This week, one of the most beautiful churches in Christendom caught fire. The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris burned for 9 hours on April 15, 2019 as the people of Paris and the world watched in horror. How could this beautiful church burn? As I frantically searched for news, watched live streams of the courageous firefighters skillfully and systematically seeking to put out the fire, tears streamed down my face.
My husband, Richmond Catholic Theatre co-founder Richard Arena, and I had the privilege of visiting Notre Dame in 2013, when we backpacked through parts of Europe. This gorgeous cathedral stands on an island in the middle of the Seine, a place that Notre Dame has occupied for 850 years. There she has stood, her architecture and artwork all designed to draw the eye skyward, to God the Father. Her stained glass windows depicting the history of salvation, with the magnificent Rose windows famous for their impact on conversion -- the playwright Paul Claudel credits the North Rose window for his conversion, converting on the same spot as seeing it.
What is it about this cathedral that has the world so captivated and devastated as we watch her burn, praying that she doesn’t collapse?
When I think about the time, energy, creativity and dedication that went into the building of the cathedral over the course of the [roughly] 200 years, I want to weep. These men and women poured themselves into creating this cathedral and filled it with such beauty out of their love of God. They offered their talents for the glory of God. This cathedral testified to their love of God and gratitude for the gifts that He bestowed upon them. Something as seemingly senseless as a fire pays no attention to that sacrifice of self that these men and women offered 850 years ago.
The heart wrenching act of witnessing the destruction of beauty is timely for Holy Week.
Christ is infinitely more beautiful than Notre Dame Cathedral and His death is infinitely more tragic than this horrific fire.
His resurrection is infinitely more Glorious.
Thus, as we assess the damage and ashes of Notre Dame, let us allow our Blessed Mother to do what she has always done -- point to Christ. Lift your eyes to Christ this week. Recognize Him in His infinite beauty. As He dies upon the cross, weep with Our Lady. Then, run to the empty tomb on Easter morning! To God be the Glory.
#stjoanofarc #prayforus#ourlady #prayforus #notredamedeparis #prayfornotredame
Donations for the rebuilding of the church can be made directly to the Friends of Notre Dame (a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization) at the following address: