From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Reverence for God is basic to living the Scout Law

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 20, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

The point of the Scout Law mentioned last is Reverent. Sometimes it seems to be omitted in the thinking of Scouts and adult leaders. So let us treat it now as though it were first and foremost.

A Scout is reverent toward God — that is, he has the extra respect which is due to God. Praying, religious studies, attending church, keeping the Commandments, living by the Gospel are parts of this respect.

The way we use God’s name is important. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” says the Second Commandment. “In vain” means irreverent. None of us would like our own name to be used without respect. And it seems that using God’s name without respect is often a thoughtless act, a bad habit, an expression of anger or disappointment.

It can also be mere showing off. Suppose everybody treated God’s name with as much respect as he or she would show to the name of a best friend.

Then there is the odd practice of the prayer in reverse, the curse. If I am so provoked with someone that instead of praying for the person I ask God to consign him or her to hell, I not only offend that person but I tinker with the way God deals with his human creatures. Surely that is violation of reverence.

Far worse in the abuse of God’s name is the sin of blasphemy, the worst of sins because it is the direct act of hating God, defying God, and otherwise becoming an enemy of God.

Reverent use of God’s name
Far from blasphemy but still a form of irreverence is the complete neglect of God’s name. If we never say the name of God except in church or when we kneel in prayer at bedtime, something is missing. Since Sept. 11 the hymn “God Bless Amerca” is often sung at public gatherings. The farewell word, Good-bye, is said to come from “God be with you” and the Spanish farewell adios comes from “Go to God.”

In a training course at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico we were not allowed to enter the dining hall for a meal until a Scout with a cowboy hat recited the Philmont Grace: “For food, for raiment, for life, for opportunity, for friendship and fellowship, we thank thee, O Lord.”

While a cousin of mine in Ireland was still living, she inserted “TG” here and there in the letters she wrote, and it took me a while to understand TG to mean “Thank God.”

Maybe life in heaven, where reverence is acted out in the presence and love of God, the reverence will be less formal, more like the relationship of parent and child, less serious perhaps, more joyous.

In their fun and goodness, their adventure and close connection with God’s creation, Scouts may someday develop a reverence closer to the heavenly kind.

Coming events
  • Bishop’s Recognition Day, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002, 2 p.m. Bishop Skylstad will confer religious emblems on Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Boys and Girls.
  • Catholic Camporee, Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Sept. 6-8, 2002.
For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, 221 E. Rockwood Blvd., Apt. 308, Spokane, WA 99207-1200; phone (509) 458-7674; or Joe Schmitz, chairperson, Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 400 S. Jefferson, Suite 112, Spokane, WA 99204; (509) 747-7499.

Click here for the web site of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting!

(Father Tully is the Spokane Diocese's Scout chaplain and former editor of the Inland Register.)

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