Joan of Arc’s famous quote is cherished by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. While she did say something like this, it is important to understand the context of her original words in order to grasp the deep spiritual meaning behind them.
On impact, Joan’s quote makes her sound like a believer in self-aggrandizing personal empowerment.
But if we take a look at what she said and why she said it, a much different meaning emerges.
Joan was just about to start her mission of saving France from the English. With a tiny escort of three men, she prepared to ride from Vaucouleurs to Chinon where she would meet the Dauphin. Her perilous route lay through English-watched territory.
Before she set out, a woman approached her and cried, “How can you make such a journey when on all sides are soldiers?”
“I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me,” Joan instantly replied. “And if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to my lord the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!”
“I have God, my Lord.” Joan was not boasting about her own bravery or empowerment—quite the opposite! She was humbly expressing her total confidence in God.
She knew that she—an illiterate peasant girl—could not protect herself, let alone save her country. God watched over and guided her, and that is why she had nothing to fear. He had entrusted her with the mission of saving France, and He would enable her to carry it out.
This complete trust in God marked the whole of Joan’s life, military action, and infamous trials. And did you know that our beloved American author, Mark Twain, wrote about her? In fact, he considered his book, Joan of Arc, to be his best book!Written with the engrossing flow of a novel and the factual accuracy of a legal document, Twain’s most surprising work brings to life the faith, courage, and humanity of this heroine of the Church.