Building on our introduction, let us now explore the full model in step-by-step fashion. We will develop each part in its appropriate order. Let us begin with the Christianized Platonism behind the devotion to St. Joan of Arc and Royaume France as represented by St. Mary Magdalene..
The first aspect we want to review is the image of St. Mary Magdalene standing on the shores of what is now southern France. Mary Magdalene is a type for us of the Christianized Platonic worldview. Her life in Provence brought the royal line of the House of New Bethany to France and established it there. France was given to Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross, and the House of New Bethany which was to establish and steward France as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church” for Jesus Christ was sanctified through the “divine touch” on her forehead at the resurrection. This divine touch is the precursor to the “divine glance” those received in the past and will receive in the ages to follow. Mary Magdalene is the bridge for us between the Platonic orientation and Jesus Christ. Her life as a contemplative hermit for thirty years in Provence was an inspiring exercise in ultra-realism. The image of Mary Magdalene here begins it all for the devotion to St. Joan of Arc and Royaume France.
With the above in mind, let us explore the spirituality. We follow the general definition of spirituality from Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In Potency and Act, she summarizes spirituality as similar to seeing a mountain come in to view on the horizon. Our first response is to understand by intuition that “something is over there.” When we then ask, “what is it?” and begin the journey of discovery, we are engaged in “spirituality.” Our devotion to St. Joan begins just this way, with a “divine glance” in the spirit of St. Mary Magdalene’s “divine touch,” followed by the desire to know “what is it?” and then to seek it. We are now on a “spiritual journey” with St. Joan of Arc. She is no longer simply a historical figure or a picture of a saint on a holy card. We are moving forward in spirituality, and as she is the one guiding us, we are in spirituality with her. We call this a union of hearts.
To our spiritual journey with St. Joan, we now add the theological component. Edith Stein informs us that theology does more for us than instruct; it frees us. Here is the important “going forward” for us. We are grounded in the truths of our faith through Thomist Scolasticism; yet, we move forward dynamically in freedom through Dionysian Symbolism. This movement outward into freedom, using Thomism as our guard rails, prepares us for the symbolism Joan will lead us through in order to better understand God. Thus, in our devotion to St. Joan, theology is both instructive and freeing. Most importantly, it leads us to God.
As we continue to develop the fullness of the model, Edith Stein is our “Philosophical Mentor”and is depicted by her image overseeing the phenomenology of the next part. Cascading downward, “so as to draw back upward” from the theological, we follow our intuition under Joan’s direction through a Phenomenological understanding of the movements of grace in our soul and the development of the Dionysian symbolism described above. Joan is leading us as we “seek first the kingdom” that we might bring it “on earth as it is in Heaven.” In our family of spirituality, this means the kingdom of Our Lord in the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In this phenomenology, we are “bested” by St. Joan’s point of view and passively follow her in the search of the ratio, or logos of this kingdom. We grasp her grounds and reach her conclusions through intuition, ideation, and generalization under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the grace working through St. Joan.
Finally, we come to understand the objective ratio, the living logos that is Truth behind this journey. It is the objective reality behind the symbolism. We know, as Edith Stein again informs us, that everything objective must show itself as it is. In order to do that, it must be accessed appropriately, and we believe that with Edith Stein’s phenomenology and reconciliation of it with Thomas Scholasticism, we have done just that.
We are now “filled up” and flowing over, having found the form in the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to which we are called by Jesus Christ to follow His will, and we are doing all that is possible with the aid of grace to be who we are called to be in the House of New Bethany, the spiritual heritage of St. Mary Magdalene.