The point making up the second pedagogical methodology of the Dove and Rose (St. Joan and St. Thérèse) devotion is:
“Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary will synthesize the particulars of knowledge and desire we offer Him to form them into a higher state of understanding and a way of living through our desires which is more pleasing to Him. In other words, God will take our efforts and mold them into His plan for our lives. We will begin to become who we are, and we will know that this is so.”
The second pedagogical method of the Dove and Rose encompasses the point referenced above. It is difficult to imagine a more edifying disposition. Having consecrated ourselves (implicitly if not yet explicitly) to God and Mary with our saintly sisters Joan and Thérèse, in the principles and through the acts of the first pedagogy, we are now moving toward a new horizon. As we previously alluded, there is a sense of something magnificent on that horizon, though its Form remains somewhat obscured and mysterious. (1 Cor 13:12) Through the eyes of the soul, that is, the eyes of faith as described in the first pedagogy, we understand, though do not yet quite fully “see,” this magnificent presence by the affect it has on those who journey the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed before us. We observe their wonder from afar and know that they desire this Form (which is the Kingdom, which is Love, though we may not yet fully grasp this) with all of their being, just as we began to experience also in the first pedagogy. A description of this phenomenon can be partially though imperfectly grasped through some of the poetic prose in the Dove and Rose meditations:
“Those at the front
Who are getting close
Break their rhythm – and run
Toward it with joy”
(From: Journey to Christendom – The Freedom Dance)
This Form that we know in the depths of our soul and toward which we see those before us drawn is the Kingdom of God. There is a reason for our journey, and a Divine purpose for the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. The substance of the Trail is the pedagogy itself. The Trail is our path of learning.
“A trail is magical, lively, and fun
It is childlike the way it hides from some
The mystery of endings strange unknown
It helps if you’re not travelling alone
Through woods, by ponds, or hidden fox’s lair
The scheme of these by which I do not care
Yet never have the end your only goal
Relax and slowly go in warmth or snow
A trail, you see, is God’s own mystery
The point of which we learn by journeying”
(From: Little Flowers and Fiery Towers)
Ancillary to this, we now know that our devotion to and relationship with St. Joan and St. Thérèse is no accident, nor is it merely random, subjective emotionalism. There is a reason for this devotion. It has a purpose in the Divine plan for our salvation. It is objectively real, though our own experience of it is unique and subjective, in the same way that any relationship with another person has both an objective and subjective aspect to it. That we know another who is objectively real makes that relationship objective. How we experience that relationship, how it moves our intellect and heart, is more subjective. In the same manner, journeying on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed with Sts. Joan and Thérèse is an objective reality grounded in Truth, while our own experience is uniquely subjective.
The Trail of the Dogmatic Creed leads to the Kingdom of God, and our saintly sisters Joan and Thérèse are with us pointing to that Kingdom in the distance. We are drawn toward it as we see those who approach it in the distant fields ahead “break their rhythm” (of the Dance of Freedom) “and run toward it with joy.” We have been given by God, through the maternal care and privileged Queenship of Mary, a true sense of the Kingdom we seek to inherit and which we began seeking in the first pedagogy. The Holy Spirit is opening up to us a vision of that which we began to desire as we came to understand our pilgrimage. This should serve as our first meditation.
Always aware that we are called by the Holy Spirit in the dignity of our human intellect seeking Truth and the freedom of our will seeking Happiness, neither of which can be satisfied outside of God Who is the First Truth and final Form of Love, we become mesmerized in the inductive pedagogy. Like children, we walk, play, and share with our saintly sisters and our loving mother, Mary, who is also our glorious Queen. We pray to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in their company and with their aid. We come to love God and to be consumed with the desire for union with Him. We wish that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would be our heart, that His Precious Blood would be our blood, and that His sufferings on the Cross would be our sufferings. We wish to die that He may live in us and that we would become one with Him.
