You present yourself to the Road, but do you know how the Road presents itself to you?
The buck is passed to the candidate. The leader recognises his request, but he also wants to know if this request is founded and realistic. In this sentence, the “road” refers to a Rover Scout’s life. Thus, the leader asks you if you have enough experience and if your rucksack contains enough tools to live as a Rover Scout. In other terms: and you, do you think that you are ready to go ahead on this road?
Our life is rather unpredictable; we are often facing situations well beyond our possibilities. Reality is before us and we have to cope with it. In life, we have to give the best possible answer, rather than to manipulate reality with our imagination. The one who doesn’t understand this will not be able to know how the road will present itself to him, but he idealises and, sooner or later, he will hurt a wall or take a “dead-end”. You will have to avoid this tragedy.
It reminds us Jesus’ parable in Lk 14,28-30: “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish’.”
The most important tools that you need in your rucksack for the rest of your Rover life are the daily Road Hours, the regular conversations with a more experienced Rover and with a religious adviser. These three tools will enable you to go very deep into your heart. They will enable you to take the good decisions, so that the life of God may blossom in you and, with the grace of God, that you may win the spiritual battle.
First tool: the religious adviser
The religious adviser, like a father, will help you keep the goal of your road in front of your eyes: the House of the Father. He will try to discern how the Holy Spirit develops God’s life in you. He will pray for you, will listen to you, will encourage you and will share his ideas with you. It is not so easy to do everything and to take decisions on your own. Furthermore, you will not have enough experience to overcome your specific difficulties, otherwise they would not be difficulties any longer. Apart from that, as for everybody, there will also be some blind spots with possible banana skins.
The religious adviser will help you build on the rock. If there are storms, or if it rains a lot, everything will not be destroyed and carried away. Of course, nobody became saint without a religious adviser. As a matter of fact, God uses your religious adviser to talk to you; if you obey him and if you remain faithful to his advice, your heart will open more to God himself. In business world too, coaches and mentors are quite normal, they come from the centuries-old tradition of Christian experience in the Western world. So, for your own project of life, which is much more important as a whole, wouldn’t you choose a (free of charge) adviser?
Choose someone, preferably a priest or a religious, who is prudent, fraternal as well as paternal, and who is experienced. After all, spiritual direction is an art. If you find a good artist guided by the Holy Spirit, you will avoid traps, overcome difficulties and you will more and more live in the depth of your heart, where God talks to you. Then, you will discover inner freedom and peace.
Second tool: the daily Road Hour
Rover life is sometimes compared to the pilgrimage to Santiago. It is a long journey and it consists of daily steps. Every day, the pilgrim stops beside the road and takes notes. He checks if he is still on the right way. Going further, he discovers aspects of himself on which he wants to think. He takes decisions and goes forward. He checks and follows his previous decisions. The daily Road Hour, a second tool in your rucksack, plays a similar role.
For most of us, life goes very quickly; we must often correct the direction. The point is to balance ones’ activities, to go beyond one’s personal limits, to improve one’s personality, to reinforce one’s weak points. Not alone, but relying on a heart to heart conversation with the Lord, who is the goal of our road. This is the exact purpose of the Road Hour. It is a daily moment of silence, meditation and prayer. For instance, you could meditate the gospel of the day and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. You could pray a decade of the Rosary. You could read some pages of a spiritual book, or a chapter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Preferably, you will discuss of this with your religious adviser and, with him you will determine the time to dedicate to it every day.
It is important to form your intelligence and to allow the ideas to penetrate into your heart. They must purify your spirit and your heart from all that distracts you on the road towards the house of the Father. You will have to take a real care of the Road Hours so that they may have a maximum of impact and lead your life in the right direction. Some question may bubble up, some question may need an answer and some preoccupations must at least be expressed. Finally, the Road Hour must lead you to something concrete, to take some decisions or realistic resolutions for the day. They can be small things that you will do or precisely will not do. This is why the morning is usually the best moment for the Road Hour. It must become a habit. Thus, you will learn how to struggle with focus.
Third tool: the rover godfather
We are brothers and sisters only when we have the same father and mother. So, the second article of the Scout Law can be achieved only if we recognise that we have the same parents, so we must also be sons. This is what the third scout principle: a scout is son of Christendom. Consequently, a European Scout is Christian and recognises God as his Father. God revealed himself to us totally in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our prime brother, an elder brother. He has two specific actions. First, He shows us the way to the house of the Father as we sing in the Rovers’ prayer. For this, you are helped by the religious adviser. Then, shoulder to shoulder, He struggles with us to reach the house of the Father. Finally, it is the way of love to the end, and it may be costly. It is brotherhood, which is different from friendship, as we know thanks to the fourth article of the Scout Law: a scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other scout. A Rover godfather is a slightly older rover who is a brother on your way in the name of Jesus.
The first article of the Scout Law says that a scout’s honour is to be trusted. From the moment of your promise, your honour has been to be faithful to your given word. After all, trust is based on this. The promise is a given word and thus we come full circle. You promise to keep your promise as a promise, and here is your honour. And not only yours but the one of your scout brothers.
We are all in the same boat, so we are all aiming at the same ideal. We share this ideal, we are eager to reach it and we want to realise it together. We agree on the direction. We are brothers because we are sons of Christendom and we want to go towards the same house of the Father. A Rover godfather is a brother who struggles with you, shoulder to shoulder, so that your heart may become the one of a Rover Scout.
Father Servaas Bosch
(to be followed)