One of the truly remarkable aspects of Roman Catholicism is the incredible view, that is, the world view through which we perceive our state of happiness. As I stand in the Church and look out, I see panoramic landscapes with beautiful vistas that include roaring rivers, mysterious forests, contemplative plains, majestic mountains, and deep echoing valleys. I do not see different things from what others see; I simply see things differently. This alternative view compels me to ask the question of “Why” with as much fervor, or more, than the question of “How.”
That is why I can never leave this land, no matter how much sin spoils and pollutes the scenery. Many refuse to journey through this marvelous land because of the sins of its inhabitants; I refuse to leave despite these same sins. The land is beautiful and life-giving; I don’t want to leave. I only want us to take better care of its environment. It would make no sense to leave, for at the end of the journey is Heaven, a place and the reality long forgotten or ignored by the modern mind. Reaching Heaven is the only point of life. This journey through Catholicism is the only way to get there.
One of the most startling discoveries I made in this inspiring land was other people. I am referring not only to people we see in our local parishes and churches but to people whom we call saints. Saints are very real people. They walked the path of dogma before us and have reached that reality called Heaven. And the King of Kings, through Whom all things were created, the Savior of the human race, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, true man and true God, gives us the help and friendship of these wonderful souls as we make our journey. We walk not alone, but in the reality of friends here in our material world and also with our friends in the heavenly world, that is, the saints. St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun who died in 1897, saved my life in 1984. That is the mysterious and mystical world of the saints and Roman Catholicism.
With all of this in mind, I would like to say a few words about St. Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc lived a life of evangelical simplicity while accomplishing astounding miracles in God’s name. In only seven weeks, she permanently crippled the awful and terrifying Hundred Years War by her victories, or, as I like to say it: Jesus Christ saved France through the life sacrifice of Joan of Arc.
This astounding person lived one of the most intriguing lives in all of human history. An unlettered girl of seventeen, she was given command of the armies of France, defeated the armies of England, and led Charles VII through enemy territory to Rheims to be crowned king. She did all of this in obedience to the voices of Saint Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Margaret of Antioch, who represented the King of Kings. There is really no one comparable to her in all of history, save Jesus Christ Himself and the Holy Virgin who gave Him birth. Afterwards, her reward was to be tried for heresy in a corrupt, English and Burgundian kangaroo inquisitional court while Charles VII, the king whom she had miraculously just crowned, sat idly by doing nothing to save her. She was cruelly burned at the stake, posthumously exonerated a quarter of a century later, and five hundred years after that declared an official saint.
It took twenty-two years for my goodwill imbued with the hearts of St. Thérèse and the Virgin Mary to come to fruition in sanctifying grace. When I made this act of true repentance, the King and the Queen of Heaven sent St. Joan of Arc to lead me. Joan of Arc has inspired me with hope and courage to move forward on my journey with St. Thérèse as my sister, the Mother of God as my mother, and the Lord of Lords as my brother and savior. I am in awe of her life and live in deep gratitude for her role in my own life as I stumble along joyfully on the path of the dogmatic creed of Roman Catholicism. Joan is a sister, a friend, a spiritual leader. She was given to me by the Virgin Mary to guide me according to the will of her Son. My sins still befall me; however, my friends here on earth and from the Heavens beyond help pull me up, clean me off, and set me back straight. I think the reason I have been given this help is simply that I am too weak and confused to do it myself. I say God bless that. I would not want to make this journey any other way.