L’Eurojam 2014 In RETROSPECT
Interview with Father BOGUSŁAW MIGUT, Federal Religious Adviser 2010-2018
Father Migut, how do you evaluate the experience of the Guides and Scouts of Europe’s Eurojam?
The Eurojam experience is based on two levels, the spiritual level, and the social and political level also linked to religious life. What is the meaning of this religious experience of Eurojam? The motto “Venite et Videte” was taken from the Gospel of Saint John when John the Baptist wanted to show Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Messiah and where Jesus, when He is asked “Where are you staying?”, answers “Venite et Videte”.
This means that Faith cannot be explained by a philosophical or theological treatise. It is not possible to combine faith with abstract terms. It is not an expression of quantity, an explainable science, but it is life with Jesus. Our young people could experience life with Jesus in different ways: The Holy Scriptures, prayer, the Eucharist, confession. They surely have understood – and this is what was passed on to them – that Faith means life with Jesus, expressed in diverse ways.
If we consider the social aspect, I think that our youth has understood that unity in Europe is a set of practical actions and not something written on paper; not only a political question, someone else’s choice, but a complete and concrete reality to be lived every day. The sharing has become real: they have met one another, boys and girls, they have lived together and have discovered diverse cultures.
On the religious level, a concrete aspect to which we have to commit in the future is the importance to be given to the sacrament of reconciliation in the life of our leaders and our youth, scouts and guides. This sacrament has become difficult nowadays, not only in countries such as Germany or others, where it is particularly tangible, but also in Italy where it is also a problem to be dealt with.
Why is it important? Because life with Jesus starts with this sacrament. I feel sinful, like somebody who needs His mercy, I need Him; this is how mature faith starts. To let my Faith mature, I need to convert. “Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life. Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, (is) at once holy and always in need of purification, (and) follows constantly the path of penance and renewal” (LG 8). This endeavour of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” (Ps 51,19) drawn and moved by grace (Jn 6, 44 ; 13, 32) to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.” As St. Ambrose said: “The Church has got the water and the tears: the water of Baptism, the tears of penance.” Both are necessary instruments of life with God in the Church.
What is the meaning of the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in this context?
The sacrament of penance and reconciliation is also linked to the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In short, the consecration to the Sacred Heart is similar to the Eucharistic consecration. We bring our gifts of bread and wine to the altar. In this way, we do our consecration on our part, because we show we want to dedicate our whole life to God, but, at the same time, we also show our weakness and our incapacity to serve God. That is how God becomes the most important point of reference of our life, the heart of our existence. But this is not enough for a true consecration. It needs the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit consecrates our gifts and changes them into the Body and Blood of Christ. Nourishing ourselves on this Body and Blood of Christ, we become ourselves consecrated, that is to say transformed more and more to his likeness.
The consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the expression of our will and desire to love God and our neighbour, as Jesus has done it. His love becomes the measure of our love. But as, without Him, we can’t do anything, by consecrating ourselves we invite Him with His consecrating power. We confess that only He is able to convert our heart, to change it to the likeness of His heart. Consecration is confessing our weakness and recognising the huge power of God. I confess my weakness to you so that you show me your strength.
So the consecration is not only an act of devotion?
Yes and no. Devotion means also devotedness, commitment and that is how it is a part of consecration. Few people understand it in this manner. In general, devotion is considered as an external act. Consecration is not. It emerges from the deepest sense of our faith. In the Bible, our Master himself asks for the person’s heart. Christian existence lived in docility to the Holy Spirit, following Christ and obeying the Father, doesn’t limit itself to a series of formal gestures or practices. It requires the implication of the whole human being, starting from the propelling centre which is the heart. Thus, the heart indicates the deep interiority, the centre of the person, the seat of feelings, but also of decisions. It is the place where human freedom gambles its relation with God, the backbone of moral life, the dynamic centre from where good and evil arise. Jesus declares: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Luke 12, 34). The heart can be “stubborn” (Ez 2, 4), but nevertheless, it can receive God’s renewing action in conversion. That’s why the Psalmist invokes: “A clean heart create for me, God” (Ps 51, 12) and the prophet Ezekiel announces: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ez 36, 26).
