For my French class, I am required to write a short essay about a prominent figure in French history. I chose Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), firstly, because she is a woman, and there are very few of those who are prominent in French history, and secondly, because it is claimed she spoke to God.
Historians have often speculated about her mental health, and why the king of France would have even listened to her.
Some have suggested that she was suffering from epilepsy or schizophrenia, but transcripts of her politically oriented trial for heresy, at the hands of the English, clearly show that her responses were not those of a person suffering from any such afflictions (at that time, at least).
As to why the king listened to her, historians speculate that by that time the king was desperate to try anything, as all previous attempts to route the English from Orléans had failed. It is also suggested that, as his own father, Charles VI, had been known as “Charles the Mad”, Charles VII could recognise in Jeanne someone who wasn’t mad.
Yet, the fact remains that Jeanne had claimed to have had visions of saints and the Archangel Michael, and to have been receiving direction from God.
I sometimes wonder what the reaction of the ‘powers that be’ would be, if Jeanne turned up today with the same claims.
Although there is some acceptance of spiritual communication in some quarters of our society, there are still many who, even today, would consider anyone making such claims as crazy, or worse still – in league with the devil, as some did, in Jeanne’s day.
In fact, Jeanne was a very pious person, who was an ardent Catholic.
In today’s age, however, there are still those who believe that anyone who doesn’t follow their own beliefs must be in league with the devil. Recently, I saw a post on Facebook which included ‘saying the rosary’, among other things, as devil worship. I am not Catholic, but I believe that whatever works to bring a person closer to God is a good thing. I have no idea if saying the rosary helps with that or not, but I am not the one in a position to judge, and neither is the Facebook poster.
Only the individual person and God are in such a position.
In Jesus’ day, and even in Jeanne’s, anyone who acted a little strange was considered to be acting in league with the devil. Jesus healed many people by “casting out demons”, but I guess in Jeanne’s day, they were considered past helping, and had to be burned at the stake. It seems that our Facebook poster considered that the only way to help such people was to point out their failings to them, causing them to see the error of their ways.
I wonder what our Facebook poster would make of Jeanne.
I also wonder how many people in our mental health facilities are merely going through some sort of spiritual awakening, which, due to pharmaceutical intervention and programming by the psychiatric establishment, are stuck in some sort of closed loop, unable to become the mouthpiece for God that they came here to be.
How can a person go through a process of emergence, when they have been told that the process which they are undergoing is a life-long, incurable, condition? The mind is a very powerful thing.
I wonder what might have happened to Jeanne if she had been told by someone in authority that she was mentally ill, and would be for the rest of her life. I wonder what would have become of her, if she had taken mind-numbing drugs which also created side-effects in her body.
I guess we will never know the answer to these questions, but there is something else that I wonder.
I wonder how many of those of us living today suppress our natural abilities to communicate with saints, archangels, and God, because we have a genetic and past-life memory of being persecuted for being a witch, a heretic, or devil-worshiper.
This may seem an insurmountable obstacle to true enlightenment in our society, but remember that, with God, all things are possible.
If we desire a society where people can communicate with spiritual beings and God, without fear of persecution or being labelled insane, we just need to ask God for such a society, and believe that it is possible.
Remember, the mind is a powerful thing.
With the power of Jeanne’s mind, and her unwavering faith, she helped her French king achieve a victory, if somewhat short-lived. With her powerful mind and unwavering faith, she changed the course of history, and will be forever fondly remembered by the French people as Sainte Jeanne d’Arc.
What sort of legacy can we leave in this world if each of us can harness the power of our minds with unwavering faith?