mardi, novembre 07, 2006

Be prepared!

Sermon on Scouting
On May 11th 1940, Guy de Larigaudie died on a horse in the woods of Musson, near the Luxembourg’s border. They say that he died as he lived, maybe as he had dreamed of dying. He had said once, indeed: “You have to hold fast to life as to a horse.” He left us a beautiful example of greatness of soul and of heroism, an image of a Christian Knight of modern times, the perfect example of a Scout. He died from a deep sense of duty, to defend his country as a true Boy Scout, victim of the first hour of the German invasion. But he is still alive in the soul of many Boys Scouts and 66 years later he is still a model that many young men want to imitate.

Just a few days before his death, he wrote a letter to a Carmelite sister, the confidante of his heart. “ Sister, I am now at the battle. Maybe I will not come back from it. I had beautiful dreams and beautiful aspirations, but, apart the pain that will cause my poor mother and my dears, I truly rejoice. I have had so much nostalgia of Heaven, and now, its door is about to open. The sacrifice of my life is not even a sacrifice, since my desire of Heaven and of the possession of God is so immense. I had a dream of becoming a Saint and of being a model for the cub scouts, the boys scouts and the rovers. The ambition was perhaps too high for me, but it was my dream. Now I just have to run happily to my last adventure.”
So as he lived, he died. Guy de Larigaudie was faithful until the end to the Scout oath he took one day.

Guy de Larigaudie

What is this oath? We can say that it is the code of honor of the new knights that are the Scouts:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally upright

Lord Robert Baden Powell certainly had a good intuition when he decided to start an adventure with a group of 22 boys on Brownsea Island in 1907. Who could imagine that these young boys under the authority of a retired General of the British army would become the pioneers of a great community of children and men all over the world? Indeed, the idea was great.

Baden Powell, the Father of Scouting, was not Catholic, but his theories and conceptions about the education of the young are so good and realistic that when Father Sevin and Father Cornette discovered his work, they decided to start a Catholic movement of Scouting in France. Many other countries followed and started the adventure too.

In 1909, American businessman W. D. Boyce became lost in a dense London fog. As he was trying to find his way, he was approached by a boy carrying a lantern, who offered to take Boyce to the address he was looking for. When they arrived at the destination, Boyce offered the boy a tip. The boy refused, saying, "No, sir, I am a Scout. Scouts do not accept tips for courtesies or Good Turns." Boyce was so impressed with the lad and the Scouting concept he brought the idea back to the United States. On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America in the District of Columbia. Scouting was born in the New World.
Last year, with Mister Ray Young, we decided to continue the Scout Adventure in our parish and we have created troop 1376 of the Boys Scouts of America. Our desire is to propose to our young children, and even to adults, a different life, far from the daily routine of the work, and also far from the comfort in which we like to establish ourselves. Taking the Scout road means renouncing to a certain ‘too easy’ way of life , which is a gain for your spiritual life. The heros and the Saints are not those who stay comfortably at home, sitting in a sofa with air conditioning and all the benefits of technology. Taking the Scout road is answering Our Lord’s call: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me!

Father Sevin and Father Cornette

Scouting is a school of life, and a very good one. Lord Baden Powell has oriented scouting toward five goals, which are: health, character, service, ability and sense of God. The purpose is to make the children, future men of honor, of self-sacrifice, and of responsibility. Our purpose as a Catholic troop, is also and mainly to make them holy. The sense of God is given through the traditional Liturgy of the Church, the practice of the Sacrament and the teaching of a good spirituality which has made many Saints in the past. We want to be faithful to the authentic and traditional spirit of Scouting which has already borne many good fruits, such as many vocations. It is not just a coincidence if many of our traditional seminaries and monasteries are full of many former Scouts. I said ‘former Scout’, but, actually I should not use ‘former’ since a Scout is a Scout for ever.

Today, there is even a religious scout Order, according of the spirit of Father Sevin, and by the way, this Order is a part of Ecclesia Dei with the traditional Liturgy. It is the Institute of The Holy Cross of Riaumont, in northern France. Those of you who came to Chartres last year had the opportunity to meet them. The idea of Father Sevin was “a religious life in the spirit of scouting with the service of the young people.” Like Guy de Larigaudie, and, I suppose, like every Scout in the world, Father Sevin had a dream: “I dream of the team of missionary scouts, who, under the dress or the khaki tunic would be inserted into the African bush... to give the tribes as well as the little boys of France the sumptuous gift of an always young Scouting, a living herald of the Gospel, truly yours, my dear sons, and truly theirs.”

Boys Scouts of Riaumont with their 'Father'

during the Pilgrimage of Chartres

So, dear Brethren, we want to give you this same gift, here for the young American children. But we need your help to realize this dream. The fact is, because of the regulations, we must have at least 6 children in order to have a troop. We also need adults to help us. Because of the departure of some families, we will soon lack both children and adults for our troop. This means that we will have to close our troop in January if we cannot meet the minimum requirement for the number of scouts. So, we need you in order to continue our adventure. Today I ask you to rouse from a certain torpor which manifests itself in different ways. I ask especially the young adult group to think about this. I know that you have your studies and works and they are your main duty. But then, there are other ways to spend your available time rather than just going to parties. I ask especially the ‘former’ Scouts and eagle Scouts to remember their oath. As I said, you are not former Scouts, but you are still and forever a Scout. We need you.
We need all souls of good will in order to continue the work of formation of the youth, the future adults of tomorrow, and hopefully the Saints of the XXI century.

May Our Lady, Mother of the Scouts take us under her mantel. May she help us to be faithful to our oath and to keep the Scout Law and to be prepared.

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