“Youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism!”

December 11, 2019

By John Paul Tomba

“He who hasn’t given everything, hasn’t given anything!”     “It is better to be an eagle for a minute, than a toad for a lifetime!”

     Young men shouted out these statements from atop a cliff overlooking the grand White River valley. Seemingly on top of the world, they proclaimed their enthusiasm for the Catholic Faith and the ideals of Chivalry.
This episode was part of the 2019 Call to Chivalry Fall Camp at the White Buffalo Resort near Mountain Home, Arkansas, on November 21 – 26. In the rugged hills of the Ozarks, the resort’s rustic yet inviting accommodations lie on the banks at the junction of the Buffalo and White Rivers.
     The Camp is a project of Tradition, Family, Property – Louisiana. It’s well-trained members gave talks about the Catholic Faith and the heroes who defended Holy Mother Church in her time of need. The young participants heard about Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor who defended the Faith and the pope. They also learned about Saint John Bosco with his spirited use of the pen and his apostolate among the youth. Another saint and hero was Blessed Pius IX who fought against the errors of his day by proclaiming the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
     There were also opportunities for camaraderie and lively activity. On one night, the lads gathered around a bonfire to enjoy hot chocolate, camp-classic s’mores, and lively conversations. They played challenging games such as shield-ball and Australian dodgeball. The boys also participated in mock battles with padded swords, shields and even bows and arrows. And yes, the arrows are padded – imagine a flying marshmallow. Across the river, a cliff majestically rises crowned by a cross. How could anyone not want to climb there? What about a group of energetic young men eager for adventure? And climb they did.
     Ferried across the river by boats, the lads made their way to the top, singing patriotic songs and hymns along the way. Once on top, all prayed the rosary, asking the Blessed Mother to protect and guide America in these turbulent and uncertain times.  Right before the rosary, a magnificent bald eagle flew by the boys at eye level only yards away! As the boys began their descent singing “We’re knights of Mary,” it returned in a similar manner, as if to see the boys off. How awesome it was to see this American symbol as these young boys prayed for their country and sang their enthusiasm for chivalry.
     Another highlight was the rosary rally in defense of the unborn. Putting what they learned into practice, the young men took to the public square holding signs like “Honk against Abortion,” “Smile: You Survived Abortion” and “Defend the Most Defenseless.” Everyone passing by the busy highway in the nearby town saw those young faces so eagerly standing up for what’s right. And the reception from the public did not let the boys down.
     The end came, medieval style. Two teams of lads processed onto the field led by the American, Papal and TFP flags. They were escorted by the rousing sounds of pipes and drums. Like the cold wind, the medieval games were intense: dodgeball, shield-ball, sword battles, tug-o-war and others.
     After a day of great deeds, all gave thanks and praise to the Blessed Mother in a torch lit rosary procession with a large statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Awaiting them was a magnificent banquet. Venison, wild hog, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce were just part of the selection eagerly devoured by the voracious participants. A magnificent chocolate cake graced with the Papal coat of arms came into the banquet hall to the sounds of the bagpipes. TFP-Texas member Cesar Franco gave some paring words to the lads, explaining and emphasizing the need to be men of honor and fidelity, imitating the saints. For the boys to remember their time at the camp and the graces they received, each received a memento: a handmade wooden plaque engraved with an image of Saint Paul.
     These young men are entering into a world that will challenge them spiritually and mentally. As an old and wise monsignor once said, “We are not born on a playground, but a battleground.”
     They will need to be heroic knights of Our Lady. Judging from the enthusiasm these and other young men have for the ideals of chivalry and the Catholic Faith, Our Lady will not be disappointed by their response. The memento and the image of Saint Paul call to mind his words to Saint Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Saint Paul would be overjoyed hearing the young men of the Call to Chivalry camp shout, “Youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism!”

Previous post: