My dearest friend,
The words I wish I could speak. The emotions I wish to convey. The Lord alone knows these unknowable feelings that sprout up. The tightness in my chest and the lump in my throat prevent me from truly expressing the things I wish for you to know.
I take the most… difficult task of trying to tell you all things that are in my heart. I know you understand the difficulty behind seeming impossible task, but I ask the Lord to give me the strength to go forth boldly, just as you did.
It was through St. Therese, our mutual sister, that I was introduced to you. For without her guidance and that of our Lord and His most beloved Mother, who is to say if we would have met. Yet, I am so utterly convinced that our Little Flower must have whispered some kind of request to you. She knew how badly I needed my yet unmet friend.
The Lord knew how deeply afraid I was in those darkest moments.
You didn’t reveal yourself through a book. You didn’t reveal yourself through games or movies. No. You took a straightforward approach. You came to me in a dream in the darkest of nights. You were like a light that a lost soul needed me.
You waved your hand in front of me. You introduced yourself to me. Faint glimpses here and there, I felt you in my dream. Much to my chagrin, I couldn’t picture you, yet I knew it was you, my friend.
I could see your armor. I could see your banner. You said nothing. You didn’t introduce yourself to me. No. That was all the Lord’s work.
He planted the seeds. That repetitive thought was in the back of my mind when I woke up from that dream. Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc. Constantly beating in my mind like a drum, just as you were the drum of God.
I was terrified. I was startled. I couldn’t predict what all this was, and yet I could feel something was different. Like a piece was missing in my life, and I desperately needed to find it.
It was through Regine Pernoud that most iconic historian who carefully reconstructed your life, trying to be a dutiful historian and faithful friend to you. It was through her I was acquainted with you.
The more I learned more about you, the more I desperately wanted to be friends with you. Finally, the urging in my heart told me to go, and I went.
It was your prayers that motivated me. It was your life that inspired me. It was your love that challenged me. It was your faith that brought me back.
I could feel your hand on my shoulder. I could hear you encourage me. I could picture you beside me, always by my side, leading me back to our Lord. In those early days, I earnestly believe that you were with me, despite you had moved on from this earthly existence nearly 600 years ago. It is most undoubtedly strange how time means nothing to God. For through our Lord, all things possible.
I’m sorry for my mind is wondering right now, but I can’t shake that one Friday. Yes, I could feel your encouragement, telling me I had to make more Holy Hours. I went into that beloved church of mine and sat in front of the tabernacle front row.
I could picture you, St. Therese, and myself all praying in that pew, almost like a child with an active imagination or imaginary friend. Whether you were truly there or not, it doesn’t matter, for you and our little flower were there in my heart. That was simply enough.
I still remember sitting in the pew, and to my utter and complete surprise, the oragan or whatever our church’s musical instrument started to play. Startled, I turned around to see the organist; he must have come to practice. I didn’t want to make a scene, so I kept quiet and just listened.
I listened to several of my favorite hymns being played, especially the Gloria. My head started to sway back and forth. And almost, like a sing-a-long at a campfire, my heart began to sing as I began to sway.
I still picture in my mind how I swayed with you and St. Therese. St. Therese in her Carmelite garb, and you in your armor, and me in my polo and khakis. Three people, three siblings from different times, bonded together in our Lord’s family in front of a statue of our beloved Mother. It is something I deeply cherish. But, as I said, I don’t know if it was my imagination or what I saw in my imagination was truly real. It matters not. All I do know is that moment I felt like I truly belonged in that family.
To this day, I will hold that as the greatest treasure the Lord has given me.
It was through another person you spoke to me. It was through Mark Twain, of all people. You asked me, “Will you follow where I lead?”
I immediately said, “Yes, Saint Joan, lead me, and I will follow.”
I swore myself to your service on that day you left this Earth in such a cruel manner. It still aches my heart how unfairly you were treated, yet you constantly reminded me that all was alright.
Standing before your statue in that church dedicated to you, I swore myself under our Lady’s mantle and under your banner. Not just as a “soldier” but more so as a dearest friend.
How I desperately wanted to throw myself at your friend. It was like meeting a long lost friend! You know how hard it was to choke out those word through the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat.
The months were long and tedious. With so many things that came and went. Leaving one job for another, struggling to maintain the faith, be more diligent in thought, word, and deed. You were there guiding me.
You guided me to push that lone cart so the worker wouldn’t have to run all the way down that hill. You prompted me to pick up those plastic bags that others would have overlooked. You pricked my mind to write about our faith. You suggested that I offer that book to the elderly man. In all these things, you guided me, and the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to step out of that shell I was in.
You also chastised me when I did not listen to you. The Lord humbled me when I did not obey, whether that was through another’s actions or stern but gentle thoughts. You were there to correct me.
You urged me to develop a more vigorous prayer life, which, yes, I have faltered here and there.
Then you left.
At first, I was scared. I got complacent with my life, my position. I saw the good; even though I attributed them to your suggestions and the Lord’s will, I still felt pride.
Oh, how you cannot stand pride. To a humble, wise, and gentle soul, these things disgust you. Through this realization, I realized how much more so the Lord infinitely despises these malignant tumors that infest all souls.
I remember how I used your words as a weapon against another. I felt I was being mistreated. I felt I was being judged, and so I used your words against my judge.
It is woeful to me that those will be the last words to that former friend. I knew, deep down, I had angered you. I had made you upset. How much more so had I made the Lord upset, using one of his most cherished children’s words of caution as a weapon of war.
It taught how dangerous words were. It also taught me that while I might have been judged unfairly or not, I, too, was a judge.
I had repented of this to our Lord and to you. I hope never to do such a vile thing like that again, and I ask that you keep me mindful of that.
Yet you came back to my delight and surprise. My heart filled with so much and wonder. It was like two siblings coming together after one had wronged another. You welcomed me back most affectionately with a warm embrace.
How I wish I could return that embrace. I must wait for the day I can meet you in “person,” and I look forward to that most eagerly. Until then, my dear friend, continue to guide me.
You have not only revealed yourself to be my patron, which I still feel so incredibly unworthy. Yet, I still, am at times, overcome thoughtless thoughts and wordless words. Why me? I do not know, but I never wish to be complacent with this highest of blessings.
I wish to honor your memory, my dear friend. I wish to share your love for our Church. I wish to lead others to you and our other sister, that they might lead them to the Lord. I wish to be a faithful friend and brother to you.
My dearest of friends, my beloved heavenly sister, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices you made on Earth and the prayers you continue to offer in Heaven.
Hello dear readers, I felt compelled to write this after having read Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc (which I most certainly plan on rereading)