This essay is an excerpt from my book The Dove and Rose. Click above for a paperback version. Click here for Kindle.
I cannot express with enough sincerity how edified I am to be reading through St. Thérèse’s script for her play on the life of Joan of Arc, one of eight plays she wrote on various subject matters. This work exceeds my expectations (which I typically set astonishingly low, even in matters of faith) in that our Little Flower, yet great Doctor of the Church, has interpreted her own life and spirituality in the historical person of Joan. Joan of Arc speaks true to her historical perspective, but we hear Thérèse’s voice. This is a most uplifting experience. And as a relevant aside, and lest one question the Carmelite nun’s affection for and familiarity with Sacred Scripture, there are over 270 biblical references (either explicit or implicit) through all eight of her works. Thérèse was imbued with the Sacred Writings.
Thérèse considered herself a kindred spirit with Joan of Arc. I did not realize fully the intensity of this kinship until reading in the Forward to the play (written by a modern day Carmelite) that “…the discovery of Joan of Arc affected her deeply; a ‘grace which I have always looked upon as one of the greatest in my life’ she would recall in 1895.” Now, that got my attention, for I have considered the discovery of both Thérèse and Joan to be among the very greatest of gifts that Our Lord and Our Lady have ever bestowed on me. Certainly, Joan of Arc has had a similar relative impact on me, and it warmed my heart to hear Thérèse speak in such a way. I say relative impact because, in absolute terms, there is the difference between me and Thérèse that exists between the space just outside the gates of hell and heaven itself. One of her confessors stated that he believed that she had committed no mortal sin in her life. There is not one confessor of mine who would speak the same way about me, this I can assure you. But, nevertheless, Joan’s enormous influence on me, though as on a caterpillar in a flowerbed filled with butterflies, led me to feel deep appreciation for Thérèse’s own experience.
And the very thing that so lifts my heart is this combination of the two. I have for quite a while sought to understand the two saints as different sides of the same coin. Joan being the valiant and brave warrior for the King of Kings, willing to suffer a martyr’s death rather than betray Our Lord’s mission, while Thérèse is the soft, loving flower who unites herself with Jesus, not through fire, but through the suffering of Love, as she herself puts it.
However, the more I study these souls, whom I hold in such admiration, I sense that my metaphor is not only overly used but also very inadequate. There is truly a unity of spirit between them, more like the amalgamating of precious metals. Both of them died willingly in great suffering out of their love for Jesus. Both fought the good fight with unimaginable courage, Joan through death at the stake, Thérèse through bitter illness. Both have demonstrated to me the life of a true Christian, a true lover of Jesus Christ. Hearing (in the spirit) Thérèse’s words in Joan of Arc’s voice is like watching Jesus paint something more beautiful than the Sistine Chapel, create music more life-giving than Mozart’s Jupiter symphony or Beethoven’s Ninth, or write a poem that leaps into your heart before you have the chance to ruin it with your brain. It is this amalgam of souls, this painting, music, and poetry of Our Lord’s that has made me a better person.
The brush strokes, melodies, and poetic images that are Thérèse and Joan make me feel small as a Christian when I am near them. I simply do not match up, and that is all there is to it. I am a caterpillar crawling through a flower bed of roses. But they make me want to fly despite the crudeness of my ways. And that is, I believe, why the Lord and Our Lady have established them so firmly in my heart. They all want me to keep crawling until one day I fly too. I can think of no better mentors, sisters, or examples.
You may think I exaggerate the affection I have, but, on the contrary, I do not really have the words to express it adequately. I have no courage on my own, but because of these two, I wonder if maybe one day I might. And I think Jesus smiles at that. I feel small but think of great things with Our Lord. And I think He smiles at that, also. I want to take in the painting, hear the symphony, and absorb the poem, despite my awkwardness and “buggy” characteristics. I think, too, that this is what Jesus wants for me. For, these two, separately and combined, are Jesus’ own work of art.
The following is just one excerpt that speaks to my point:
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 Freedom Dance continues merrily on…
Imagine my astonishment
When the Queen announced
Through my saintly sister Thérèse
That Joan of Arc was to the fore…
The Dance of Freedom was to continue on
The trail of the Dogmatic Creed
Faith had not yet animated me
Joan of Arc was the chosen guide
On the path of the Dogmatic Creed next
No one can see the Kingdom
Without Hope that forms our desire
“Joan of Arc will lead you”
Spoke my saintly sister Thérèse
“To a new world view”
“Your actions belie your words of faith!”
“Joan of Arc acts
According to her faith”
“She is no practical non-believer!”
Saintly Thérèse smiled with eyes dancing
“Unlike her, brother,
You honor God only with lips!”
“You hope in yourself” Thérèse continued
“While whispering faith in God”
“You cannot see the Kingdom
With your old point of view”
“Joan of Arc will show you
The glorious new world view
That will animate you with love
And create the appropriate desire in you”
We climbed a mountain with Joan of Arc
She pointed to a panorama below
I heard the thunder of God clapping
Bringing rhythm and reason to creation
Joan of Arc, to whom we are so devoted
Smiled at us, while singing
“God created heaven and earth
Clapping one day, two days, three and more”
“While God was clapping, music was heard!”
Cried our Maid, whom Thérèse and I so enjoy
“One day, two days, three and more
Logical beauty, reason, and rhythm!”
“God created both Reason and Rhythm!”
She cried, “It all has a purpose!”
“The order of nature is reason and beauty”
“The mystery of rhythm is the artwork of God!”
My heart was leaping!
A lesson in Hope!
That God’s first words convey the wisdom
Of purpose and unity both!
Hushing noisy philosophers aside
With Joan of Arc as my guide
I watched the beauty unfold
I let God explain his point of view
I have always wished
That beauty had meaning
I had always missed the point
Of the creation story
Joan of Arc!
With my saintly sister Thérèse
Had brought me to my first juncture in Hope
The meaning of creation – my world view is changing!
I have the most remarkable claim to make to you in this book. On the heels of The Freedom Dance, the story conveyed in my previous book Journey to Christendom – The Freedom Dance where I spoke of the marvelous journey of conversion out of the Dark Forest of the revolutionary, rebellious, atheistic, and New Age modern mind with its associated culture of death and mental illness toward real freedom and life on the path of the Dogmatic Creed of Roman Catholicism, I have been led to a land of the highest value, a panoramic view that elevates one beyond joy, a place for which you would sell all you have to obtain, in fact, a destination that, if you truly grasp it, you will want to give your life to secure it.
I did not create this place, nor did I construct it through the philosophical musings of my own mind. It is objectively very real. I have been led to it through over twenty-four years of consecration to Mary, the Mother of God, and by my heavenly friends, particularly my devoted Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and the magnificent St. Joan of Arc. I received the promise of it during my conversion to Catholicism at the hands of the Virgin Mary in 1984.
The Freedom Dance led me from the smoke filled forest of anarchy in the modern world to the great walls of the castle that is the Catholic Church. Having now passed beyond the mighty gates of that castle, this journey has led me through beautiful, colorful, sunlit fields to a mountain top, and I simply must tell you what I see over its ridge and how it is that I came to see it. I must tell you about a kingdom over there, the ultimate destination of the journey hence, so to speak, on The Freedom Dance. Climbing this mountain, which is on that other side of the Catholic gateway, has been a purposeful march, something I call the “The March of Hope”, or, “The March of Joan of Arc” as I state above in the Introduction. This March is the story of what happened next, after I entered into the mystical and life-giving land of Catholicism and what has brought me to the place with such a magnificent view.
I am to be likened to a man, if you can imagine for a moment, who has followed the giant footsteps of several saintly souls destined by God to guide him on a path through a marvelous and beautiful land, to the top of a heavenly mountain, overlooking a magnificent vista of rivers, lakes, meadows, tall mountains distant, and deep echoing valleys between. The path of faith he follows obediently with them, as I pointed out in my previous book, is the Dogma of the Roman Catholic Church; the breathtaking kingdom in the distance is the mystical body of Christ, that is, the Kingdom of God. The footprints he leaps into, one by one, with his desire to reach the kingdom represent his hope. Those steps are the “March of Hope” about which I will speak in this book. This book will document in some rough manner the key junctures I have passed once inside the borders of Catholicism, those key milestones that have led me to this breathtaking view. If The Freedom Dance is the story of a journey from a dark forest to the giant gates at the castle walls of Catholicism, then the March of Hope is the story of the ensuing journey inside that land toward God’s Kingdom.
