Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc & Robert E. Lee

Photograph of Robert E. Lee Standing with Sword

There are many similarities between St. Joan of Arc and Robert E. Lee the two most obvious being that they were both great generals and they both possessed incredible faith in God. How appropriate, then, that Robert E. Lee's famous presentation sword, the one that he wore during his meeting with Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, is engraved on one side with one of Saint Joan's most famous quotes and spiritual truths:

"Aide toi et Dieu t'aidera"
(Aid yourself and God will aid you)
Statue of Joan of Arc on horseback holding sword

St. Joan of Arc lived out these words throughout her life. When Joan was just a young girl living in the small village of Domremy she impressed everyone around her with her devotion to God and her frequency of prayer however she did not stop there. Even though Joan was just a young girl of sixteen she felt compelled to try to "aid" her oppressed people trusting that God would reward her faith and action by giving France the "aid" that she had fervently prayed about. Joan explained to priests examining her when she began her mission to save France that "the soldiers will fight and God will grant the victory" which is another way of saying "aid yourself and God will aid you." Joan also told the Duke of Alencon, her friend and co-commander of the army: "Forward, noble duke, to the assault. Doubt not. The hour is good when God pleases. One must work when God wills. Work and God will work also."

Devotional by Chaplain David Chaltas

David Chaltas is known as the "Old General" for his living history presentations and unparalleled knowledge of Robert E. Lee and was inspired upon learning about the engraved words on Robert E. Lee's sword to write this devotional. David can be contacted at Chaplains of the Confederacy
The other day a dear friend sent me a link to an article about one of General Leeís swords. This particular sword was a gift from an admirer who lived in Maryland. It was presented to him in 1863. It is said to have been commissioned in Paris by Louis-Francois Devisme. The giver of the gift has been lost over the years but the sword has been preserved and refurbished to its original state. The sword is forty and one-half inches in length, possessing a lionís head on the pommel and has an ivory grip. The blade is inscribed, "Gen. Robert E. Lee CSA from a Marylander 1863." The scabbard is of blued steel. Both pieces are flawless and priceless. Its beauty is something to be seen to be appreciated.
The feature that I love is a saying: "Aide toi Dieu t'aidera", which interpreted means "Help yourself and God will help you." St Joan of Arcís famous saying was, "Aid yourself and God will aid you." This was the fabled surrender sword that General Lee wore when he met General Grant in Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Legend says that Lee offered Grant the sword but Grant declined the honor. That is not true, as Grant himself testifies. The sword was never offered.
My thoughts are how many times Lee as a Christian in gazing upon the words did he think about the saying and use it as motivation to continue? During adversity, surrender and even death, those words inscribed upon that sword must have been recalled and shared with others.
I am sure that Lee, Jackson, Howard, Stuart, Joan of Arc and others realized the importance of serving God and that He would help you, even through the most tragic of times. Christ called upon His father at the garden and on the cross. Joan prayed as she was burned at the stake. All men/women of vision realize that those He loves, He disciplines. Hebrews 12:11states, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Godís ways are mysterious and some day when we enter His kingdom, all things will be revealed. One thing I know: He will never abandon you and He helps those who help themselves.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is one which takes faith and action to achieve. I recall finding the verse when my mother studied through Emmaus Bible School. I must have been around eight years of age. It can be found in John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans: I will come to you." Being that my father died when I was five years of age, I found such comfort in the passage and I often thought God would guide my steps but I had to take the first step. When I stumbled and fell He would come to me. He would help me when I helped myself off the ground. Whosoever calls upon Him, He will answer. The book of Isaiah 58: 9 states, "Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ĎHere I am.í"
Friends, God also gave us another promise. Whosoever shall call upon the Lord Jesus Christ SHALL be saved. Once you obtain the greatest gift of all, you will feel the turbid veil of ignorance torn asunder and you will come to know that he is always with you, even until the end of the earth.

The Sword of Robert E Lee

by Father Abram Ryan

Forth from its scabbard, pure and bright,
Flashed the sword of Lee!
Far in the front of the deadly fight,
High o'er the brave in the cause of Right
Its stainless sheen, like a beacon light,
Led us to Victory!

Out of its scabbard, where, full long,
It slumbered peacefully,
Roused from its rest by the battle's song,
Shielding the feeble, smiting the strong,
Guarding the right, avenging the wrong,
Gleamed the sword of Lee!

Forth from its scabbard, high in the air
Beneath Virginia's sky--
And they who saw it gleaming there,
And knew who bore it, knelt to swear
That where that sword led they would dare
To follow--and to die!

Out of its scabbard! Never hand
Waved sword from stain as free,
Nor purer sword led braver band,
Nor braver bled for a brighter land,
Nor brighter land had a cause so grand,
Nor cause a chief like Lee!

Forth from its scabbard! How we prayed
That sword might victor be;
And when our triumph was delayed,
And many a heart grew sore afraid,
We still hoped on while gleamed the blade
Of noble Robert Lee!

Forth from its scabbard all in vain
Bright flashed the sword of Lee;
'Tis shrouded now in its sheath again,
It sleeps the sleep of our noble slain,
Defeated, yet without stain,
Proudly and peacefully!

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