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Like the word monitor, explained some pages back, summons is derived from the Latin term of which the verb was monere, meaning to warn, or to remind, as in “admonish ;“ the “sum” is the combining form of sub, under, or privy to, in the secret of, as in the old phrase “sub rosa.” A summons is an official call sent out by persons in authority to some person acknowledging that authority to appear at some place, or to perform some duty; in other words a person who is “on the inside,” who is a member, is admonished by his superiors, and must obey under penalty. The duty involved and the penalty attached distinguishes a summons from a mere invita-tion. A Lodge, Grand Lodge, or some official issues a summons; a fellow Mason not in official position makes a sign; a Mason is under obligation to respond to either, if it be due, official, or regular.

- Source: 100 Words in Masonry


A warning to appear at the meeting of a Lodge or other Masonic body. The custom of summoning the members of a Lodge to every Communication, although now often neglected, is of very ancient Aaron and was generally observed up to a very recent period. In the Anderson Charges of 1722 (Constitutions 1723, page 51) it is said: "In ancient times, no Master or Fellows could be absent from the Lodge, especially when warned to appear at it, without incurring a severe censure." In the Constitutions of the Cooke Manuscript (line 902) about l450), we are told that the Masters and Fellows were to be forewarned to come to the congregations.

All the old records, and the testimony of writers since the revival, show that it was always the usage to summon the members to attend the meetings of the General Assignably or the particular Lodges. A summons of a dodge is often improperly or illegally worded and care should be taken when issued.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

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