This man we are imagining now peers through the mist and into the sunlight showering down on the grassy plains below. Suddenly, astonishingly, he comes to an understanding of what it is that he sees; he turns to his saintly friends, the ones who have shown him the way, for he is incapable of finding it himself, and they smile at him; their eyes are dancing with life and happiness; in fact, their entire demeanor approaches that of joyous laughter. Below is the land where they have been leading him. Below is the treasure, the goal for which he began searching over two decades previously when The Freedom Dance on the trail of the Dogmatic Creed began. He was promised back then that he could go to this destination and enjoy its life; he was even given these lovely friends to guide him. Even still he has failed to stay close at times; he was, over the years, often found roaming the dark woods lost and alone, having taken his eyes off of the path to chase shamefully after the worldly sirens of the dark and thereby periodically releasing his grip from those heavenly hands taking hold of him. But with all of this in account, he is at last now standing there, looking at the next stage in the journey. And with what he is viewing and soaking in, the entire Freedom Dance becomes worth every single struggle, pain, loss, and cross to get there.
Now imagine that you are also traveling, and you suddenly spot our man crashing through the brushy and forested land to greet you, and, breathlessly, he points toward the great land, panting and gasping for air, and he exclaims to you, “You must see this! I have been shown the land that we seek, the land of milk and honey, the land where life is what we hope for, where the answer to all of mankind’s problems are to be found! Wars would stop, the hungry would be fed, justice ruled by peace and mercy would envelop the spirits and souls of humankind if they were to venture there! Yet, if you prefer still to follow your own paths with your own man-made philosophies, if you choose to desire your own will to that of the Dogmatic Creed, then I must bid you farewell and best well wishes. For, I will seek no other land than that which the trail of the Dogmatic Creed has led me. I will seek after no other treasure, no other food than that on which I have been fed. But I am here to tell you that the land we seek, that is paradise here as far as we can know it, with the promise of paradise after, is over that mountain, and I shall give my life to reach it!”
That is what I am doing in this book. I am telling everyone who cares to read this little writing what I have discovered next coming from The Freedom Dance, the promise that has been set before my heart and spirit. I am here to tell you what it is that I have come to desire and where that desire has led me. I am here to speak of Catholic Hope. And this hope has come to be more than I ever imagined; it is paradise. I want to tell you what it is and where to find it, the exact thing about which I speak. I am panting and pointing, a man who previously in life had spent far more time lost in the woods than in the sunlight, a man who had not a clue what he was doing, but a man who, by following in the fellowship of his heavenly helpers has seen what it is for which he is now prepared to sacrifice his life. For, true fulfillment and joy come not in understanding how to live; they come from seeking that for which we would die. Because that for which we would die is that in which we truly hope.
We see this principle clearly in our everyday life. We can hold to all sorts of beautiful sounding beliefs and philosophies in our intellect while governing our lives by objectives that are incongruent with our beliefs. We can say that we believe God exists, yet act very concretely as if he does not. This is called practical atheism, and the vast majority of humankind act this way in our modern world. We claim that God is number one in our lives, but we work ourselves into a frenzy trying to make ourselves into gods. We might have faith in God, but we hope in ourselves. Thus, we live frustrated lives of desperation and wearisome worry in complete incongruity to our beliefs. In other words, our faith has not animated us sufficiently; our desires remain in this world and in ourselves even if our minds reach for God.
We are killing ourselves for something every day. We do hope in one thing or another even if this hope is not articulated or even entirely conscience. We are giving our life to something at all times. There is always something, somebody, some cause for which we spend our energy and health, indeed, even if it practically kills us. We work late, get little sleep, and eat poorly, even though this is terribly unhealthy, because we must advance in our careers. Despite our faith in God, we are placing our hope in what this career advancement will bring to us. We crave the promises of God’s peace while anxiously salivating over the newest model luxury car in pure envy of our neighbor. Despite our faith in God, we hope in what that car can bring to us.
What happens when we align our hope with our faith? What happens when we have faith in God and place our hope in what he can bring to us? What happens when we not only have faith in God, but we also hope in God? When we are willing to kill ourselves seeking after God’s objectives, then we are hoping in God. When we are ready to die for God’s purpose, then we are living in God’s hope. We have stopped being practical atheists who speak only intellectually of a belief in God. We are beginning to act with integrity to our beliefs; the acts of our free will are consistent with our faith. We are becoming joyful and at peace. Our hearts are hoping in what God desires for us. We are approaching paradise. We begin to desire heaven.
The astounding saint Joan of Arc, to whom I am so devoted, and who is my leader on this next phase of the journey, the March of Hope, has taught me through her own life and cruel death that while I have much for which to live, I have even more for which to die. This is the awe-inspiring hope about which I speak, the hope that is the place where The Freedom Dance leads. With my ever devoted sister St. Thérèse, Joan of Arc and the other heaven sent companions are pointing me to the paradise that all of mankind seeks.
What I will not do here, as I describe this next phase of my journey, is to conform for you the teachings of the Catholic Church so as to make them more acceptable to you. There will be no attempt to make Catholicism “ok” for the path you are already on. I will not attempt to speak small of the saints, particularly of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, so as to not trouble the Protestant readers. I will not gush forth with religious relativism, congratulating each world religion for being an equally good path to God so as to not stall with those of non-Christian belief, no, I am going to speak of why it is that I am so star struck and edified by the complete and dogmatic spiritual path of Catholicism with every saint, creed, Pope, and sacrament in it!
Conversely, and using a more negative paradigm for making my point, I am going to tell you why it is that even with evil unfortunately operating and intruding upon this great land, while keeping others away, cannot make me leave. For, even with evil making sorties into the land, to leave would prevent me from reaching the land of Catholic Hope, this place for which I will sacrifice my life. No, it cannot be reached through any religion or philosophy of your choosing. You will find that it is a very Catholic place. But whatever your religious and philosophical predilection, I want to tell you about this March of Hope.
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
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!
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, 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
While watching The Force Awakens on the front row of a huge IMAX super screen theater in a chair that shook with every blast from a starship, I did not make the connection. I was on sensory overload. However, contemplating the movie afterward in the quiet of my own study, I did find myself quite enthusiastic about Rey, the new Star Wars heroine, and, importantly, I was able to understand why. Rey reminded me of….
Something seemed virtuous about Rey, even noble. She fought for good over the “Dark Side” of The Force. She had a certain innocence matched only by her shrewd toughness.
Rey was driven by a higher cause; she sought the restoration of a mystical Jedi Kingdom. She sought her king of sorts in the form of the legendary Master Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Rey became the one person who could bring about the kingdom’s restoration if only she could restore her Master King.
Rey was good, virtuous, and very focused on her destiny as it was revealed to her.
Now, I know why I was so enthused by Rey. She vaguely reminded me of Joan of Arc, our heroine, who lived a long time ago in our galaxy far, far away from Rey’s.
In a very simplistic review, I will share with you how I saw this relationship. Below I will list a few features about Rey that connect in my eyes with my patroness, little mother, and holy sister Joan of Arc:
Rey was a simple young lady living on an out-of-the-way planet in a war torn galaxy.
One afternoon Rey stumbled upon a visitor that held the secret to her destiny.
Rey eventually perceived her destiny in a mysterious, mystical vision.
Rey was imbued with The Force, which showed itself to be surprisingly strong in her at such a young age.
Rey knew almost immediately how to use the key Jedi weapon, a light saber, with astonishing ease.
Rey became the primary target of The Dark Side; the First Order knew that she was the key to the resurrection of the Jedi kingdom, something they had to prevent.
Rey was captured and held captive by the Dark Side, facing and then defeating therein overwhelming spiritual assaults by the forces of evil.
Rey emerged victoriously to find her king and Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker, whereby she returned to him his legendary light saber, effectively anointing and restoring him to his rightful place in the order of things.
If you see the comparison now between Rey and Joan of Arc, well and good. However, I will give a brief synopsis.
Joan was a young maiden from an out-of-the-way village in war torn France. At the age of 12, Joan stumbled upon a visitor, St. Michael the Archangel, who introduced her to her destiny. St. Michael, along with St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch, confirmed Joan in her destiny through numerous visions. Joan was imbued with great graces which were manifest in her strong piety and charity already at such a young age. She showed herself to be very adept at handling weapons and horses of war even though she had no background in such things. Joan was on a mission to rebuild and restore the relationship between the mystical Kingdom of Heaven and the earthly Kingdom of France by leading Charles VII to Rheims to be anointed as the rightful King. Joan was later captured and endured much at the hands of evil forces while in captivity.
So, there you have it. A simple comparison, yet one that inspires me so far as I know the character of Rey. Who knows what will happen in future episodes? It is not likely that the character’s creators had Joan of Arc as their own source of inspiration. No doubt the comparison I am making is biased. Joan of Arc is such an inspiration to me that I have a tendency to see the world through her eyes.
