The Philosophical Foundations of Le Royaume
The five points in the phenomenology of devotion to Joan of Arc
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We refer to the phases, steps, methods, and ontology of our devotion to Joan of Arc. Collectively, they describe the movement of grace in our soul, which can be followed only passively. We can cooperate but never force, save for the force of our contrite hearts. However, we find it helpful in the Foundations to break this "phenomenon" into its constituent components, step-by-step, to bring clarity to this graceful movement so that we might pass it on to others. That is its purpose. Here, we add one more component: the context by which we better communicate it and avoid misunderstandings.
We identify the following points around which to develop this context.
The first point is phenomenological. Our devotion to Joan is actualized by what we call a "divine glance," as referenced in the Foundations. There is no way to describe this work of the divine other than through the lens of Phenomenology, thankfully handed on to us by Edith Stein. This is a moment when by the divine glance, we encounter Joan as who she is in the Kingdom of God and not merely as who she was as a historical figure. It is a "phenomenon." Beyond our own subjective psychological forms, she becomes real to us in the arena of eternal forms in the mind of God. We "come to the knowledge" of Joan without first applying a rational process of deduction or induction. This knowledge of her does not come from a process premised on the knowledge of other things; it simply comes. We refer to this as the "phenomenological" in the Edmund Husserl and Edith Stein framework. According to Husserl and Stein, we understand that the phenomenon is objective and not merely a subjective creation of the imagination through the intellect. It revealed itself to our intelligence but did not come to us through the operation of the intellect; therefore, it cannot be a creation of the subjective intellectual mind.
The second point is spiritual. We come to "understand that which we formerly did not understand," a process described by Edith Stein as "knowledge." Now that we have the knowledge, the phenomenon of our encounter with Joan of Arc becomes a deliberate search for the fullness of that knowledge, a process Stein calls "spirituality." Edith Stein uses the analogy of seeing a mountain on the horizon and experiencing the inner call to discover what is in the distance. "There is something over there – what is it?" Now, a mountain of sorts has come into view on our horizon: the person of Joan of Arc. We walk toward it, wondering, "what is it?" Using Stein's definition, we now describe this as a "spiritual journey" through and to the heart of Joan of Arc in the distance. Grace has purposefully actualized us for what is now not simply an encounter. The phenomenological has become the efficient cause of our actualized movement toward "what is it?" and therefore now constitutes something more, a "spiritual encounter."
The third point is philosophical. Now on a journey of discovery, we realize that what has become a spiritual encounter with Joan of Arc requires a new set of glasses, that is, a new set of paradigms. The journey of "there is something over there – what is it?" can be fulfilled only by taking the path the other followed and accepting the paradigms they received. We must "believe as they believe" to follow the grounds they followed. We must "be bested" by the understanding and the conclusions of the other, or we must best them ourselves and reject them, as Edith Stein explains. Thus, we move toward "what is it?" by accepting Joan's point of view. In so doing, we add one more development. We become spiritual brothers and sisters with Joan. What began as "knowledge" now blossoms in this third step as both spiritual and relational with Joan through the efficient action of grace. We not only have "knowledge" but now are her spiritual kin because of our philosophical alignment with her. We come to know Joan as we never did before the first encounter.