Sunday, June 9, 2019

Joan of Arc

Excerpt from Joan of Arc
by Hilaire Belloc

Regarding Belloc's book, Frederick D. Wilhelmsen said: "And did he not write the finest panegyric to Saint Joan of Arc — none is better — and do it in an English that matched the French of her own time?"

"ONE SUMMER MORNING when she was thirteen years of age and some months more, she went into the meadows to gather flowers with her companions and they ran races together, till she heard a lad saying, "Your mother needs you." Joan therefore went back quickly to the house, for she was kept subject. But her mother wondered and said she had not summoned her; so Joan went out again from the door into the garden-close and stood there for a moment looking westward towards the near hills. It was noon.

"As she so stood a dazzling light shone by her at her right hand, supplanting the day, and she was overcome with terror; from the midst of the glory, came a Voice which spoke of the Faith and its observance, and at last gave order that she should seek the uncrowned King of France, dispossessed by his foes, and rescue him and crown him at Rheims. At the third summons she saw St. Michael in his splendour and about him the Soldiery of Heaven.

"She was so young, and trembling, that she told no one (save later, secretly, the Priest), but she turned to a new piety as she grew into womanhood, cherishing the poor, and at her prayers continually till her devotion seemed ridiculous to those about her. And she had vowed her virginity to God "so long as it should Him please," but on this also she held her peace.

"The summer past and the winter; her summoning Heralds from beatitude would not let her be, but urged her still. There came Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, who called each other by their names, and who were fragrant, speaking in low and lovely voices and still proclaiming her, and week after week, every two days or three, she lived in this companionship, consecrated, hesitant, impelled. There was the world about her, but there were also These: "I saw them with the eyes of my body, as plainly as I see you now; and when they went away, I would cry. For I wanted them to take me with them," ─ to that Paradise. Yet she still withstood them and was silent. Not till the third year did she yield and speak."

 ℘ Joan of Arc at Amazon

Share This