And that is a tendency that fills me with great joy and one for which I refuse to apologize.
May The Force…. I mean… may the Grace of God be with you.
“Saint Joan and Saint Thérèse, together they are the most beautiful color in the heavens.”
This is a motto of mine that describes my feelings about both of these saints individually as well as in their blended spiritual kinship. I love and propagate devotion both to St. Joan and St. Thérèse as well as to St. Joan with St. Thérèse. Each saint is individually her own remarkable and unique color imbued in the magnificent, metaphorical spiritual landscape that is the Kingdom of God; yet, together their souls create a colorful collage of even more astonishing beauty.
We could aptly extend this metaphor of the Kingdom to say that they are like flowers in that same landscape, each with individual brilliance; yet, together they form a set of blossoms that dazzles even more wonderfully our spiritual senses. Furthermore, as we raise our eyes, we see that this bed of flowers is itself part of a larger, unified ensemble of trees, meadows, lakes, rivers, hills, and mountains comprising that one landscape. If we are able to contemplate this scene as one who stands quietly on a hilltop overseeing this remarkably edifying panorama, we will then begin to appreciate God’s work of supernatural art that is the spirituality of Sts. Joan and Thérèse.
We also begin, in this contemplative image, to be enlightened as to the substance of their spirituality, both individually and as an amalgam of two souls. For individual spirituality, as presented in this metaphor whereby individual elements make up one beautiful landscape, receives its beauty and grandeur from the ground in which it is planted or established. Flowers only grow to perfection in the right soil with the right sunlight and the right amount of fresh water. A river only looks masterfully rich and powerful in the right location. Meadows only receive a pristine elegance in the context of their surroundings made of lakes, forests, and mountains. Just so, Sts. Joan and Thérèse lift our souls to heavenly heights with their spiritual beauty by being uniquely inspiring within their combined, authentic context that elevates the dignity of the larger picture.
It is the latter point that is so often misunderstood or even ignored when contemplating these two great saints. To be beautiful in oneself is one thing, but to actually have that beauty be appropriately proportional to an even higher principle representing a unified wholeness of all parts is to reach perfection. Our spiritual perfection cannot be attained in a vacuum. By the very nature of what it means to be perfect, our spirituality must, while retaining our individuality, be moved outward from ourselves toward the authentic whole. Being a beautiful flower is wonderful. Being a beautiful flower in a meadow which sits by a rushing river with majestic mountains in the distance is perfection.
St. Thérèse herself spoke of how Jesus taught her this very thing. He opened her spiritual eyes through the mystery of nature to observe how not every soul in the metaphoric landscape of His Kingdom is created equally to be a mountain, or an oak tree, or even a fragrant rose. Each soul is created differently and proportionately by Him for the purpose of magnifying the glory of God in the unified oneness of the end Principle which is Himself.
Thérèse could see that this is comparable to how beautiful individual elements in nature together glorify the whole landscape. Each can be seen in its individual wonder while at the same time all are lost in the magnificence of the unified whole. Whether one is a rose or a small violet, an oak or a shrub, our perfection comes in being that for which we were designed that we may all celebrate as one family the beauty of the whole. This is the glory that is the Kingdom of God, that is, unity in Principle while still astonishing in individual variety.
Using this general scheme, we see a mystery unfold in the particular with Sts. Joan and Thérèse as they retain their individual spiritual beauty but still blend together in that flower bed of dazzling array. Stepping further back we contemplate that dazzling array as it brings to life a unique beauty that glorifies the entire Kingdom. It is this perfect ordination which moves us as a unified family to glorify God that we celebrate.
Here we are led into true mystery. St. Thomas Aquinas points out the obvious, but often overlooked, point of reason that a multitude of particulars cannot be brought into the act of unity in a purposeful form except by a unified One Who is the first cause and final principle of all movement. The particulars do not carry in themselves, by nature, the ability to order all to a unified Form, just as the individual stars and planets do not have it in their nature to order themselves to the Form of a unified universe. Only One who is outside and “super-natural” to the nature of the particulars can move those particulars toward their end in that unified, beautiful whole.
A flower need have nothing but the potentiality held in a seed to be transformed with soil, water, and light into its end. It is bound by the laws of the created order to appropriately actualize with the application of the proper efficient causes of change. A rose seed cannot resist becoming a rose in the proper environment.
The individual person, though, who has the astonishing dignity of freedom of will and the use of motive powers driven by that free will, and unlike the flower, must have knowledge of the Form through his intellect and have the desire in his will for it in order to move himself toward that Final Good. Thus, man needs knowledge, or a revelation from God in order to find his ending principle. As that revelation is necessarily beyond his own nature, man further needs Faith for his intellect and Hope for his will so that, unlike the flower bound by law, he might voluntarily motivate himself toward the final Good, which is Love, i.e., God. Here we see how man needs proper and true religion. Authentic religion is this necessary revelation of God with the effective graces of Faith and Hope that subsequently allow free people to be perfected through their intellect and will as they voluntarily journey from potentiality to their ultimate resting place in Love. Thus, to “find one’s self” is to “lose one’s self” in God. To find “individual meaning” is to find “God’s meaning.” To become “whole” is to become “One with God.”
Now we finally arrive to the substance of the beautiful color emanating from this bed of flowers in our spiritual metaphor. This substance is decidedly both spiritual and religious. It is God’s revelation, i.e., religion, that empowers the individual to grasp the objective principle of true perfection to be found in the whole. Dogma, that religious knowledge which is unattainable by nature to man on his own, is God’s revelation to man. This revelation is essential for man in order that he may understand that general principle toward which he is to move and by which he will attain individual perfection and proportionately contribute to the perfection of the whole. Doctrine is man explaining and teaching that life-giving revelation of Dogma to others. The infallible Church, as the depository of that Dogma, is God’s way of ensuring that one man so teaches another that the wholeness, the very principle toward which all beauty moves, is not lost such that the rivers run out of their courses and drown the flowers. The particular must align itself with the Dogma of the ending general principle, lest the created order fall into chaos and never attain its perfection.
This is the beauty and marvelous mystery I encountered when I was called by St. Thérèse and St. Joan out of the Dark Forest of individualism, relativism, and secularism among many other cancerous “isms” that seek the ending principle not through revealed Dogma but only through the chaotic, subjective desires of the particular individual. Theirs was a beauty far more reasonable, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally life-giving than was the subjective, intellectually inconsistent, and emotionally unsatisfying self-affirmation of the individual or the mere mundane and distracting doctrinal debates of the denominational pluralists.
In relief, these two took me by the hand to lead me along a narrow pathway I came over time to know as the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. The Trail is the path of revelation that, through Faith and Hope, transforms our potentiality into the final Form of Love as one travels it toward the true Kingdom of which we have been metaphorically speaking. These two were sent by the Mother of God who had pity on me in the sickness and spiritual death I had experienced as I fell to the ground seeking my own way in the Dark Forest of the secular world.
The saints are proof to us of the Love of God. In their lives we see the fulfillment of the promise to transform potentiality into Love. They are truly “like us” by nature yet “more than us” in glory. Through knowledge of God’s revelation and in cooperation with His free gifts of Faith and Hope in their intellect and will, they have reached their full potential. They have reached perfection in Divine Love which is God Himself. They are now truly capable of assisting us in God’s grace through their glory. Their glory is the reflection of God’s glory just as the final, magnificent, masterpiece is the glory of the Artist. We are all created to ultimately be Formed into such masterpieces. “And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30) (Latin Vulgate)
And as charity is the highest of all the virtues and the living, driving force of the Kingdom, their charity to us is an outpouring of God’s own Love and is an astonishing acclamation to His Glory! Heaven is not a holding cell where souls are collected while God attempts to rope us in. Heaven is an extension of glorified, loving hands bound in God’s own charity, helping all of us still in potentiality who dare to will the Final Principle of the Kingdom for which we are designed. Is that not what we would expect from a Kingdom of Love?
As the result of this charity, I am alive, and I have sold all I own to follow these two, with numerous others, through the meadows, creeks, and hills on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed to accept what has been offered. Though, at this point, I am mostly filled with “potential.” Still, going back to the metaphoric, the first thing a seed must do to grow is to fall to the ground and die. I fell to the ground and spiritually died at one point. My manner in doing so was not at all graceful nor becoming. But St. Joan and St. Thérèse have thrown me into just the right dirt and splashed me with just the right amount of water to get this poor, broken seed to make the first upward movements toward the Light Who is Jesus Christ. Is that not charity?
