St. Joan and St. Thérèse (Part 5)

 “Take notice that the Kingdom of France is predestined by God for the defense of the Roman Church which is the only true Church of Christ. This kingdom shall someday be great among the kingdoms of the earth, and shall embrace all the limits of the Roman Empire, and shall submit all other kingdoms to its own scepter.”[1]

– 494 AD, to Clovis, the first King of the Franks, at his baptism by St. Remi, namesake of Domrémy, birthplace of St. Joan of Arc 

I would like to discuss in this essay just how it is that I, an American born and raised, have become so intensely interested in the restoration of the French Monarchy. By that, I mean the prophetic fulfillment of the rise of the Great French Monarch who will revive the Holy Roman Empire and the glorious Catholic culture that sprung from it like life-giving water in an otherwise desolate land. In so doing I will shed more light on my unyielding devotion to St. Joan of Arc. You may already suspect that these two devotions, that to Joan of Arc and that to the French Monarchy, are highly correlated.

I will not, however, be making a scholastic argument, nor will I be feigning a sort of historical and eschatological expertise. This essay is merely a personal testimony to the joyful spiritual fire that burns in my soul and that has been given to me by the pure grace of Jesus Christ through His most worthy Mother. This grace, by her decree, has brought me the most edifying spiritual friendship and sisterly care of the co-patronesses of France, St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Did someone say that the Church is boring? The whole thing sounds ridiculous when I think of my own diminutive spiritual and emotional stature; yet, it is Christ Who promised us heavenly treasures from His own reservoir of life-giving water. We do not, and must not, depend upon ourselves.

Of myself, I am merely a careless spiritual vagabond of no importance in the world, and I cannot keep up with the whole matter. I am like a hobo sitting on the side of a rail car as the train winds its way through the majestic mountains and deep valleys of a mystical land. Christ promised us nothing less than a glorious kingdom, and He even noted His affection for the very least who might venture that way. Hop aboard. I could not muster a first class ticket, but the view from the hobo section is just fine.

Anyway, through the centuries, and as far back as the 4th century, saints, including many Fathers of the Church, have prophesied about the future rise of a Great French Monarch who will ascend to power by agreement with a desperate civilization enduring turbulent times and who will usher in a reign of peace that precedes the arrival of the Anti-Christ. This Monarch will bring stability to a world rocked by the chaotic and irreverent tyranny resulting from the crumbling of the existing secular world order. This unraveling order is represented today by the collapsing, morally decadent, and blasphemous new Republics which emerged under the influence of the American and French Revolutions and which were founded on the principle of man’s dependence on himself, rather than on God. These prophesies are remarkably consistent in their substance, though sometimes expressed differently given the time and geographical location of the seer. “The French people will ask for the good King, he who was chosen by God. He will come, this savior whom God has spared for France, this king who is not wanted now because he is dear to God’s Heart. He will ascend to the throne; he will free the Church and reassert the Pope’s rights.” (The Ecstatic of Tours, 19th century). For a detailed account of these prophesies that rigorously adheres to credible Tradition and Scriptural eschatology in the Church, see the Desmond Birch book referenced in the quote above.

So, how did I become so interested in this matter? How was it introduced to me? Why am I sitting here kicking my legs on the side of the rail car in a position of no importance, yet going on like a street corner preacher about Joan of Arc and some French Monarch?

Knowing my roots will not help to clarify this matter. I was born in Bakersfield, CA and raised in Guymon, OK. That may strike you as not particularly related to the French Monarchy or to France in general. It makes me scratch my head as well. Not only was I not born into this interest directly, I did not even seek it; in fact, it found me. More than that, more than being merely an “it,” I will say that “they” found me. You probably know who “they” are, but I will nevertheless explain below. There remains much confusion in my mind as to why this all came about, and, to your distress, I will perhaps not be able to articulate here the ultimate meaning of it all. Still, I will be able to state just how, in fact, it did happen.

In writing my first book, Journey to Christendom – The Freedom Dance, I discussed the monumental impact on my life of Sts. Thérèse and Joan and further made a reference to my love for France while stating boldly that I was “French in spirit if not by birth.” That proved to be more than a reflection on what I already knew; it also proved to be prophetic in terms of what I would come to know afterward as I continued to ponder over my life’s circumstances.

It was after writing that book that I was given a family ancestry revealing that a significant line, though with some ambiguity, descended from Normandy, and, even more interestingly, from a village near Rouen where Joan of Arc was martyred. St. Thérèse was Norman herself and considered herself as spiritual kin to Joan.

