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The Epopee of St. Joan of Arc - III

‘Peace Will Not be Got Except by the
End of a Lance’

Cunha Alvarenga
For the mission of the Virgin of Orléans to be crowned with success, the French people had to correspond to the grace that was granted to them. Behold, therefore, the transformation of the soldiers, who knelt at the feet of the priests and received Communion together with that pure warrior who led them into battle.

Joan of arc chasing prostitutes out of camp

La Pucelle chasing the women of ill-repute
from the battle camps

Gambling, blasphemy, slander and, above all, immorality of customs were strictly forbidden in the camps. And the spirit of the numerous soldiers who came to fight with the Maid of Orléans from far and wide passed quickly from discouragement and moral laxity to enthusiasm and the practice of good customs.

In 1429 the siege of Orléans was lifted and Charles VII, with the Maid at his side, was brought to Reims to be crowned. On the march to Reims, the city of Chalons opened its gates and surrendered. One of her fellow countrymen of Domremy asked her in amazement where she got such great audacity. She responded: “I fear nothing, except treachery.”

After the coronation of the King in Reims, the Saint gave another proof of her profound humility: “I fulfilled what the Lord had commanded me to do: to free Orléans and to bring the King to Reims. If God my Creator wills it, now I can return home to my parents to serve them and to feed my flock.”

A true conception of power

For her everything returned to God. “Everything I do, I do by the order of God.” France is the “Kingdom of God.” It is God who inspired her with the unshakeable certainty that the Dauphin was the legitimate heir to the French Crown. Her whole life she was filled with the supernatural and the miraculous, from the miracle of her providential mission to the smallest details in carrying out God’s command.

Joan of arc at the coronation in Reims

Joan of Arc at the Coronation of King Charles VII at Reims Cathedral, July 1429

St. Joan of Arc had the true conception of power, as this episode shows:

One day, the Maid asked the King to bestow on her a present. When he consented, she claimed nothing less than the Kingdom of France itself. The King, astonished and after some hesitation, gave it to her and Joan accepted. She even asked that the act be solemnly drawn up and read by the King's four notaries. Then, pointing to him to those who were by, she said ‘Behold the poorest knight in the Kingdom.’

After a short time, in the presence of the same notaries, acting as mistress of the Kingdom of France, she delivered to God Almighty the gift she had received. Then, acting in the name of God, she re-invested King Charles with its governance and commanded that this solemn act of transmission be drawn up in writing. (Episode from the testimony of the Duke of Alençon in the Process of Rehabilitation)

Thus, by a fully valid official act in the spiritual and temporal orders, the Kings of France became, under a very particular title, delegates of God in the government of the State.

The courage that led her to martyrdom

Before Joan's appearance at Chinon, almost all the factions in the court of Charles VII, were supporters of the “peace of Burgundy.” This was a peace at all costs, a humiliating peace that implied the dismemberment of the Kingdom.

France, which was dying as a consequence of this false spirit of conciliation, was led by Joan of Arc to conquer and unite the Kingdom. However, the conspiracy around Charles VII re-emerged after the first successes of La Pucelle, and the evil counselors of the King once again attempted a reconciliation with the Duke of Burgundy.

St. Joan of Arc, however, knew that the greatest danger for France did not come from the English, but from the betrayal of the Burgundians. Peace could be made only if the Duke of Burgundy would attend the coronation in Reims, which would signify the recognition of the vassalage that Burgundy owed to the French Sovereign. Otherwise, said St. Joan of Arc, “peace will not be got except by the tip of a lance” – a fact the future would prove to be true in the bitterest possible way.

Joan of Arc captured by the English

The Maid, captured and delivered into the hands of the English

Charles VII was overcome by inertia and abandoned the heroine to her destiny in her attempt to re-conquer Paris and in her other skirmishes with the enemies. She was taken prisoner outside Compiègne by the Burgundians and sold to the English.

Abandoned and forgotten by those whom she had so greatly served, she continued giving proofs of her unwavering courage. Alone, trampled upon, completely humiliated, she faced the traps of her cruel judges in the iniquitous tribunal presided over by Bishop Pierre Cauchon, who led the interrogation.