Though I am like but a blade of grass resting in the shade of these two elegant, fragrant, and beautiful flowers, I am more than content. I am happy and joyful, two attributes I was unable to acquire while trying to be a mighty Redwood in the smoke-filled Dark Forest of man-made philosophies and fanciful spiritualities.
It was when I heard my name called by those two saintly souls who possessed such beauty and freedom that I felt it only reasonable to approach them to know more. They pointed toward the Kingdom in the far distance at the end of the Dogmatic Creed which ran gracefully through the meadows and over the hills. Though only a trace of this Kingdom could be seen in the distance, for the rest is mystery not to be revealed in this life, my heart was inflamed with desire for it. From that moment forward, every other principle has paled in comparison.
Throughout this part, you will find poetic and essay type expressions describing how God has shown me that He loves me and how He has given me the grace to, in turn, fall in love with Him. His love to me has been expressed as a call to His Kingdom with a desire to seek others for this purpose. I am chosen only as a lowly vagabond, an exiled missionary, who serves by seeking out for Our Lord those greater souls whom He wishes to ennoble. Had Our Lord desired a great soul for this work, He would have chosen someone else. My life’s testimony is that this is true.
To emphasize this point, I note with joy that by consecrating myself to the Virgin Mary according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort, I have thus ceded to her any benefit, spiritual or temporal, that may possibly accrue to me should my poor efforts yield anything pleasing to Jesus. I am free, then, to work for no other reason than that of charity, for I have nothing to gain for myself, only the Glories of Mary and of Jesus through her. Having therefore asked her to cover my numerous faults and weaknesses with her own maternal charity and having voluntarily ceded any merits and satisfactions to her own desires and for her honor, I am pleased to entrust myself to Our Lady’s will that she may do with me as she pleases. With this joyful freedom, I then present to you my work.
The manner in which Our Lord has brought about this happiness is through an unmerited yet majestic spiritual relationship with His creation, His family, and, through those social and familial relationships, with His own Self Who is both Trinity and One. The Second Person of this Trinity is Jesus Christ Who is the Savior of the human race, having destroyed death through His Crucifixion and subsequent very real Resurrection to eternal life. He is alive, as are the members of this family.
The key social and familial relationships with which He has enriched my life and given me the desire to will His own Goodness and to accept my mission are those of our saintly sisters Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux and, by journeying with them, that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is the Mother of God. This is all absolutely and objectively true.
The End to which this journey leads, that is, to the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is where Jesus Christ is enthroned in all of His glory. That center is the mystical garden of paradise exalted in God’s Divine Love!
According to both Sts. Paul and Thomas Aquinas, Love, i.e. God, is the First Principle of the theological virtues of Faith and Hope and therefore the End toward which these virtues lead us. St. Thomas goes on to tell us that the intellect is moved by the principle of truth (Faith) and the will by the principle of desire for happiness with God (Hope). What Joan and Thérèse have demonstrated to me on the journey along what I call the Trail of Dogmatic Creed is that Love is therefore the supreme act of both our intellect and will and is most exalted by the complete oblation of ourselves to the Love of God. Surrender to God has its principle in mutual, sacrificial love between God and us. In other words, our supreme act on this earth is that of dying on the Cross for love of Jesus Christ and of the entire Blessed Trinity through Him. Only with that first authentic principle of Love firmly established can we then truly love our neighbor.
What I have just described to you is the impact of Catholicism on my life. It is magnificent. It is alive. It is the depository, by Christ’s own authority, of the way that leads to this eternal Kingdom where these powerful and loving relationships reach their fulfillment.
Every person has the opportunity to fall in love with God. As for me, I am less than others in my spiritual life, and there is no merit in my call. The only thing of which I can think that would explain why I have what is here to share is simply the fact that I responded. I proclaimed, “Yes!” and began the journey.
Furthermore, the reason I then come to share this all with others is because it is an objective reality. That means that others should know about it. If one is led to the finest soil for growing food or to the rivers holding the freshest waters for bringing forth life, then that person is obligated to share this with others as an act of fraternal charity. Conversely, if this were all just a subjective experience not grounded in an objective reality, there would be nothing to share, for I would then be influencing others to follow my own self-created path, and no one should want to follow or be influenced by that.
Should you choose to engage yourself in what is here, you will obviously find an array of devotional expressions pertaining to those great saints mentioned above, Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux! These two have a true spiritual kinship that I celebrate in my books, essays, and poetry. They have both had a tremendous influence on my life and are specific relationships given to me from Jesus through Mary’s heart. Through their sisterly care, I have come to experience the beauty that is the trail of the Dogmatic Creed through Roman Catholicism. I have been led through the meadows and over the creeks on a magnificent pathway toward a Kingdom where the saints lead us to Mary, and where she then leads us all to the very Heart of Our Savior!
Let me now explain this all to you. I will start with the vision and mission.
To bring joy and victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the glory of Jesus her Son through a renewal in the Church and the world that reflects the unique, kindred spirituality of Sts. Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux.
To fulfill this vision through a personal journey on the trail of the Dogmatic Creed with Sts. Joan and Thérèse toward the Kingdom of God in the mystical garden of paradise that is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, where Jesus Christ sits enthroned as Son of God, God Himself, and Savior of the human race.
To then propagate devotion to Sts. Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux for the renewal of the Church and the world, particularly through their wondrous kindred spirituality and in total consecration to the Virgin Mary.
This devotion to Sts. Joan and Thérèse is animated by and has as its proximate end, the True and Perfect Devotion to Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort. The absolute end is union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the fullness of His Catholic Church with her sacraments and life-giving, authoritative Dogma. Our holy and blessed Mother Mary will lead us nowhere else but to the very heart of her Son. And Mary is singularly the safest and surest way to accomplish that. To Jesus through Mary in the friendship and sisterly care of Sts. Joan and Thérèse. Amen, so be it.
“St. Joan and St. Thérèse” together, in that very special kindred spirituality of theirs, have been defined by Our Lord and Our Lady as absolutely essential for me on my journey through the majestic, mystical world of the Catholic Church.
St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux are to my own spirituality what wet is to water, or light is to the day. My entire journey out of the Dark Forest of despair and happily into the sunlight on the narrow but magnificent pathway of the Dogmatic Creed has been faithfully led and energized by these two “saintly sisters.”
Through Sts. Joan and Thérèse, my heart has become an altar in the center of Mary’s Immaculate Heart where her own love for Jesus burns as a truly acceptable sacrifice to the Father. That sacrifice is Personified in the Real and Substantial Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, given to us through the Mass, which is the drama of our Lord’s one redemptive sacrifice re-presented each day, and is the highest form of prayer we can offer. None of this takes place of myself alone. All of my troubles are rooted in my concupiscence toward sin. All goodness is rooted in the merits of Christ flowing through Mary’s heart and, for me, through my blessed sisters, Joan and Thérèse. My objective is to be nothing, that is, crucified, so that this Kingdom may be my only abode. I am very far from that objective due to my pride and fixation with self.
My first major encounter with them was on October 1, 1984, the Feast Day of St. Thérèse, the day I received a miracle of grace that ultimately led to my conversion to the Catholic Church. I later received another miracle of grace at the feet of Mary and through the intercession of St. Joan of Arc on July 17, 2006, the day of the year we celebrate Joan accomplishing her earthly mission of bringing Charles VII into Reims for his coronation in 1429. The chains of hell dropped from me that day.
It was through the desire and command of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, that I should have the comfort and sisterly care of these two celestial guides while I press forward to my ultimate resting place in St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. This path necessarily makes its way through our valley of tears in this world and up the awful and painful hill that is our own mystical Calvary, where we must confront ourselves in the suffering of redemptive anguish with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the Cross. What mystery! What grace to be led to the saving Cross of Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in the friendship of these two marvelous saints!
Of course, “St. Joan and St. Thérèse” themselves represent a subjective actual grace I have received. Our Lord and Our Lady may be calling you to join them as well, or, alternatively, you may have other saintly friends waiting to assist you! We Catholics are well aware that, objectively speaking, Jesus alone by His nature is necessary to our goal of attaining heaven. He alone is the Mediator with the Father. Yet, Mary is necessary (the saints will confirm), not by her purely human nature, but by the singular and unimaginable grace from the Father to be the noble, holy Mother of Our God!
And most happily for us, as Jesus looks to paint the fields, meadows, rivers, and mountains of heaven in a most astonishing array of colors, He has a plan that brings each of us individually to our destiny in that beautiful landscape, a plan which is itself grounded in the broader, objective reality of Himself by nature and Mary by grace. We are immersed in spectacular variety through our individual journeys while being grounded in the unified simplicity that is the Kingship of Christ.
