretation far less metaphorical and metaphysical, yet no less valuable for that: That of making our perambulations about the lodge in the course of rituals and meetings conform literally to the right angles, horizontals, and perpendiculars that mark us a Masons.
A little thought will reveal why simply the way we walk about the lodge room is so important. Picture in your mind two Lodges. In one the brothers slouch in their seats, rushing through their responses in a near mutter, and they saunter about the floor in any direction, perhaps with sword or stave swinging carelessly at their side. In the other, the brothers sit erect, quiet and mindful. The words come slowly and clearly, and carry to every corner of the room. They are spoken with weight and meaning. As the deacons move about the floor, their pace is measured, their back is straight. Their turns are almost martial in precision, and they hold their badge of office with due respect. It is an established fact that most men join Masonry in search of education, philosophy, and spirituality, and I think it obvious that those men in the second lodge will be more edified in their search.
When we move about the floor of the lodge room according to the laws of geometry, something extraordinary happens: Walking - that most commonplace of actions - becomes something more. It becomes the catalyst that pulls both the walker and the men observing him out of the realm of the ordinary world and into a separate space; one that can become a sacred space.
Walking by the square gives us dignity and respect, and it reminds us to treat the rituals and our fraternal duties with the dignity and respect that they merit. It evokes the cleanliness and care that should mark us as Brothers. Dedicating our steps to the square marks our dedication to the Craft and to making the Lodge a place to work out the true purposes of Masonry. And simply watching our step will make us elite: a group of men sworn to the highest ideals and the best things in life, well above the common and mundane.
Care in our perambulations elevates both ourselves and those silently watching. Most people are visually oriented, rather than auditory: They will be more greatly influenced by what they see you do than by what they hear you say. The example set by a man who walks by the square tells his brothers that just as he takes care in the small things, so too may he be trusted to take care of more weighty matters.
The process is simple: As you move about the lodge, be mindful of right angles and straight lines. Keep in mind that every action and word uttered in lodge is emblematic of something deeper, and that you are privileged to be portraying those hidden truths. Remember that rushing your role only serves to cheapen it; conscious care elevates it into a life-altering experience.
The most important journeys begin with a single step. Let us be sure that our first step is well placed; true and straight by the square.