“There is courage,” said St. Pius X commenting on the valor of Joan and other martyrs, “when faith is alive in the heart, when all the precepts imposed by the Faith are practiced; for faith is impossible without works, just as it is impossible to imagine a sun that does not give light and heat. Testimonials to this truth are the martyrs whom we have just celebrated.” (St. Pius X, ibid.)

Confidence in the Holy Church

St. Joan of Arc, daughter of conviction, had the great courage that is lacking in today’s world. Indeed, as the same Pope noted: “If the present generation has all the uncertainties and doubts of a man who is groping in the dark, this is a clear sign that it no longer treasures the word of God, which is the flame that guides our steps and the light that illuminates our paths.” (ibid.)

Joan of Arc on trial

Joan of Arc, fearless before a biased tribunal

To this courage, St. Joan of Arc joined an unbreakable confidence in the Holy Church of God, in this Church that cannot err and distributes the fruits of Redemption on earth. “I take as my witnesses God who sent me, Our Lady and all the Saints of Paradise. And I think that God cannot be separated from the Church,” she responded to her judges.

She asked to submit herself to the judgment of the Council of Basel that was meeting in Switzerland and to the Pope, but her appeals were denied by Bishop Cauchon, which could have stopped his proceeding.

On the 24th of May, the day she was burned alive, when she was summoned to deny her visions in order to save her soul and her body from fire, she still insisted: “Send the report of my actions and responses to Rome, to the Holy Father, to whom, after God, I submit myself.”

They accused her of rebellion, because she said during her judgment: “Regarding all that I am asked, I will submit to the Church Militant, provided her representatives do not command of me anything impossible. And I hold as a thing impossible to declare that my actions and my words and all that I have answered on the subject of visions and revelations, I did not do or say on the part of God. This, I will not declare for anything in the world."

The sad truth is that “she believed and understood that the Church (Militant) of which the interrogators spoke was composed of those ecclesiastics who were present there and had embraced the party of the English.” (Item 17, 2nd interrogation of the rehabilitation)

Joan of Arc executed by being burned at the stake

When the fire was lit, Joan asked a priest to raise Our Lord's Cross very high so she could see it

That irregular tribunal, however, did not represent the Catholic Church, the Church that would rehabilitate St. Joan of Arc and would raise her to the honor of the altars. The frankness and fearlessness of the Saint before her iniquitous judges showed that she clearly knew this difference in her lucid spirit.

She warned the simoniac Bishop Cauchon of the great danger to which he was exposing his soul by irregularly and unjustly judging her. Some days later, she told him: “You say that you are my judge, but I do not know if you peril. And I warn you so that if God punish you for it, at least I shall have done my duty in cautioning you.”

With this statement we see that she pardoned the injuries she suffered. She extended charity even to her most bitter enemies by desiring that by his iniquities Cauchon would not put his soul in danger of eternal perdition.

Devotion to Our Lady

Finally, St. Joan of Arc's strength, which she possessed in the highest degree, came from her tender devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, Mediatrix of all graces. Her war standard bore the words: “Ihesus Maria” (Jesus Mary), which she also wrote at the top of almost all her letters.

The smaller banner or pennon raised to indicate her place in the battle had a representation of the Annunciation with the Angel offering the Virgin Mary a fleur de lis, a symbol of purity and of France. We would have much more to say about the devotion of the Saint and of her family to Our Lady if we had more space. But now it is time to close these considerations.

May Our Lady who presents herself to the enemies of God as “terrible as an army set in battle array” grant to the troubled contemporary world graces like those that led to the salvation of France by the hands of St. Joan of Arc.


'Satan reigns due to the weakness of Catholics'

Today, when Progressivism's iniquity reigns in the Church, it would be well to remember the words of Pius X at the Saint’s beatification:

"In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked, lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics.

"Oh! if I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries.

"And this reproach can be leveled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries."

   - Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908

Triumphant Joan of Arc entering Orleans

Blason de Charlemagne
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First published in Catolicismo, July 1956
Posted July 11, 2018

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