Interview with Father BOGUSŁAW MIGUT

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Interview with Father BOGUSŁAW MIGUT (Federal religious adviser) [1]

Father Migut, how do you evaluate the experience of the Eurojam of the Guides and Scouts of Europe?

The experience of the Eurojam is based on two levels, the spiritual level and the social and political level which is also linked to religious life. What is the meaning of this religious experience of the Eurojam? The motto “Venite et Videte” is taken from the Gospel of Saint John where John the Baptist wants to show, shows Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Messiah and where Jesus, when he is asked “Where do you live?”, answers “Venite et Videte”.

This means that Faith is not explainable by a philosophical or theological treatise. It is not possible to combine faith with abstract terms. This is not an expression of quantity, an explainable science, but this is life with Jesus. Our young people could experience life with Jesus in different manners: The Holy Scripture, prayer, Eucharist, confession. They surely have understood – and this is what has been transmitted to them – that Faith means life with Jesus, expressed in different ways.

If we consider the social aspect, I think that our youth has understood that unity in Europe is a set of concrete actions and not a thing written on a paper; not only a political question, someone else’s choice, but a complete and concrete reality to be lived every day. The exchange has become concrete: they have met each other, boys and girls, they have lived together and have discovered different cultures.

On the religious level, a concrete aspect with which we have to commit ourselves 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 like Germany or others, where it is particularly tangible, but also in Italy where it is also a problem to deal with.

Why is it this important? Because life with Jesus starts with this sacrament. I feel sinful, as somebody who needs his mercy, I need him; this is how mature faith is beginning. In order to let my Faith mature, I need conversion. “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.”[2] As Saint 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 the will to dedicate our whole life to God, but, at the same time, also our weakness and our incapacity to serve God. That is how God becomes the most important point of reference of our life, the centre 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 transforms 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, we invite him with is consecrating force by consecrating ourselves. We confess that only he is able to convert our heart, to transform it to the likeness of his heart. The consecration is confession of our weakness and recognition of the huge power of God. I confess you my weakness in order 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 the consecration. Few people understand it in this manner. In general, devotion is considered as an external act. The 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 the docility to the Holy Spirit, following the Christ and obeying the Father, doesn’t limit itself to a series of formal gestures or practices. It requires the implication of all the 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 the decisions. It is the place where human freedom gambles its relation with God, the pivot of moral life, the dynamic centre from where good and evil arise. Jesus declares: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Lk 12, 34). The heart can be “stubborn” (Ez 2, 4), but nevertheless, it can receive the renewing action of God in conversion. That’s why the Psalmist invokes: “O God, create in me a clean heart” (Ps 51, 10) and the prophet Ezekiel announces: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and 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 these “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 persons: 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, the Risen Christ makes the great announcement of the 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).[3]

What does it mean for our leaders?

It has got a very deep meaning, 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, I remember 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 scoutism at a political and social level?

At a social level, the Eurojam confronts us with a problem which reclaims 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 which are in contrast with the spirit of international fraternity requested by scouting. The analysis of political ideas, thoughts and proposals is an obligation for every scout. If, on the one hand, everything which is currently defined to rank among the political left tends to deny any personal, national and European identity, on the other hand, everything which is defined as political right tends to raise the national identity above fraternal dialogue so that this identity becomes too big and obscures the objective of the scout movement.

The Eurojam gave the youth the opportunity to experience that, in order to build peace, we must keep in dialogue with each other, stay with the 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 encounter permits understanding and dialogue; exchanges among different cultures, common camps at a European level, not only events like the Eurojam, but each year we should plan an international camp. There is no other means for appreciating oneself, one’s own identity, but also the national and European identity, than concrete encounter.

Why does our youth (including our leaders) have difficulty living the sacraments and why is the Mass is also often considered as not very important?

As a Catholic movement, we have a big temptation to call us Catholics instead of being it 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 living the faith in God in His Church. We need a fundamental and deep catechesis. Our movement can’t simply be satisfied with the catechesis at school. We have to find our catechesis model during our activities. We also have to re-think our leaders’ formation. Dear leaders, I invite you to participate in spiritual exercises. You need them. So do I.

Thank you!

Pattuglia Europa – Associazione Italiana


[1] This interview was done during the Eurojam 2014 with Loriana Pison, Pattuglia Europa – Associazione Italiana. After the Eurojam, father Bogusław Migut completed his oral explanations. This text is a synthesis of the oral interview and of the further complements added by father Migut.

[2] CCC 1427-1428. (31.10.2014).

[3] Don Diego Facchetti: Introduzione alla spiritualità. (30.10.2014).

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