One of the most prominent themes in all of my writings is that of our growth through time and space toward our Final Form that resides in the Mind of God. I often quote St. Thomas Aquinas who himself quoted Aristotle and integrated the latter’s profound philosophy of the four causes of creation – Formal, Material, Efficient, and Final – into the Christian framework.
Another of my prominent themes, a cousin to the first, is that of the Kingdom of God represented by a beautiful landscape whereby we are all integrated in our almost infinite individual variety into one, magnificent panorama. That unity of the particulars into one beautiful Final Form called The Kingdom is that of the one unifying Principle, Jesus Christ, He Who is the Word through Whom all things were created. Thus, the two themes fit together in a manner that hopes to satisfy both our Intellect (Faith) and our Will (Love). Our Intellects (Faith) lead us to seek (Hope) the Principle End (Love) Who unites us as radically unique individuals into the one beautiful panorama of the landscape that metaphorically represents the Kingdom Of God, just as unique flowers, trees, meadows, rivers, and mountains are united into one breathtaking view in nature.
Those themes, how and for what purpose we are created with how we are integrated as individuals into the Whole, are precisely the points that explain how I, a man born in America and raised on the High Plains of the great state of Oklahoma, found his calling in life through a spiritual connection with the “mystical” Kingdom of France, and, more specifically, with the spirit of the devout Catholic Royalists of Western France.
Just out of Guymon High School and before entering Princeton University in the Fall of 1977, I had the opportunity to travel to Brittany, France near the Normandy border for a six week cultural study along with a number of my friends from GHS. At the time I was simply a mainstream American, Protestant young man as were the majority of folk from Guymon. The mainstream, Protestant dominated culture of Guymon was the center of my world, though I was well aware of a larger world beyond the remote town’s borders (where there was even a place called France!).
Toward the end of our stay, we journeyed through Normandy to the island fortress of Mont Saint-Michel, the one pocket of resistance in the Hundred Years War that stayed true to St. Joan of Arc’s Charles VII, despite the fact that the bulk of Normandy had become English occupied land. There, before the chapel, I stood before a statue of St. Joan of Arc. “Who is that?” I asked Ms. Bowling, our French teacher (note that whereas I knew of this larger world where existed a place called “France,” my understanding of what was “under the hood” in that place was pretty limited!). “Ah, c’est Jeanne d’Arc!” (“It is Joan of Arc!”), she replied, or something close to that. I shrugged and walked away, thinking no more of it. How naive was I! I may not have thought more about the matter, but it appears that the aforementioned “Jeanne d’Arc” WAS thinking more about it. We had been introduced.
Approximately eight years later, at age 26, I married the lovely woman who remains my wife to this day. I was converted to the Catholic Church in the process (she is a cradle Catholic), and soon after was given the book, “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort. St. Louis was an early 18th century priest who gave missions throughout the Vendée, Brittany, and Normandy. At nearly the same time, I was introduced to St Thérèse de Lisieux, affectionately known as “the Little Flower,” through reading her autobiography. St. Thérèse was a Carmelite nun from Normandy who lived and died in the late 19th century. France, St. Joan of Arc, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Normandy, Brittany…etc.
So, thinking about my most prominent themes referenced above, you might see a picture developing in my journey through space and time, much the way a Form takes recognizable shape when one connects the dots in a puzzle. In the midst of the apparently confusing mess of “dots” there rests an image representing the Final Form for one’s purpose in the Mind of God. One simply must slow down in life long enough to contemplate the puzzle.
Time went by (as it has a tendency to do). I later found myself in dire spiritual and physical trouble in the summer of 2006. Through the intercession of The Most Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joan of Arc, I was restored. On March 25th, 2008, I was making a renewal of my consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort while sitting in her chapel inside the Cathedral of St. Louis the King in St. Louis, MO. A hint of French Royalty was now being shaped into the mix with the conglomeration made up of those other “dots.”
The following Christmas I received a family genealogy from my nephew that demonstrated that one our family’s major branches came from Normandy. At the time, I was writing the first of my books, Journey to Christendom – The Freedom Dance, under the inspiration of St. Joan of Arc. Through St. Joan a continuing interest in the French Monarchy grew in my soul. Shortly thereafter I discovered the story of the Wars of the Vendée whereby the courageous locals in Western France, only a mere lifetime away from the influence of St. Louis de Montfort, gave their lives to defend the Catholic Church, their way of life, and importantly, the 1,300 year old Monarchy that had defined France as the “Eldest daughter of the Church” over those 13 centuries.
Immediately the dots faded away, and I could see the Form, the picture of who I am and who I was meant to be. My journey began on the High Plains of Oklahoma in a small town called Guymon. However, my destiny was a place far away, in fact, further away in a sense than that “place called France” I had visited so many years before. This destiny was more than all that. It was, and is, to a place I call “mystical France.” This destiny represents my Final Form, or the purpose for which I was created in the Mind of God, and where I, as a uniquely formed individual, fit into that marvelous unified landscape.
This destiny is only one very tiny piece of the whole. However, I do not mind being small in the overall scheme of the panorama. I am, in this destiny, with St. Joan of Arc, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and, through them, with the Mother of God in the Kingdom that is ruled by Jesus Christ. There is no more to desire than that. It is not prominence I seek, only alignment with my destiny, however small and unnoticeable that is.
As Catholics we do not believe that it is right to presume on our salvation. God is always true to His promises; yet, we, with our free will, are ever capable of devising our own ruin. This is particularly true for me. I pray, as all should, for the grace of final perseverance.
If, when you are in Heaven, you happen to make a journey to Mystical France, and if you see me in the land of my destiny with St. Joan and St. Thérèse, know that there is no happier person in the entire Kingdom. If, when you are in Heaven, you happen to make a journey to Mystical France, and you do not see me in the land of my destiny, know that there is no more foolish person in Hell.
Vive l’Église, la Reine, et le Roi des Rois.