Archive for December, 2012

Joan of Arc

December 1, 2012

( T h e   R e v i e w s )

 

Joan of Arc by Jules Michelet

 

In this fine translation from the French by Albert Guerard, we are served a pearl.  Stripped down and direct, Michelet tells it like it was and like it is.

 

The Saint is depicted from the records of nothing-to-gain Faithful who surrounded her in 1429.  “God is a Frenchman” in this narrative.  And England is a jew.  A jurist is quoted on page 106, “the English are Jews, the French are Christians.”  Again from page 106, “Never were the Jews filled with such hatred against Jesus as the English against the Maid.”

 

Martial pride had a little to do with it, “at Patay, they fled as fast as their legs could carry them, fled before a girl.”  These memories were hateful to the English, who in their taciturn pride, kept chewing the bitter cud…” (p. 107)

 

An English “Nuremberg” ensued — a ridiculous kangaroo court full of liars who tried everything to break the Christian Spirit of a chaste young girl, but failed.  They decided to stage a great public spectacle of the terrific and macabre.  A taller pyre the world never saw before nor since.  One English chronicler gloated how her gown would be burnt off, exposing her nudity at last.  Let this speak for the English sentiment of the day.

 

Then as now, the Church was infiltrated, diseased, corrupt.  High-ranking and reluctant traitors among the French sold an armoured Saint to her English enemies.  Greed and corruption beset the Maid of Orleans from both sides.

 

The Christians in the ranks remembered 1428.  Those who loved her recorded her words and deeds.  She rose like a meteor as Saints often do — from where people least expect.

 

Same as today, the “children of the devil” used threats and bribery to manipulate government officials into acquiescence.  Into “compliance.”  In those days the Church and its Crown were the government of all nations within Christendom.

 

Let the 100 Years War, however, speak to the rift between France and England.  Let the Spanish Armada speak to the rift between Spain and England.  And let the sleazy fall from Grace of Henry VIII speak to the rift between the English crown and the Church of St. Peter the Rock for all time.

 

Oh how they tried to wrest from the Saint some damning admission.  Under a Christ-like placard of infamy, to the last, through the flames she defied them.

 

It is for the good Christian souls in the ranks and among the people that Saints like Joan arise.  Whether it took the admin weenies at the Vatican till 1920 to declare it or not.  Let the purity of the Cloister bear Her up.  Let the integrity of the Cloister record Her deeds.

 

The Dominicans and Augustinians were there.  They heard and recorded her last words.  Brother Isambart de la Pierre was there.  Let his testimony stand.  Along with every other monk espousing poverty, with nothing to profit — nor to fear but God.

 

They wrote, “Ten thousand men were weeping…”  the monks who attended Saint Joan, “We could hear her in the fire, invoking her saints, her archangel; she kept repeating the name of our Saviour…  Finally her head dropped, and she uttered a great cry:  ‘Jesus!'”

 

It was during this moment that an English soldier went to lay another piece of wood to the fire.  He looked up and swooned.  His comrades took him to a tavern to be revived.  “I saw,” he said, beside himself, “I saw with her last breath a dove fly out of her mouth.”  (p. 122)