The reason that I expend so much energy in sharing with the world my love and devotion for St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux – The Dove and Rose – is that I desire to share my love for God, for Mary, and for the Kingdom of Heaven with those two in eternity. I desire with all my heart to worship the Holy Trinity with them forever. I will tell you here why this is so.
Love permeates the atmosphere in the mystical Kingdom. Even more than that, Love is the very substance of that Kingdom. Just as we bask in sunlight and breathe in fresh air while standing on a hilltop over-looking a majestic valley with flowered meadows, fresh streams, deep lakes, and distant mountains reflecting off the waters; Love in the Kingdom embraces our exterior and draws inwardly to our souls. God is Himself that immutable and infinite love in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through the Son, the Word Who is Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, true God and true man, all things came to be, and He is therefore the substance of the Kingdom Himself. Jesus Christ defines there the very nature of our relationships with one another. To love each other in the Kingdom is to love each other in Christ. There is no other way to exist in the Kingdom, just as there is no other way to exist on earth than to breathe in the air. I love St. Joan, St. Thérèse, the entire communion of saints, the Holy Virgin Mary, and the whole angelic court with this Christ-centered love. This is why I travel the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed with these two saintly sisters. God created us as family, and I wish to share my joy with those whom I love and with whom I share spiritual blood through the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the essence of the Kingdom; yet, He is also in His person our divine King, exalted brother, and worthy redeemer. He is our High Priest. There is no other. We not only absorb His warmth, breathe in His sweet fragrance, and sustain ourselves on His flesh in the Holy Eucharist, but we love Him personally. All of us in the Kingdom are unified by Him and through Him as the End Principle, the Formal and Final Cause of our being, the Alpha and the Omega.
We are as uniquely varied as the flowers and trees in the fields of the earth; each of us is formed and situated in the mystical landscape so as to create a unified panorama that glorifies the Holy Trinity. This Kingdom is not of this earth; though, it reaches down to earth and joins with us in a unity consummated in love. “It is consummated,” were the final words of Christ before He died in His redemptive act of ultimate love.
This phrase, spoken at the height of His agonizing passion, astonishes us with its mystical beauty and power. At the apex of suffering, His love for us was “consummated.” That divine act on the Cross bound us in love with the Father through the Holy Spirit. After this consummation and its first fruit of the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit at Pentecost then gave birth to the Church through the Immaculate Heart of His Mother, the Virgin Mary. Forever before us with this birth is the mystery of suffering for love of Jesus. We are “consummated” in love with God through suffering. The lives of the saints bear out both the truth and fruitfulness of this mysterious divine proposition. St. Joan and St. Thérèse lived it to its completion.
This Church was consecrated in the Holy Spirit through Christ’s suffering and resurrection as the seed of the heavenly Kingdom on earth. Heaven and earth embrace at the Cross, in the Resurrection, and by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Heaven will now walk with us through the valley of tears that we might obtain our final End Principle Who is God. Mary is the mother of the Church and ours as well by virtue of Christ’s divinity and mystical brotherhood with us. He is our Divine King, and Mary is our mother and Queen. I expend so much energy loving St. Joan and St. Thérèse because I want to share this experience of Divine Love with them. Moreover to the real point, St. Joan and St. Thérèse are, in fact, the ones who taught this all to me. They brought this Love to me in the first place so that I could walk with them and share it back with them. They first came to me.
Thus it goes in the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary permeates and defines the very nature of redeemed human relationships. To be smitten by the Divine aroma is to then become a force of Divine nuclear power that explodes outwardly in the creation of supernatural human relationships that are beyond our nature but still draw us upwardly through grace to become what we typically call glorified. Thus, we may commune with the saints. We may commune because of the supernatural grace merited by Jesus Christ through that suffering and on that Cross. He alone makes our relationships in the Kingdom of Heaven possible. There is no other.
