"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Fire of Joan of Arc

The Fire of Joan of Arc

Walter Adams 

As I have traveled over the mountains and onto the plains, across the rivers, and through the valleys on the astonishing Freedom Dance along the trail of the Dogmatic Creed of Roman Catholicism, experienced specifically as the rich, colorful, mystical pathway to destiny through the ancient Tradition of True Devotion to Mary, I have been led to a place where I have caught what I believe to be a glimpse of why the first apostles left their fishing nets, walked straight way from their fathers and places of work,[1] why they and others over the centuries would offer themselves as martyrs, and why beautiful saints such as St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, would give up any hope of earthly gain to enter a convent for life.  

I have seen a view from the broad, peaceful plain leading upward to the City of God that would, in my mind anyway, explain why St. Francis of Assisi would embrace Lady Poverty and walk in contempt of worldly desire in order to see creation through a different eye glass. I have caught, I believe further, even the smallest glimpse of why Joan of Arc would surrender to death in the fire of men’s hatred, jealously, and worldly envy rather than to betray the mission given her by her Voices from heaven.
What I have seen is Hope, Catholic Hope. I have caught sight of the force that drove the saints to move with clarity and purpose, untiringly, with hearts full of love to a place they had not seen but that they knew was their final destiny and home. I have been shown by my heaven sent companions on this journey why it is that Catholicism is so attractive, why it is that the “worldly” life of power, wealth, and comfort becomes meaningless, and why all else pales when compared to the promises mentioned by St. Paul:
“But it is as scripture says: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him.”[2]

Mont saint michel 3.jpg

It is this discovery of an alternative world view and the life-changing perspective this view has given me as the result of my journey beyond The Freedom Dance, into the land of hope, that will be the thesis of this book. I want to tell you where the Freedom Dance has led me and what it is that I see. You might wish to come and look for yourself.
Not that I have seen this magnificent place with the clarity of the saints, nor that I have anything other than the most meager of natural abilities to make any sense of it. If I were to try to act as if I had the strength of soul of Joan of Arc or the vision and faith of St. Thérèse as I run toward it, I would only embarrass myself greatly and fall humiliatingly down a very steep ravine, leaving myself helpless and calling out in despair. No, I am a simple man, with many a notable failure in both the material and spiritual life, a weak and inconstant sinner whose only reasonably mentionable merit is that he at least desires to follow these souls, however haltingly and stubbornly, to the land they are calling him.
This is what it means to me to imitate the saints, as the Church tells us we should do, that we should follow their examples as shining lights in the darkness, souls who have passed through the glorious gates leading into the City of God, even though we ourselves are untrustworthy and corrupt stewards of the graces we receive on the journey.
“Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself.”[3]

France Catholique cloud 2

And with all of my faults and no more than this desire, this love for the journey and the friends who guide me, the great and merciful Lord Jesus Christ, savior of the human race, with his most worthy Mother Mary have allowed me to see at least a reflection of the promise in the spring waters along the joyous and wonder-filled trail of the Dogmatic Creed:
“Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now, I can only know imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known.”[4]
Like a child I peer into the waters and see the reflection of heaven that cannot be seen in the murky water of secular living or through the dark clouds of alternative philosophies and belief systems ruling so many souls in this life. Others tell me of how they are gods, how they are manifesting material wealth, or how they can manipulate either the forces of nature through science or the forces of the spiritual world through Eastern New Age occultism to bring them ultimate happiness. I simply turn around and stare back into the clear waters of Catholicism, scan the horizon of the mysterious but beautiful landscape of Dogma and the Creed, and I keep running along with my saintly friends. Nothing compares to what I see through the Traditions, Scriptures, Dogma, and Creeds of the two-thousand year old Catholic Church, founded at a point in historical time by Jesus Christ himself, true man and true God.
And this is all it takes, I have discovered, to see the outlines of this beautiful land, that is, the desire to follow the will of God in obedience to the path of our Fathers in the Faith on the trail of the Dogmatic Creed of Roman Catholicism, and in fellowship with the heavenly family that makes up the whole Church. The Lord has blessed us with a family, a community, indeed, as the Church calls it, a communion of saints, brothers, and sisters to help us on our journey. It is, in fact, a kingdom.

Our Lady of the Sign

We seek the fellowship of family and friends on earth, and by God’s grace, we have the fellowship of friends and family in heaven. To walk with this family and to desire that which this family desires, to want to go to the land where this family is going, and to conform one’s life to the norms of this family, that is what is required. We can come with all of our weaknesses and sins, hoping to be transformed on the journey, where we look to Jesus Christ, true man and true God, as our savior, his Mother as our mother, and the rest of the saints as role models, friends, and defenders.
This book is about Hope, the March of Hope, which is for me, anyway, something I call The March of Joan of Arc. St. Joan of Arc with my saintly sister Thérèse of Lisieux have been true God-sends in my life to lead me more deeply into the mystery of True Devotion to Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort, that place of destiny I described reaching in The Freedom Dance and the mysterious land beyond the great gateway into Catholicism about which I cannot wait to speak to you next.
[1] See Mathew 4:18-22
[2] 1 Corinthians 2:9 (New Jerusalem)
[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, paragraph 957.
[4] 1 Corinthians 13:12 (New Jerusalem)

This post is an excerpt from my book Seek First the Kingdom – The March of Hope. Click above for a paperback version. Click here for Kindle.

The Fire of Joan of Arc
I was wondering one day
Why Joan of Arc’s end, so cruelly stark
Formed with her fire,
Such mystical light out of dark
She did everything asked of her,
She did nothing wrong,
That is my opinion of her
Life and its song
She freed her
Countrymen and king
She was an astounding
Figure of history
Brave and faithful,
Selfless and kind,
She was in everyway
True to her calling divine
Yet, dear Joan met only
Thanklessness and betrayal,
She died amongst hatred
And I wondered why that day…
I ponder these things when
I don’t have much to do,
As was the case that day
Sitting with Mary, too
Why Mother Mary?
What is the meaning?
Of dear Joan of Arc’s life
And the fire at its ending?
Mary opened an image before me,
The devil himself was prosecuting
Before my last judgment day jury
I watched with obvious interest
My lips pursed in fear
The devil was laughing and
Making his point clear
He roared to the jury
That my judgment would be,
The one time he
Would not have to lie
Cheat or steal,
For he would have nothing
He really needed to tell
For my own deeds
Condemn me from the roof!
Yes, this is one time even he
Could tell the truth
Do you see my dilemma?
The thing I suddenly knew?
Joan, like the Savior, died unjustly,
I only gave the devil his due
My question
Had been poorly framed,
I was seeking to know why
Only to point blame
The real question was when…
When would I
Be brave enough to bear,
Suffering in unity
With those I hold dear?
The real question thought through,
Is could I die that way too?
I saw in the humiliation
Of my own life selfishly spent,
That Joan followed Him asking
Not why, but when
When would she reach,
The end of her dream?
And die just out of love
For our King and our Queen!