Nothing really great or noble or worthwhile in the world has ever been accomplished without sacrifice. I do not think it was only for France that God called Joan to the forefront of history, but for a much wider circle. I have thought about her often. I see her listening with first awareness to the voice in the light that told her to be a good girl, or waving her banner before the gates of Orléans, or standing beside her king in the great cathedral at Reims, or chained alone and frightened in the tower prison of Normandy, or parrying questions with the guileless simplicity and common sense that betokens innocence. Above all, I see her calling out to her Savior as the flames engulfed her.
How these images have sometimes chastened me for my overindulgence or concern with petty things! How often they have inspired me to see the grand potential God placed in the hearts and minds of his children. Is there anything we cannot do? We must never limit our God; we must never limit ourselves. He chooses to show us greatness in the meekest of souls that we may know it in our own. I keep reminding myself that Joan was, at heart, just like all of us. Divested of her armor and banner, you would find Joans in every hamlet and high school. When I think of her, I find myself wanting to cry out to the world how grand and magnificent humanity can be! In this instance, exemplified in a girl who never saw her twentieth birthday, but stirred by a cause, lifted by voices from God, motivated by love of country, and touched by compassion for the victims of war’s brutality, simply did unbelievable things!