Furthermore, as I have sought myself the fulfillment of my own, individual calling from God to consecrate myself completely to Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort, I have discovered His plan for me that Joan and Thérèse would be Our Lady’s willing cooperators! Can one ask for more? What love!
Through Sts. Joan and Thérèse, I have received guidance, protection, and sisterly care as we walk, dance, and run along the Catholic trail of the Dogmatic Creed, as I like to call it. The final destination is a magnificent Kingdom, promised to us though we must remain as mere pilgrims journeying toward it in this life, and which is the new heavenly paradise that is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, where Jesus sits enthroned as the Son of God, God Himself, and the only Savior of the human race.
This is why I have such affection for these two. This is why, despite the sorrows and heartaches that make up each one of our individual roads to glory that can come only by way of the obedience of faith and the new life in the Spirit through sanctifying grace, I choose to honor them as my life’s mission in rightful subjection to Mary, to please her Immaculate Heart, to dry her tears, and to proclaim the glory of Jesus her Son! This mission, for me anyway, leads to the fulfillment of the vision of True and Perfect Devotion to Mary, which is the solid and true path to Jesus Christ!
There is no way for us to understand the mind of God. How was I to know that Thérèse would pray for me? How was I to know that she even cared? Yet, when I was crushed by darkness, a simple cry from a simple nun already in her glory pierced the heavens. Somewhere in the darkness I heard my name. When I picked up her autobiography, “The Story of a Soul,” I had no idea who she was or what a Carmel was. The journey began with that cry I heard while lost in that Dark Forest. I have come to know her through that Story. I still have my original copy, and I am reading it again. I am a miserable sinner; yet, I try to do what she tells me. I clumsily stumble around trying to follow her lead. It’s hard to explain what a spiritual sister is.
And on that other great day of July 17, 2006, when I sat seemingly alone on my own hill called Calvary, in such pain that I felt I could not go on, I heard my name called again. This time it was from a heavenly warrior, and the chains of hell dropped from me. Just as with Thérèse earlier in my life, I did not know that this warrior cared. But she did. She is in heaven with Thérèse. Like I said above, it’s hard to describe spiritual kinship. But I found my sisters, or, rather, they found me. As they did, Jesus and Mary smiled as I danced to freedom.
The wonders Our Lord has planned for us are astonishing.
On how I became Catholic and devoted to Sts. Joan, Thérèse, and the French Monarchy
I could not have been raised in a more distant land, culture, or political belief system from that which is stated in the topic of this essay. Even my religious beliefs of youth, though still Christian, were quite different from what they are now. I hope to outline in this essay, for any who might be interested, just how it has come about that I would be Catholic, be strongly attached to Sts. Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux, and be a Monarchist. I do not intend to do anything but give an explanation of the “how” it came about. No attempt is made here to justify or defend my positions. This is, in the most simplistic terms, a testimonial, rather than an apologetic.
I was raised in the small (though delightful to me), somewhat isolated community of Guymon, Oklahoma on the high plains in the far western regions of that great state and was dutifully taught, both directly and by cultural osmosis, the ideals of Protestant religion and Republican politics. (For purposes of this essay, the term “Republican” refers to the governmental, institutional form rather than to the political party of the same name).
In my small part of that likewise small universe, Protestantism was the unquestioned form of proper Christian religion, and the Republic was the unquestioned form of proper government. Protestantism represented “freedom” (and, of course, eternal salvation) from the dogmatic, enslaving, institutional, monarchical Catholic Church which itself had something to do with some enigmatic, frightful era called the Dark Ages, and the Republic represented “freedom” from the dictatorial, monarchical European political systems associated with that same Dark Age Church. As a young man growing up in the rugged (though beautiful in its own way) Oklahoma Panhandle, attending High School, hanging out at the bowling alley, “dragging main” (i.e., driving up and down the main street), playing basketball, throwing rocks into the local lake on lazy summer days, and otherwise just being carefree, nothing could have made more sense. Of course, all of that was right. It just sounded so right. Never mind all that, though, let’s skip one more rock and go shoot some baskets.
I did well both academically and socially through high school and after graduation in 1977 was off to study Economics at Princeton University on the east coast. There I added an important leg to my “stool” that represented my principles by which I would “step up” in the world, that leg being the principle of Capitalism. Now, the earthly trinity of Republicanism, Capitalism, and Protestantism were confirmed in my mind and soul. Republicans were politically “free,” Capitalists were virtuously “rich,” and Protestants were easily “saved” (through their “freedom” from the Catholic Church, that Dark Ages thing.) It was all quite tidy: live free, die rich, and go to heaven. Of course, all of that was right. It just sounded so right. Never mind all that, though, let’s go have another beer.
After college graduation in 1981, I began my professional career working for the United States Steel Corporation, otherwise known as US Steel. It was only a few years after that that my father talked me into moving back to Guymon to help him with the family agricultural tool manufacturing business. Once back home in January of 1984, at the age 24, something earth shattering happened. I became reacquainted with the woman, who was to be, and remains to this day, my wife. We dated for only a short while, a few months, before I nervously dropped the “big” question.
Josey in one way was outside of the comfortable little world model I had built in my mind. She was Catholic. She was, I might emphasize, firmly Catholic. My first experience with anything resembling Catholic dogma and monarchy occurred on the night I proposed. She said that she would marry me; though, she made it clear that she was Catholic, would always be Catholic, all of our children would have to be Catholic, and I would have to attend the Catholic Church with her and the family. However, other than that, I could be whatever religion I wanted! Her statements were not positioned as discussion points nor was she asking for my opinion on the matter. It was the way things were going to be. Queen Isabelle of Spain could not have been more decisive or clear.
For my part, all I really heard that mattered was that she would marry me. She was (and still is) very beautiful, and she said that she would marry me. As that last phrase rang through my mind, one of the legs on my stool swiftly cracked, and I found myself planted in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) class at the local Catholic Church the next month. It mattered not to me, this religion business, so long as she would marry me when it was over. A man has to have his priorities in right order (especially when he is marrying so far out of his league that he may not have another opportunity like this one)!
A couple of classes later, on October 1, 1984, the Feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (though I had no clue who she was or what the day represented), I experienced a profound conversion to the Church. I did not decide to join her that day, but I became unshakably convinced of her authenticity and of her claims. About one second after that moment of enlightenment, I realized that the Eucharist is truly and substantially the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It all happened in about two seconds. Without me knowing even who she was, St. Thérèse of Lisieux brought about my conversion through the blessing and heart of Immaculate Mary, and I became (though I did not yet know it) Thérèse’s brother in spiritual blood through the fire of the Holy Spirit who arcs through time and space to work these miracles. No one can shake this conviction from me, unless the grace of God is removed from me.
I was introduced to, and began praying, the Rosary regularly. Through that praying, I decided, in December of that year, 1984, that I would join the Catholic Church. I did so that next Easter of 1985, and shortly thereafter, I was given two books, “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort and “The Glories of Mary” by St. Alphonsus. I also came across and read, “The Story of Soul” by St. Thérèse, not realizing that I was then being introduced to my sister in Christ. I understood very little of what Thérèse was saying; I only knew that I liked it. What she was saying was beautiful. I just did not know what it really was that she was saying. Yet, all said, that was that, and I was happily a Catholic and had replaced that metaphorical broken stool leg with a new one. However, it was like replacing a leg on a real piece of furniture. The new leg did not really match the others. To be complete, I needed to replace the other two legs, but I had no idea at the time.
The immediate outcome of my newfound joy in the huge mansion of the Catholic Church was, of all things, suffering and worldly failure. This remarkable feature was not what I had expected, given that I still held the leg labeled, “rich” (capitalism), under my metaphoric stool of life’s principles by which to live. The family business failed under my leadership. This was the first major failure I had experienced in life, and it would take me most of my adult life to recover from it. I would run from this failure for the next 16 years. Yet, strikingly, this obtuse relationship between the spirit and the world was to happen repeatedly. Three times, I have had notable, life giving experiences with the Virgin Mary, and each time I have lost my employment within a short period of time afterwards. One might site this amusingly as an example that devotion to our holy Mother is hard on the pocketbook! Indeed, in earthly terms, this might be true. However, over the years, I have learned that the true message is, “seek first the Kingdom of God” and do not trust in your own ingenuity and power. Our Lady has purposely, and repeatedly, left me at key moments in my life with no other option than that of abandoning myself to her. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.