Shortly thereafter, I had the inspiration that brought to light the Jehannian significance of my healing on July 17, 2006 before the statue of the Virgin Mary. July 17 is the day Joan of Arc triumphantly entered Rheims. Soon, I was reminded in yet another inspiration that my moment of conversion to the Catholic Church had occurred on October 1, 1984, which is the Feast Day of St. Thérèse. It seems that I was being tossed onto the train, stick, satchel, and all, well before I ever knew where I was headed.

For a few more months, I continued connecting the dots representing my journey through life. These connections began to form an image that has brought to light critical elements of the French, Thérèsian, Jehannian mysteries in my life, though only as like a mist rising in the morning sun, whereby the landscape in the distance only gradually becomes visible. 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 as fully as I am myself known.” (1 Cor 13:12) (New Jerusalem).

The prayer of consecration to St. Joan of Arc that I found through my association with her Confraternity reflected in words exactly the spiritual direction my life had taken immediately after July 17, 2006. The words uncannily described exactly how my life had taken shape for several years after that date. It was obvious that not only had I been healed through the intercession and cooperation of St. Joan of Arc that day, but by the will of Jesus Christ and His Mother, I had been consecrated to her as well. I had asked Our Lord and Our Lady for help and direction. That help and direction had been given. Heaven is astonishingly active in today’s spiritual warfare. The saints in communion with Christ are active in that warfare as well. As part of that war, I now had, in the Church Militant, a new regiment leader, Joan of Arc. Joan answers to the Queen, who rules the Kingdom with Her Son, the King. Perhaps the train upon which I have been tossed by Sts. Thérèse and Joan is headed to boot camp.

More reflections yielded more insight. I recalled that after that great day of July 17, I ended up in St. Louis for a year where I attended Mass on a daily basis at the Cathedral of St. Louis the French King. It was there that I sat on March 25th of 2008, the Feast of the Annunciation, and re-consecrated myself to the Virgin Mary using the formula of St. Louis de Montfort. St. Louis de Montfort, whose writings on True Devotion to Mary formed the core of my spirituality immediately after my conversion on the Feast Day of St. Thérèse in 1984, was an 18th century itinerant preacher who gave missions across, you guessed it, Normandy and Brittany.

Then, one day recently, a high school friend from years back asked me about my devotion to Joan of Arc and wondered if that devotion began in my teen years. His question reminded me of a trip I made to Brittany and Normandy as teen-ager with a group of Americans, including a number from my High School. We lived there with local families for six weeks. Part of our trip consisted in going to Mont St. Michel, the island fortress that remained loyal to Joan’s King Charles VII during the Hundred Years War. There is a statue of St. Joan of Arc in front of the Church there. I recalled that I had stood there as a teen-ager, looking at that statue, and had asked, “Who is that?” Our enthusiastic teacher, answered, “Ah, Jeanne d’Arc!”

I shrugged and moved on. Little did I know that it was then, going all the way back to my first encounter with Joan at Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy, that the process began whereby I was thrown onto that metaphorical train I referenced above. I have a mission in life, though I certainly had no way to know then what it was. Nor would I grasp it for many years to come. Yet, I apparently have saintly sisters who have been instructed on what to do with me. Therefore, while on this train, I sit and smile, from time to time foolishly lean too far over to the point of falling, and occasionally fall asleep leaving myself in great danger. However, I have the care of a couple of saintly souls who pull me back from danger, wake me up, and chastise me for being careless. I guess it is for that we are given our heavenly helpers.

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.

Still, though I am compelled by this French spirit, I was, in fact, born and raised in the United States, my native land and a magnificent country that is losing her life-blood as she loses her cultural relationship with ancient Christendom and with France who is the eldest daughter of that civilization. It does not help that France herself is losing that very spirit. Perhaps that is why I am so interested in this French Monarch; it is because I am interested in the Catholic culture he will restore by the will of God. It is that restored moral order, a civilized order that reveres God rather than man, an order that subjugates itself to God as its principle end that is the only salvation for the country of my birth. My country needs a restored French Monarchy, for it needs the life-giving waters of Catholic culture that ran spiritually and metaphorically for a thousand years through the fields, meadows, and hillsides of Christendom.

Vive la France. Vive le Roi. Vive la culture Catholique. Vive des Etats-Unis.

Long live France. Long live the King. Long live Catholic culture. Long live the United States.

Merci, Sainte Jeanne d’Arc! Merci, Sainte Thérèse!

Merci, Notre Dame! Merci, Notre Seigneur!

[1] (Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph: Before, During, and After the Anti-Christ; Desmond Birch, Queenship Publishing, p. 246)