This is what my saintly sisters have taught me as we walk the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed, and I like it. Do you see now why I so enjoy their companionship? Even more, do you not know that you can walk with them as well? Does it strike you that I am among the least, and that St. Joan and St. Thérèse are calling many others of nobler spiritual lineage? Here is the essence of my mission with The Dove and Rose, that is, with St. Joan and St. Thérèse. I am tasked by my saintly sisters to be nothing that I might help them draw those who are greater into the Kingdom. Like St. Joan in her temporal life, I come from a spiritually peasant background in search of kings and queens, of princes and princesses. This is why I am persistent in sharing my devotion to my saintly sisters. To seek less here is to gain more for heaven. To be nothing is to inherit the Kingdom.
I share my love for these two saintly sisters because they are waiting to crown and robe you who are kings and queens yourselves in the Kingdom of God. I had a contemplative image one day whereby I could see St. Joan dressed in heavenly splendor and placing a crown on the head of one who had been glorified through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. St. Thérèse was herself standing beautifully robed next to this person. The noble soul being crowned was not me. It was one for whom my mission is tasked to me. This is why The Dove and Rose exists. St. Joan and St. Thérèse are looking for their brothers and sisters in the Kingdom. They want you to go to heaven. They want to share the Love that is Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. St. Joan and St. Thérèse want to share with you the fullness of the Kingdom of God, the seed on earth of which is the Catholic Church, born in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
For many years, I did not know that I loved St. Joan and St. Thérèse. It was they who first showed their love for me. They brought to me God’s Form and Purpose for my life which is centered in True Devotion to Mary as prescribed by St. Louis de Montfort. In that devotion, the adoration of Jesus Christ in His Eucharist given to us in the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the central Truth and guiding Principle to the created order. We observe that truth through a constant renewal of our baptismal vows, the acceptance of God’s revelation and the complete rejection of the evil one and the spirit of the world.
After my healing and restoration of mind, body, and soul on July 17, 2006 at the feet of the Virgin Mary and through the intercession of St. Joan of Arc, I spent roughly two years in almost daily Eucharistic adoration preparing myself to discern God’s will for my life. After then renewing my consecration to Mary in her chapel at the cathedral of King St. Louis in St. Louis, MO, I soon found myself back in Chicago and visiting Jesus again in adoration at the archdiocesan Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy located at the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka. It was there through Eucharistic adoration and through consecration to the Virgin Mary that this will was revealed to me.
I began writing by the intercession and encouragement of St. Joan. This writing began by recounting in poetry and poetic prose my life long journey in faith with St. Thérèse on a path I came to call The Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. A form and purpose began to appear, quite unconsciously on my part, that was mystically threaded together in the Holy Spirit and through the Heart of Mary. That form and purpose ultimately took shape as The Dove and Rose, a mission for those who likewise love St. Joan and St. Thérèse to tell the world about these saintly sisters’ love for souls and their desire to bring others to Jesus through Mary. It is their great reward to work these acts of grace for Jesus and Mary. After all, did not Thérèse promise us that she would spend her heaven in doing good on earth? Did not Joan rise as a dove from the pyre that took her earthly life and fly freely toward unoccupied France?
So happy does all this make me that I wish to share it back with St. Joan and St. Thérèse in that Divine nuclear explosion of love that moves outwardly as if driven by its own laws of Divine physics. My prayer to Jesus and to Mary is that I might simply hold tightly to this grace they have given me and to obtain to final perseverance in it. Rather, I should say, that in the spirit of True Devotion to Mary, I freely choose to give it to her that she may keep it safe as any mother would do for a child in danger. If I am so graced, and being nothing but a spiritual vagabond and street corner preacher for The Dove and Rose, I therefore place my hope in obtaining a cottage in the Kingdom. That cottage would be placed in the fields and meadows that make up the kingdom blessed of St. Joan and St. Thérèse. The Father’s mansion has many rooms. His Kingdom has many principalities. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My hope for living in the Kingdom is expressed by this poem, written as a prayer of petition to St. Joan and St. Thérèse:
I honor you today
Simplistic praise in heart
As one whose cottage sits
Among the fields possessed
By you who by the hand
Of God and Mother, too
As angels gathered ’round
Were crowned among the true
My only hope from God
And of Our Lady, too
My only prayer I seek
Besides my songs for you
Is that my place of rest
(That cottage in the field)
Will be that kingdom blessed
Of Joan and Saint Thérèse