So in previous posts we have…
- established the primary objective of Catholic Scouting.
“obtaining the salvation of his soul”
- clarified the primary task of Catholic Scouting.
“[to receive] catechetical instruction”
I think most people would take these observations to be quite “unattractive” and “boring”. But the truth is “First things, must come first” and it is easy to forget that our primary purpose, before all else, is to fit ourselves for the Kingdom of Heaven (Be Prepared). The best way to prepare for that is to educate ourselves to what the means are, that’s catechesis.
So there is a need to outline a core program, a kernel of actions, that every Catholic Scout must practice. This core program must be be the primary action of any Catholic Scout, group or individual.
In line with the Primary Purpose, and the Primary Task, the Primary Action is to be spiritual and moral re-armament.
CATHOLIC SCOUTS ARE TO OBSERVE The Four Absolutes
Moral standards of absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love, though recognised as impossible to attain, are guidelines to help determine whether a course of action was directed by God. By sin it is meant: “anything that kept one from God or one another” and “as contagious as any bodily disease”. “The soul needs cleaning “
To be spiritually re-armed, the following four practices set out below, are to be observed:
- Confession of our sins and temptations, including voluntary public confession.
- Surrender our life past, present and future, into God’s keeping and direction.
- Restitution to all whom we have wronged directly or indirectly.
- Listening for God’s guidance, and carrying it out.
Confession is a necessity, it allows one to be healed, therefore it is also a blessing to confess.
But why include an option for voluntary public confession?
Public confession is the most ancient form of Confession known to the church, but when a penitent did publicly confess his sins, decision to do it was always private initiative of the person, a free act of Christian faith for spiritual motives.
The public character of this early penance is to be understood as prayerful participation and support given by the community to a sinner, and not as public humiliation.
Confessing not only brings relief but honest confession of sin and of victory over sin helps others to openness about themselves. Sharing publically builds trust, and when it happens, is to be in the presence of the Priest and should enjoy the same seal of the Confessional to all present.
The message one brings to others by speaking of one’s own sins, one’s own experiences, the power of God in guiding one’s life would bring hope to others that a spiritually changed life gives strength to overcome life’s difficulties. It must be done with total conviction for “Half measures will be as fruitless as no measures.”
The central practice to the Catholic Scout is to be guidance, which was usually sought in the “quiet time” of early morning using pen and paper. The scout would normally read the Bible or other spiritual literature, then take time in quiet with pen and paper, seeking God’s direction for the day ahead, trying to find God’s perspective on whatever issues are on the scout’s mind. He is to test his thoughts against the standards of absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, and normally check with a colleague.
Guidance may also be sought collectively from scoutrs when they formed teams. They would take time in quiet, each individual writing his or her sense of God’s direction on the matter in question. They would then check with each other, seeking consensus on the action to take.
This practice of quietly seeking the will of the Lord is an ancient practice well known to the Church.
The simple maxim in the moment is to be “What would Jesus do?”
Five C’s OR THE Five Procedures
The five C’s: confidence, confession, conviction, conversion, and continuance was the process of life changing undertaken by a senior scout (referred to as “life changer”) in relation to the newcomer.
- Confidence, the newcomer has to have confidence in you and know you will keep his secrets.
- Confession, honesty about the real state of a persons life.
- Conviction, the seriousness of his sin and the need to free of it.
- Conversion, the process had to be the newcomers own free will in the decision to surrender to God.
- Continuance, you were responsible as a life changer to help the newcomer become all that God wanted him to be. Only God could change a person and the work of the life changer had to be done under God’s direction.
The above suggested program was adapted from the Oxford Groups program of 1931.
In addition, every Catholic Scout is to have a personal devotion to Our Blessed Lady, St Joseph and St John the Baptist (who is the ideal Catholic Scout).
Devotion to Our Lady should be demonstrated by making the 33-day Consecration to Our Lady (according to St Louis de Montfort) annually, receiving the Brown Scapular and praying at least one decade of the Rosary a day.
Devotion to St Joseph and St John the Baptist should be demonstrated by possessing images of the Saints, having prayerful recourse to them, and sharing with others the glories of these two Saints.