My new bride and I packed up our belongings to move to New Haven, Connecticut where I had decided to attend the Yale School of Organization and Management in an attempt to recover my sense of self worth and to resurrect my career. In purely earthly terms, it worked. After graduation, I was hired by the elite executive consulting group of Booz Allen and Hamilton out of their New York City office. That would begin the very long run away from my failure in Guymon to an imaginary vision of success, wealth, and power, which in turn would prove to me, and to others back home, that I was not a failure. Despite the early stages of Thérèse’s spiritual guidance in my life, I had not yet abandoned the other two legs of my famous “stool” by which I would “ascend” to greatness in the world. I would be Catholic, worldly, rich, and powerful. That combination proved to be the foul tasting formula by which I would become lukewarm in my faith and by which Our Lord had said that He would vomit us out of His most holy mouth. He did vomit me out of His mouth, as is only just, for I had become an abomination. His complete rejection of my lukewarm fence-riding and of my attempts to keep one foot in His Kingdom and one in the devil’s proved to be a most miraculous and loving chastisement, for, another most profound moment of conversion awaited me.
During all of those years of running, hiding, and trying to prove my worth to the world after my devastating failure in Guymon, my faith in Jesus Christ in His Eucharist, in His Church, in His most glorious Mother, and in my love for St. Thérèse, never waned. I was not on the path of goodness, but goodness had planted herself in my heart. That seed was the Kingdom of God. Though I was unfaithful, He was faithful. I was wretched, but I nevertheless recognized goodness.
To this latter point, in the early years after my conversion, my love for my newly discovered saintly sister, who had been a Carmelite nun in Lisieux, France, led Josey and I to seek out the Secular Order of the Discalced Carmelites in Oklahoma City. We joined a group at St. Joseph’s Monastery in Piedmont. While we would ultimately not make our final vows (mostly due to my insistence on being rich and powerful in the world, which super-ceded all other principles), those moments of study and prayer with the Sisters there would have a lasting impact on me. I still pray the Divine Office to this day. In addition to all of this, our local priest gave us a certified relic of St. Thérèse’s which we still possess to this day (though for the past few years, this relic was in the hands of a friend who recently passed away from breast cancer).
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was given the grace by our most worthy Mother in heaven to intercede on my behalf for all of those years. Despite my egregious misbehavior and misguided priorities, the faith always remained whole in me. Our Lord’s gift to me through the Immaculate Heart of Mary was this daughter of God to throw herself in front of me and to protect me during my ill-fated, self-driven sojourn into darkness. No one can shake this conviction from me, unless the grace of God is removed from me. Though all goodness and merits derive from our most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God and the only Savior of the human race, I owe my life to Our Lady and, in closest proximity of grace, to St. Thérèse.
I also owe my life to one other magnificent saint. I mentioned above a powerful chastisement and moment of conversion. After 16 years of self-generated nonsense, whereby my dear sister Thérèse covered me like a blanket, for I was unwilling to live out my baptismal promises that were clearly re-ignited in me on the Feast of St. Thérèse, the Lord allowed that I should fall flat and nearly die. I was broken spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially, and almost physically. This punishment was a most just and loving act by Our Savior, for I was truly living a most disgraceful existence, having been absorbed into the “world.” There is no compromise with the world. If you have one foot in the world, you will soon be all in the world (that is, hell on earth).
Close to complete break-down, even physical death, the moment had arrived. Our Lady and St. Thérèse, by the gracious charity of Jesus Christ and for His purposes, as all things were created through Him and for Him, interceded for me that I might be put right. On July 17, 2006, my world was so profoundly altered that I have since become a new creation; I have become the base element for that form which I am in the mind of God. I am not the fulfillment of that person, but I was radically changed in my core being to begin moving toward that final end principle. I began the journey of being who I truly am. The chains of hell fell from me that day. The seed that had been planted in my soul on the Feast Day of St. Thérèse in 1984 through the fire of the Holy Spirit fell and died. New life began to grow.
It happened while I was attending a week long retreat in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. On the first evening, I went to confession and then stepped before a statue of the most holy Virgin Mary in the beautiful sanctuary of the abandoned seminary where the retreat was being held. I was healed in that instant. I was healed through the loving cooperation of St. Thérèse’s spiritual sister, St. Joan of Arc. How I came to understand this is too lengthy to reproduce here but is the subject matter of my second book, “Seek First the Kingdom – The March of Hope,” and it may be re-visited in my essay, “On my devotion to St. Joan and St. Thérèse.”
The astonishing fact is that Our Lady had granted that I be restored to the path of my destiny in the mind of God by the magnificent co-patronesses of France. Our Lady allowed that I would know that she was the channel of the Holy Spirit (her being, of course, the spouse of the Holy Spirit) in my life and that St. Joan and St. Thérèse were my consecrated sisters in Christ, who, by the grace given in the Holy Spirit which derives from the infinite merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, were given to me as those destined to lead me on my journey to the Kingdom. This was the will of Jesus Christ in the divine order. Sts. Joan and Thérèse are truly worthy of my honor, and it would be a most egregious offense to Our Lady and to Our Lord for me not to submit myself accordingly. No one can shake this conviction from me, unless the grace of God is removed from me. That I am unworthy of such a gift is beyond dispute. That this is a free gift through the merits of Jesus Christ is also beyond dispute. That, if I am by grace allowed into heaven I will be the lowest and the last in the Kingdom, is a distinct possibility. By justice, I should be thrown in hell, and Our Lord would be, in fact, most just to do so.
Over the years, the other two legs of my aforementioned stool began to crack as well. Under the influence of St. Joan of Arc, I began to write. It was she who gave me the courage to march forward in such a bold fashion. No one can shake this conviction from me, unless the grace of God is removed from me. This daughter of God has had a most profound influence on me. I can say with certainty that through St. Joan, I became more medieval in my mindset with regard to politics, culture, and religion. Initially I thought that this might be simply due to her historical context. I was to learn otherwise. This mindset transcended time and space. It had not so much to do with “medieval” versus “modern” as it did, the “Kingdom of God” versus the “Kingdom of Satan.” St. Joan was not instructing me on how things were back in her time. She was instructing me on how to view things in my own time.
I began to read the writings of G.K. Chesterton, the famous Catholic convert from the early 20th century. I also began to read the writings of a good friend of his, Hilaire Belloc. Between the two of them, I was hearing for the first time an entirely new paradigm with regard to understanding history, culture, and politics. Mr. Belloc gave me a new look at the history of that “Dark Ages” Church. I came to understand that it was that Catholic Church that had saved the West after the fall of the pagan Roman Empire. That Church was the only pan-European institution that could have held together a dying empire as it did go into that Dark Age (resulting from the decay of the old empire, not from some imagined enslavement by a new one under the Church). More astonishingly, I discovered that it was that same Catholic Church that had then gone on to build Western civilization on the ashes of the old. The university system, the revival of the Greek classics and Greek philosophy, the development of high art, architecture, music, and a chivalric social order where even wars that were fought had rules of decency were the result. No one ever told me that before.
Mr. Chesterton, for his part, introduced me to the profound conclusion that democracy and dictatorial socialism were merely opposite sides of the same coin, not opposite sides of the conservative-liberal divide. True conservatism was the Monarchy with its foundation in the law of God rather than the law, or “will,” of the people (whose nature is whimsical rather than lasting). Liberalism was the revolution against God’s lasting order through either the dictatorship of the state or the dictatorship of the “people.” Choose your poison. Chesterton also introduced me to the astonishing conclusion that capitalism and socialism were merely opposite sides of the same coin, not opposite sides of the conservative-liberal divide. True conservatism was the more medieval concept of distributism, whereby economic growth was a subordinate principle to keeping the means of production and distribution local to the villages. Multi-nationals were out. The locally owned drug store on the corner of Main Street was in. Social and cultural cohesion were higher principles than “lowest cost” production and “comparative advantage” between nations. No one had ever before presented these ideas to me.
At a certain point in time, as I became more convinced of these claims, I realized that the other two legs of my stool had been snapped. In fact, all three legs of that stool, Protestantism, Republicanism, and Capitalism, had disappeared. In their place stood Catholicism, Monarchy, and Distributism (local means of production and distribution and the emphasis on private ownership and community over an economic expediency that leads to wealth accumulating in the hands of the few). I had been given an entirely new stool, or more properly, an entirely new worldview. Religiously, spiritually, socially, economically, politically, and even physically, I had become something new. Most importantly, I was less concerned, really, with being new. I was more concerned with loving that which made me new and with loving those who were my royal caretakers. To honor Joan and Thérèse is pure joy more than it is rightful duty. I think this is a foretaste of the Kingdom in heaven, that is, in finding joy through obedience to the divine order.