“Jesus presents himself as fulfilment of the promise of the new heart, at the “school” where the faithful are called to come to: “Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mt 11, 29). John Paul II has observed in this regard: “Only once, perhaps, did the Lord Jesus refer to his own heart, in his own words. And he stressed this sole feature: “gentleness and lowliness”: as if he meant that it is only in this way that he wishes to conquer man; that by means of “gentleness and lowliness” he wishes to be the King of hearts. The whole mystery of his reign was expressed in these words. Gentleness and lowliness cover, in a certain sense, all the “riches” of the Redeemer’s heart, of which St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians. But also this “gentleness and lowliness” reveal him fully; and enable us to get to know him and accept him; they make him the object of supreme admiration.” The whole Gospel reveals the merciful goodness and the huge charity that the Heart of Jesus has got for all people: children, ill people, the poor, the sinners… Some passages help particularly to “read” the mystery of the heart. Saint John reminds us that the Heart of Jesus is a pierced heart (cf. John 19, 34-37). The invitation to come to the “living water (cf. John 7. 37-39) is related to the pierced side of the Crucified. Pope Benedict XVI remarks in this context: “Certainly, as the Lord tells us, one can become a source from which rivers of living water flow (cf. Jn 7:37-38). Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God (cf. Jn 19:34)” (Deus Caritas est, 7). The attention should yet not stop at the Passion, as that might have been the case in the past: The mystery of the Heart of Jesus includes the Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. At the cenacle, Risen Christ makes the great announcement of Divine Mercy, he commits its ministry to the apostles and he shows them the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound of the heart (cf. Jn 20, 19-23). Jesus tells Thomas: “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20, 28).
What does it mean to our leaders?
It has a very deep meaning, and above all, a personal meaning. I am in the hands of God. I have confidence in God. He changes my life by making it always more beautiful and interesting. Talking about this, it reminds me of a song, sung and written by Claudio Chieffo on the occasion of his wedding day. He sings: “I would like to love you as God loves you, with the same passion, the same power, the same fidelity, which I am missing.” For us, as leaders, this means that we (have to? Or try to?) love our scouts and guides in a degree which is beyond our possibilities. We want to love our girls and boys as God loves them. Let’s invoke Him as power of our love.
Which problems do you sense for scouting at a political and social level?
At a social level, Eurojam confronts us with a problem which calls our attention and which makes us face, in Europe, realities we can consider as coming from the left and from the right. There is a risk of taking positions in contrast with the spirit of international brotherhood requested by scouting. The analysis of political ideas, thoughts and proposals is a duty for every scout. If, on the one hand, everything currently defined to rank among the political left tends to deny any personal, national and European identity, on the other hand, everything defined as political right tends to raise the national identity above brotherly dialogue to the point where this identity becomes too large and dims the purpose of the scouting movement.
Eurojam gave youth the opportunity to experience that, in order to build peace, we must maintain dialogue with one another, remain with others, and overcome barriers and obstacles caused by our diversity.
For us, this experience must help us to create an atmosphere of concrete international dialogue. How? Through exchanges, because only meetings enable understanding and dialogue; sharing among diverse cultures, joint camps at a European level, not only events such as Eurojam; we should plan an international camp every year. There is no other means but concrete meeting to appreciate oneself, one’s own identity, but also the national and European identity.
Why does our youth (including our leaders) have difficulty living the sacraments and why is Mass often considered as unimportant?
As a Catholic movement, we are very tempted to call ourselves Catholics instead of being so in reality. It is always easier to create a sort of Catholic ideology, of theological and philosophical system which we try to defend rather than to live faith in God in His Church. We need fundamental and in-depth catechesis. Our movement can’t simply be satisfied with the school catechesis. We have to find our catechesis model during our activities. We also have to re-think the training of our leaders. Dear leaders, I invite you to take part in spiritual exercises. You need them. So do I.
Pattuglia Europa – Associazione Italiana