The Dove and Rose - Chapter 11
My life with Ste Jeanne d'Arc began January 6, 1412
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(This meditation was given to me on December 8, 2011, during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the most holy and glorious Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and of earth. It is an answer to a prayer conceived in the Spring of 2011 when I knew not how to proceed. My heart pours forth in gratitude to the Holy Virgin, Ste. Jeanne d’Arc, Ste. Thérèse de Lisieux and St. Philomena for their intercession with Jesus Christ our Lord, Who esteems these intercessions greatly, even as He lovingly and patiently hears my prayers.)
We celebrate Ste. Jeanne d’Arc’s birthday on January 6. It was, as most accept, in the year 1412. There are some questions and uncertainty about all of this. Not everyone agrees on the date or even on the year. It seems pretty strange to us; in fact, it seems almost implausible in the modern age so revolutionized by technology that we could not know with a high degree of certainty the birthday of the most documented figure in medieval Christendom, indeed, perhaps of all time.
Volumes and volumes of notarized, direct quotations from her inquisition trial are available. Yet, in the ancient days of medieval Europe, birth and baptism records were less well maintained than in our age. This is why a child such as Jeanne would have a multitude of Godparents so that throughout their lives, someone would be around to testify about the matter on their behalf. We should not be too surprised to discover that when asked by her inquisitors in 1431 how old she was, Jeanne answered with something to the effect of “Nineteen, or thereabouts.” Even our child heroine could not state with exactitude her own age. Still, though, whatever the specific data point is, we can be sure of one fact. The history of France, Western Civilization, and the Church would be forever changed by Ste. Jeanne d’Arc after that date of January 6, 1412.
For even the most casual student of European or Church history, the last statement above cannot possibly raise an eyebrow. Even as a young man reared on the high plains of Oklahoma, far away in both time and space from the events surrounding Jeanne d’Arc in Europe, there was at least some vague store of information about her in my head. From where it had come, I do not know.
However, what may be “eyebrow-raising” is that my life on earth also began in the village of Domrémy on January 6, 1412. In time and space, I was born much later, on February 18, 1959. Yet, we know that God conceived our Form in His thoughts from all eternity before the foundation of the world. What remains to be actualized for our Form to drop into the time-space continuum, according to Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, are the efficient and material causes of creation that will meld together by the ordination of the Holy Spirit to create the end, the Final Form, which represents the ultimate meaning of one’s life in the eternal. In other words, with the activation of the efficient and material causes, we begin to become who we are, and being rational creatures with free will, we will know that this is so.
A chair is formed first in the mind of its creator before any visible, physical manifestation comes forth. Once the Form, or non-material concept, is established (“It shall be a cushion type of chair for reading”), the efficient cause is required. A chair does not just spring into existence. Someone must act to bring about its construction, which would be the efficient cause of its creation. Next, the efficient cause will require material, such as wood, foam, and fabric, and these would be the material causes. When completed, the chair has reached its Final Form, sitting elegantly by the fireplace and under the reading lamp, representing its unique purpose in the world.
Well, you may see in your mind now why I say my life on earth began when Jeanne d’Arc was born. She is and was chosen from all eternity in the mind of God to be my chief efficient cause for my journey through time and space toward my final Form, or reason for existence.