It all began with that precious moment when St. Thérèse of Lisieux, through the Heart of Mary, kneeled before the throne of God on my behalf. It flowered into new life when St. Joan of Arc joined her through the Heart of Mary at that throne. The co-patronesses of France love me, and I love them. They have saved my life. That is the Divine Will as best as I can interpret it through my ever faulty and sinfully inclined spiritual eyes. I am, as an important and obvious caveat, not unique. There are a multitude of people for whom Joan and Thérèse are interceding by the divine grace of God and which is dispensed through the hands and heart of the Holy Virgin. I am the least. You, dear reader, might be among the greatest. If you are, remember me, and do not abandon me.
The Kingdom of France
Could there be any doubt, then, as to why I have such great affection for the Kingdom of France? Here, I do not mean for the dreadful Republic, which finds “freedom” in license, but for the Kingdom of France as represented through her Monarchy over the centuries. I have written poems about my relationship in spirit with “Mystical France.” How could I not love the blessed land of my two saintly sisters who watch over me? To be part of a family or community, you tend to love the same things and to feel repugnance for the same things. You become one in heart, mind, and soul. You tend to think alike. I remember writing my first book, “Journey to Christendom,” whereby I commented that I was “French in spirit if not by birth.” I wrote this well before any of these other revelations were brought to light. It was a somewhat prophetic statement.
I could also repeat here the numerous signs I have been given throughout life that point to my destiny as a spiritual son to the mystical Kingdom of France, over which the regal Thérèse and Joan watch. I could tell you once again about how I first encountered St. Joan while visiting the island fortress of Mont-St Michel as a teenager and many more stories. However, rather than re-write it, let me simply quote a paragraph from my book “Testament for Love – The Pilgrim Dance”:
“In summary, I did have that encounter with Joan of Arc as a teen-ager, while visiting the French countryside of my ancestors where she and Thérèse both lived and died. I was converted to the Church many years later on the Feast Day of St. Thérèse. The first and most powerful spiritual influence on me after conversion was from another French saint of the same region, St. Louis de Montfort. Years later, as I was dying from a terrible illness of body and soul, St. Joan interceded in my life again to demonstrate her own sisterly concern, Mary’s maternal care, and the power of the Cross of Christ. This led to a life restructured through consecration to Mary at the Cathedral of St. Louis the King, and the discovery later that I had been consecrated to St. Joan as well, as my mission in life, the moment she intervened to bring me the healing grace of God. You might agree that this is all very French, indeed, very French for a fellow from the high plains of Oklahoma.”
So, yes, I love the Kingdom of France, as I know it through the eyes and spirits of my saintly sisters. More so, however, I love the Kingdom of God for which the ancient kingdom of France is an archetype. I love the divine aristocracy and Monarchy that is the divine order of God. I love Jesus Christ the King, Holy Mary the glorious Queen, and the honorable, regal saints, especially St. Joan and St. Thérèse.
I quote with delight a prophetic announcement to the 19th century bearer of the stigmata, Marie-Julie Jahenny, by Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and earth, speaking to Jesus, her Son:
“My beloved Son, I have adopted France as my daughter, I have always protected it. It was the lily of my heart.” Amen, sweet Mother! Let us hold the fleur-de-lis close to our hearts knowing that this pleases you!
“To Jesus through Mary in the friendship and sisterly care of Sts. Joan and Thérèse.” Amen so be it.
Finally, I will repeat here, the confirmation phrase used at Joan’s posthumous trial of rehabilitation as her witnesses, one by one, affirmed the saint’s holiness and goodness:
“And so it was and that is the truth.”
This serves as a testimony. What I am saying is true.
No one can shake this conviction from me, unless the grace of God is removed from me. I pray that that will never happen and that I will obtain the grace of final perseverance.
People often ask, “Just what would a Catholic Monarchy in America look like? Aside from the spiritual and philosophical arguments, what is the practical application?”
In gratitude to the late Abbé Georges de Nantes and his 150 Points of the Phalange, I will present here a beginning outline of the Catholic Monarchy. This outline will continue to evolve, but it is important to establish the foundation, no matter how rudimentary, in order to facilitate the discussion.
Importantly, the Catholic Monarchy will create a “nation free and organized” (points 91-96), one that establishes the optimal environment for the free, non-coerced conversion and salvation of souls, and one that helps souls to seek and grow in sanctifying grace thereby creating a sanctified society.
The King and Queen are the father and mother of the Kingdom. They serve the country and their subjects with the same care and fidelity parents serve their families. The King and Queen love their country and subjects with the same love as that of parents for their children. In return, the subjects love their King and Queen as children love their parents. The royal family act as a bastion of stability in an ever shifting, amorphous cultural and socioeconomic landscape. The Royals are icons for the nation and the galvanizing manifestation of the Kingdom’s beliefs, traditions, culture, and way of life. The Royals are the guardians of the nation against the revolutionary intrusion of multi-national corporations and one-world financiers by protecting local capital and free, fair enterprise. The Royals bring order in general principles so that the subjects might be free in the particulars of their ordinary lives.
As such, the subjects of the Kingdom are imbued with a sense of honor and dignity. They see it as their duty to ensure that the Monarchs are truly living up to their exalted positions. The subjects of the Kingdom greatly desire that their Monarchs be good Kings and Queens, for it is such that the order of the Kingdom will facilitate peace and justice. A good King and Queen mean a good country; thus, their subjects not only make it their duty to rightly honor the Monarchs but will respectfully reproach them if they fail in their divine right responsibilities.
Below the King and Queen who, being necessarily Catholic in religion, are masters of diplomacy, head of the Armed Forces for the protection of the Kingdom, and the hereditary masters of the Kingdom in all matters legislative and judicial, we have the following:
The Chamber of the Great Orders
First Great Order – the Clergywho are responsible for ensuring that the royal family and the laws of the land are aligned with Catholic teaching and that the royal family is both responsible and responsive to the Holy Father, the Pope in Rome in all matters of faith and morals.
Second Great Order – the Magistraturewhich is responsible for administering justice in the name of the King and Queen.
Third Great Order – Universities and Educationwhich would be established to ensure an independent educational system, free from the influence of corporations, financiers, and revolutionary elites, and maintaining the ideals of subsidiarity whereby the family is the core and central unit of society and the social unit responsible for the education of their own children. This Order will promote life-giving culture, arts, and entertainment in addition to protecting the educational system from negative outside influences and the power of money.
The Fourth Great Order – Social Charitywhich, working distinctly from private corporations and centralized government bureaucracies, will establish local and regional charitable organizations that aid in helping the poorest of the poor and those most disadvantaged. The royal family will be the visible head of this noble Order.
The Chamber of the States, similar to the modern House of Representatives, whereby the King’s subjects throughout the land voice their concerns through freely elected representatives.
The Council of the Kingdom, similar to the modern Senate, whereby the royal family appoints the wisest, most distinguished, and most Catholic-minded women and men in the kingdom to serve as a sounding board for royal decisions. The Council of the Kingdom would freely remonstrate with the King and Queen to ensure that the Kingdom remains free and organized through Catholic faith and morals and by the principles of Catholic social teaching.
The state and local principalities,under the protection and care of the Royal Family, exercise a significant level of democratic freedoms. Within the well designed parameters of Catholic morality and social teaching, the states would have governors who are appointed by the Monarch with a state legislature freely and democratically elected by the subjects. At the local principality level, the subjects of the Kingdom would freely and democratically elect their local leaders. In sum, the Monarchy would bring peace, order, justice, and freedom under the Natural Law and through Catholic social teaching, all in submission to the Social Kingship of Christ and His Church, which is the seed of the Kingdom of God on earth.
During my last visit to the Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy at the Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, I was forcefully struck interiorly by a realization.
As I pondered in Eucharistic Adoration over the past seven years wherein I inductively developed the themes and concepts for Le Royaume, an understanding overcame me that through all of this Ste. Thérèse had shared her heart with me. My love for the Kingdom of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s mystical Kingdom of Catholic France, and Ste. Jehanne d’Arc, all flowed from the heart of “my little mother, Queen, and saint” as expressed in a poem I wrote years ago:
St. Thérèse – My little mother, queen, and saint
My little mother, queen, and saint
A little flower I found one day
Thérèse, whose fragrance none can hide
Sweet, from above, where she abides
My little mother, queen, and saint
Whose petals hold the dew and rain
Of grace from God that falls up there
That makes its fields so pure and fair
My little mother, queen, and saint
Who lets me drink that I’ll not faint
Each time my lips are moist, refreshed
It seems that more of me is fetched
’till nothing’s left, is what I pray
But that which falls Thérèse’s way
And somehow changes beautifully
Me, that is, where I can see
I wish that I could run right now
All through those fields, I see, and how
I’d not come back, but stay to thank
My little mother, queen, and saint
I relished the impression. I rejoiced in knowing that through grace Our Lord and our Lady had answered my prayers over the years. Ste. Thérèse was my “little mother,” and I wanted to have a union of hearts with her. She bore me spiritually on her Feast Day, October 1, 1984, when I was converted in an instant to the Faith. Now, after many years, many crosses, and much Hope, I knew that my prayers were bearing great fruit in this relationship between the two of us.
