We were watching a programme the other night on Joan of Arc and I reflected that it is very rare for me to entirely espouse the English point of view. Then I figured out why I was so hostile to her. It’s the God question.

Joan of Arc, whether you admire her or not, was an extraordinary person, who as a teenage girl declared that God had sent her with a message for the king of France. She was sent to take charge of his army and to fight the English. God would be on their side; she would drive the English out of France, and he then the Dauphin, would duly be crowned king of France in their traditional place for coronations which was Rheims Cathedral. He had been unable to be crowned at Rheims (the French equivalent of Scone (pronounced Scoon) in Scotland as it was in the hands of the English.)

God knows the English have a habit of going where they have no business, and the fact that I share their view of Joan does not imply any sympathy for their cause in France.

But I have the greatest suspicion of people to whom God has entrusted a mission, (allegedly, generally by themselves) especially one which requires other people to carry out this mission as well. I think such people are either deluded or charlatans. I think personally that Joan of Arc made it all up – that she was both attention seeking and delusional. Why should she (or indeed anyone) have a hot line to God? Why should she be in charge of the army when she had no military experience? France (at that time) was partly under English occupation. Her visions were proved to be in error and she (God’s own woman of high destiny according to her) fell into the hands of the English and was burnt at the stake as an heretic, the English not being magnanimous in victory.   She certainly had ‘bottle’ but she lacked the guile ad strategic planning and caution necessary to be a military success.   Her chief talent seemed to be in self publicity.   She was a celebrity in her day

Incidentally in these cases where the Virgin Mary has allegedly appeared to some peasant girl, she never has anything in the least novel, or interesting or news-worthy to say, but just repeats such platitudes as might occur to an uneducated person. I am not so unspiritual as to deny that mystical experiences do exist. However, I firmly believe that these experiences are for the see-er of the vision alone, and he should not attempt to subvert other people to his vision. Neither do I agree with the medical profession which tends to the view that these experiences represent a brain malfunction, an aspect of disease (though they may do in some cases.) Every person who dreams a dream, or sees a vision, has to integrate that experience into their psyche, however best they can, or dismiss it as of no account. But it’s a problem for them alone.

I completely disapprove of the habit of mankind of declaring people to be saints. Who are we to say? Our own behaviour falls so far short that I doubt if we could recognise a saint (supposing such a thing exists.)

The whole thing reminds me of the woman who in a dream was being chased by her psychiatrist. She kept running and running in increasing terror until eventually she was backed into a corner and in despair said over her shoulder to her pursuer: What are you going to do to me? Lady, he replied. It’s your dream.

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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