In unspeakable and indescribable wonder, we understand now through the inductive integration of these experiences into a unified concept, that Jesus is calling us to Himself through a communion with the Saints in friendship and love. In our imperfections and incompleteness, we turn to our now glorified sisters, Joan and Thérèse, and with them to our mother, Mary. Our desire is to become part of their family, to be dressed in their colors and robes; to think, speak, and act as they do. We desire to love Jesus as they do in the Holy Spirit and through Him to love the Father in heaven. Through this union of hearts and minds in familial communion with our saintly sisters, we cross over a thresh hold on the Trail where before us opens a mystical landscape, and as we stare, we are struck by a sense of beautiful variety contained in the unity of the panoramic vision. Our own St. Thérèse can best explain this to us:
“(Jesus) opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower he has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments, and the fields would be no longer enameled with their varied flowers.”
“So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases him to create great saints, who may be compared with the lily’s or the rose; but he also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at his feet to delight his eyes when he should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as he wills, the more perfect they are.”
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux, translated by Michel Day. (1951). The Story of a Soul; The Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. P.2.)
This should serve as our second meditation.
Our sense of the Form of the Kingdom of God toward which those before us are drawn and toward which we ourselves feel such desire, along with the panoramic view of Thérèse’s “book of nature,” strike us yet again with astonishment as we now know that the Holy Spirit, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is synthesizing our subjective experiences on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed into an integrated whole of conceptual understanding. We grasp that we are uniquely individual, like a snowflake falling from heaven to rest on the petal of a rose; yet, we are at the same time integrated into the Kingdom with our saintly sisters such that we all make up the unified whole of the landscape containing a multitude of individually unique snowflakes, flowers, trees, fields, rivers, lakes, valleys, and majestic mountains. It is a “new heaven and a new earth.” (Rev 21:1) It is the Kingdom we were told to seek in the first pedagogy.
“The March of Hope
The March of Joan of Arc
With saintly sister Thérèse
Made its way toward the kingdom
My view was larger than life
The panorama before us was brilliant
The mountains were tall
And the valleys echoed deeply”
(From: Seek First the Kingdom – The March of Hope)
We are becoming as children (Luke 18:16) whereby the inductive pedagogical process of the Holy Spirit through the Immaculate Heart of Mary ever so gradually develops the mystical concepts that are both objective in their Truth and subjectively experienced by each child. Together in our unique beauty (newly adorned in the colors of our saintly sisters, whose hues and tones which when blended together make “the most beautiful color in the heavens”), we are one, unified landscape. As Thérèse has enlightened us, we are not all roses or majestic oak trees, but we are all beautifully complete.
Thus, like children who come to understand the conceptual truths of nature through the inductive learning process, we come to understand the conceptual truths of the supernatural through our inductive spiritual experiences in the ordinary affairs of daily life with Sts. Joan and Thérèse. As children we know instinctively that the unified concepts we are taught could not be so finely integrated and meaningful merely through the processes of our natural reasoning. We grasp that Reason exists in these metaphysical concepts, but this Reason is nevertheless super to our nature. It is “super-natural.” We could not have grasped the concepts on our own.
As a child can neither doubt nor reject the objective validity of a concept once inductively learned, rather, he exclaims, “ah!”, we likewise cannot doubt, once learned, the objective validity of our newly discovered super-concepts. The Holy Spirit has now begun, with the loving, intercessory care of St. Joan and St. Thérèse, to raise us up through the dignity of our human intellect and free will as promised in the first pedagogy. This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit synchronizing our day-to-day learning experiences into a conceptual understanding of what our Form is to be in the Kingdom of God. We are beginning to learn who it is that we are and where it is that we belong in the mystical landscape.
“Mystical France, I love your saints
They hold us both, to us impart
Kinship and joy that renders you
The sanctuary of my heart”
(From: Little Flowers and Fiery Towers)
This should serve as our third and final meditation for the second pedagogy.