My mind pondered even more deeply my resulting relationships with both Ste. Thérèse and Ste. Jehanne as expressed in another of my poems:
Jeanne d’Arc, where I and Little Flower go
I know the heart of Saint Thérèse
Through whom I came to love and know
Jeanne d’Arc, herself, who’s always there
Where I and Little Flower go
I’d never make a claim so bold
To know another’s heart, I mean
Except, this time, I know it’s true
I know it’s real, if never seen
So much depends on point of view
And even on one’s heart’s desire
It must have been that way for me
The day Thérèse showed me Jeanne’s fire
I saw it like I’d never seen
A moment so sublime before
Thérèse’s heart was like a wind
That swept me to it, wanting more
In flames I went; I took Jeanne’s hand
Afraid, but knowing, glad, no cares
My other hand was clasped, you see
By Saint Thérèse, who joined us there
You mustn’t fear, nor worry so
This fire’s where God in Spirit says
That I may know, be glad, and sure
I know the heart of Saint Thérèse
I know; because before Thérèse
I’d never held her hand to know
Jeanne d’Arc, herself, who’s always there
Where I and Little Flower go
I concluded that this is the pearl of great price that must be protected at all costs. It is the pearl that drives us to sell all we have in order to obtain it. It is the pearl that represents the Kingdom of God. We are commanded by Our Savior to pray for this Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The connection to all of this with Le Royaume’s royal foundress, St. Mary Magdalene, struck my interior even more forcefully and joyfully. We must keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heads and hearts in Heaven. We must dutifully live out our vocations in the world while “selling all we have” in order to obtain the pearl of great price.
St. Mary Magdalene helps us by taking our hearts to her mystical cave of Sainte-Baume where the pearl in our hearts is protected in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We live in the world as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, bankers, carpenters, farmers, and nurses. Yet, our hearts are protected in mystical Sainte-Baume from the evils of the world through the loving attention and patronage of Mary Magdalene, who secures them in the Immaculate Heart of Mary the Mother of God.
This is Le Royaume’s interpretation of Mystical France which itself is a metaphor for Purity. St. Mary Magdelene helps us in her Sainte-Baume to maintain a pure heart, one capable of a relationship with our Heavenly sisters Jehanne and Thérèse and through them with Mary Immaculate and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
Hidden to the human eyes,
tortured in Rome in mysterious time.
Sweet creature, you had your tomb
in the dark caves of the catacomb.
You gave all the passionate throbs of your heart
to Jesus, your only love.
O pure soul, the world was pagan,
crude persecutor to every Christian.
Salvation you saw in the Holy Cross,
and for It you faced atrocious death.
Unknown Martyr, among the Saints you flew,
candid lily among the angels praised.
Radiant Virgin among the Martyrs in Heaven,
God would dissolve the veil that made you hidden to human eyes.
Jesus Christ, supreme priest, chose you
to alleviate each hour the human pains.
Come to those who invoke you,
spread the divine favors, be they poor, Popes or great Kings.
Star of Heaven, young Martyr,
In the land of Mugnano you founded your cradle.
Bless those who venerate you, help us all:
You shine, o Philomena, in Heaven amongst the Saints!
————————— Written by Giuseppe Boccia
Abandonment to Divine Providence in a dogmatic confession of Catholic faith through the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the hallmark of the French Catholic Diaspora. We entrust ourselves completely in mind, body, and soul through Mary to the authentic teachings and authority of the Holy Catholic Church, the mystical body and bride of Christ. We accept nothing less than the Cross of suffering in union with Jesus Christ as the only path leading us to Le Royaume, the mystical Kingdom of Catholic France that exists as a form in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Le Royaume is our Heavenly homeland. This mystical Kingdom is our heritage through the royal line of St. Mary Magdalene to whom our Lord bequeathed the land which would become the Kingdom of France on earth and which is the dim mirror (I Corinthians 13:12) through which we perceive the Heavenly France toward which we journey in destiny with our heavenly sisters and patronesses, St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, as royal heirs of St. Mary Magdalene.
This inheritance is of a substance we grasp only slowly and as like that dark mirror to which St. Paul refers.We know it only darkly and dimly now as this inheritance is purity, a purity that shines brilliantly and reveals in us our own vulgarity and sinful filth. This sinful filth is a barrier which will lead us to no other end than eternal damnation. We understand that in order to reach this Kingdom with St. Joan and St. Thérèse, we must be transformed and purified through the Cross of Christ’s suffering, for we have no way to obtain this purity on our own given our vile nature outside of Christ’s grace. To obtain this purity is to obtain the mystical Kingdom of Catholic France. This purity, this Kingdom of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the center of her Immaculate Heart, is only from God and cannot be known to us save through sanctifying grace, a grace we receive in its fullness only through our dogmatic confession of Catholic faith. Through this sanctifying grace resulting from our dogmatic confession and surrender of ourselves heart, mind, soul, and body through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we seek to bring our inheritance in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of mystical France, “on earth as it is in Heaven” for the glory of Jesus Christ our only Savior and for the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To pass through Le Royaume’s gateway which is our own Calvary of suffering and death on the Cross with Christ, our saintly sisters Joan and Thérèse lead us to our own Sainte-Baume with the Magdalene where we lose all and become completely detached from the things of this earth. Though we live practically and dutifully with our feet solidly on the ground in our daily vocations, we are dead to this world with its Prince of Darkness, and our soul soars to mystical France, our homeland in the Kingdom of God.
We must, with the prayerful intercession and support of St. Mary Magdalene, die on the Cross in our own Sainte-Baume to all things belonging to the darkness of this world as we await the new Heavens and the new earth.
Purity and humility form the gateway to, and are the guardians of, Le Royaume by leading us to death on the Cross with Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in the sisterly care of St. Joan and St. Thérèse.
An outstanding trait among the French Catholic Diaspora is that of self-abandonment to Divine Providence. This trait is a spiritual gift of grace that comes to us through the royal line of St. Mary Magdalene, foundress of Le Royaume and she to whom Jesus Christ committed and entrusted all of Catholic France by leading her and her companions to the shores of what later would become the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Catholic France.
Just as blessed Mary Magdalene retired from preaching the gospel on the southern shores of modern day France to her cave at La Sainte-Baume for the last thirty years of her life, we to whom Our Lord and Our Lady have bequeathed the inheritance of this lineage and who are the diaspora for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Kingdom of Catholic France, obtain through St. Mary Magdalene’s intercession the grace of self-abandonment. Though we are not necessarily, nor even likely to be, called to a life of physical, material hermitage in a cave, we nevertheless carry this most precious ointment of grace in our souls. This ointment of self-abandonment is a sweet odor to God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, as it is the total giving of ourself in love to God through the merits of St. Mary Magdalene and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God.
Our abandonment to the Father through the Son in the love and confidence of the Holy Spirit excites our soul with a holy fire. As the benefactors of the overflow of St. Mary Magdalene’s abundance of graces received during her thirty years of solitude, we find ourselves walking gracefully with St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed through a breathtaking mountain pass leading to the mystical Kingdom of Catholic France. This edification is none other than the realization that our mother and the Mother of God, Mary most Holy, watches over us the way she cared for the couple at the wedding feast in Cana. Without even needing to ask, the couple found themselves under the empathetic and loving watch of Our Lady, who anticipated their needs and even brought Our Lord to yield His time (for it was not yet His time) to help them.
How blessed we are to receive this life giving grace of abandonment to Our Lord through the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is metaphorically the narrow, beautiful mountain pass leading us to freedom along the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed with St. Joan and St. Thérèse to the mystical Kingdom of Catholic France.
From the National Shrine of St. Philomena in Briggsville WI
Faithful Virgin and distinguished Martyr – St. Philomena I rejoice in your glory, and I am exultant with joy When I see you glorifying God, Particularly with miracles In favor of the poor and of those with simple hearts.
I pray that His Divine Majesty designates Your name to more and more people, that he reveals your power and increases your servants
Oh dear and good St. Philomena Here I am at your feet, full of humility but still full of hope, I invoke your charity –
Oh great and lovable Saint Protect me from the enemies of salvation And always pray to our Lord Jesus that he grant me the grace To serve him in this world and then to belong to him for eternity.