Step-by-step for following Joan of Arc according to the RoyaumeFrance model

The following is a step-by-step process for the phenomenological devotion to St. Joan of Arc and The Kingdom Blessed of St. Joan and St. Thérèse as presented in RoyaumeFrance.

Step by Step Part One: Willingness to “Be Bested” by Joan

“Philosophical understanding is different. The philosopher must not only be able to see and show the fact that someone else went about it in such and such a way; his insight must not only extend to the connections between the other’s grounds and consequences. The philosopher must also grasp why his predecessor went about it like this. He must get down into the grounds themselves and grasp them. And this means that the grounds must grip him and best him in the sense that he decides to accept them and retraces within himself the path the other followed from grounds to conclusions, perhaps even going beyond him. Or else he must best the grounds; I mean, he must decide to get free of them and take another path.” 

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 425-429). Kindle Edition.

Our devotion to St. Joan of Arc, in the Phenomenological realm of RoyaumeFrance, begins with an encounter. There is a moment, predestined by God, when we come to know Joan through the heart of St. Thérèse. This moment becomes like a raised-pole in our spiritual life around which Our Lord and Our Lady construct the Kingdom Blessed of St. Joan and St. Thérèse. This encounter is itself a phenomenon and is given to us only by grace, as the predilection of the Divine Will for working through the merits of Joan of Arc in an overflow of blessings, just as a fountain overflows with water.

This overflow of grace is by design in the schema of the divine order. Just as a beautiful fountain overflowing in its proper place creates natural beauty in the material realm, so does the will of Jesus Christ with Our Lady create supernatural beauty through the combined hearts of Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux in our souls. We immediately sense that these are life-giving waters flowing over and around us.

Part One begins and ends with our willingness to accept God’s blessings in our Thérèsian encounter with Joan. Our willingness makes us, consciously or not, ready to “be bested” by her heart, her intellect, and her point of view for the glory of God and the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Edith Stein
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Step by Step Part Two: Actualizing The Spirit of Genuine Philosophy with Joan

“But philosophia perennis also means something else: the spirit of genuine philosophy alive in every true philosopher, in anyone who cannot resist an inner need to search out the [logos, mind, reason] of this world, its ratio (as Thomas translated the word). The born philosopher brings this spirit with him into the world—as potency, in Thomistic terminology. The potency becomes actualized when he meets a mature philosopher, a “teacher.” This is the way true philosophers reach out to one another over the bounds of space and time.”

~ Stein, Edith. Knowledge and Faith (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 8) . ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Part Two in the Phenomenological step-by-step devotion to St. Joan is the first movement in our interior life of the philosophia perennis, that is, the “group of universal philosophical problems, principles, and ideas (as concepts of God, freedom, and immortality) that perennially constitutes the primary subject matter of philosophical thought” (Webster). At the core of our newly combined heart now joined by grace with St. Joan is a pent-up latency, a potency, awaiting an act of our will to actualize. The form of this potency is the Kingdom Blessed of St. Joan and St. Thérèse. We now need a bridge between the natural spiritual world and that of the supernatural where this Kingdom reigns.

This bridge is the “spirit of genuine philosophy alive in every true philosopher.” It is the will begging the intellect for an understanding of the “ratio,” that is, the systematic order of this Kingdom we seek. It is the logos “making straight the way of the Lord.” We call this systematic order The Trail of the Dogmatic Creed.

Ratio is the substance underlying natural laws, mathematics, geometry, a priori forms, and, ultimately, our own spirituality and being. It is the foundation for all that God called “good” in the first chapter of Genesis. Through the rhythmic flow of creation’s ratio, “on the first day…on the second day…,” we understand intuitively that music is mathematics and a priori truths lay hidden in geometric order. We understand that we are part of the score and formula. The search for an ever more full understanding of this ratio is what Edith Stein calls “spirituality.” Thus, our cooperative search for ratio under St. Joan’s sisterly guidance is also our shared spirituality with her.

We need not worry about our formal natural philosophical training. We “are” spiritual philosophers of the combined hearts, trained or not. It is an important point of distinction that formal academic education simply supports our movement from potency to act; it does not define our substantive “being” as spiritual brothers and sisters with St. Joan. To be who we “are” in union of heart, mind, and soul with our saintly sister, we simply act on our “inner need to search out the logos of this world” with her, which need brings this shared point of view “with us into the world – as potency” to begin the journey.

To journey safely, we must take Joan as our “mature philosopher,” a “teacher” with whom we “reach out to one another over the bounds of space and time.”

Therefore, Part Two in the process is to actualize our desire to know ratio, to know the divine order, meaning, and purpose, and to know it as Joan knows it. Here, we mean “know ratio” in the full sense of intellectual and spiritual integration. We mean “know” in the sense of “wholeness” and “integrity.” This is to begin actualizing “the spirit of one’s genuine philosophical being” under the guidance of St. Joan of Arc.

Step by Step Part Three: Passively Following Joan

“Therefore for minds that depend on the intuition of concrete individuals as the starting point of their knowledge, these are the progressive stages: individual, concrete intuition, ideation, and from ideation variation and generalization (either or both). We may also formalize at any stage, and starting from the empty form, we may reach the forms connected with it in a formal procedure.” 

~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) (Kindle Locations 1286-1288). Kindle Edition.

“Phenomenology has especially stressed this passive element because it sets off its mode of inquiry, which allows itself to be led by objective ratio, from those trends of modern philosophy wherein thinking means “constructing” and knowledge a “creation” of the inquiring understanding.” 

~ Stein, Edith. Knowledge and Faith (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 8) . ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Once we rise through good will to actualize our search for the ratio that forms the wholeness we seek, we come to Part Three, our passive following of Joan of Arc. We begin with our study of her and from there contemplate the concrete a priori intuitions grace bestows on us as the result. Joan’s life becomes more than history. Her person becomes more than a historical figure. Her story, through these intuitions, becomes in every way “bigger than life.” Joan’s story brings us to new mountain tops. From those mountain tops we see the world as never before. Joan shows us “God’s point of view.”

Through Joan’s individual person, we advance in our construction of the Kingdom. Want to see as she sees. We sense that this is no mere subjective construct, neither is it imaginary. From individual to concrete intuition and then to ideation and generalization, we come to know that which is real in the Kingdom of God. Our subjective experience, grounded in the life of St. Joan of Arc, draws us upward within the boundaries of the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed to the objectively real phenomenon. St. Joan and St. Thérèse at our side lead us to their Kingdom. Joan has “bested” us.

royaumefrance profile june 2018 with site