Yesterday, Catholics from all over the world watched in horror as the great Church of Paris, Notre Dame, was succumbing to flames! Over 800 years of Catholicism….the Masses, the Pilgrimages, the Benedictions and oh! so much more has taken place there!
Some of my own children have been there as they took part in the Chartres Pilgrimage… three times they visited the Cathedral…. a landmark of our Faith!
Some people have said, “Look guys, it’s only a Church. Christ is in our hearts.” And, of course, this is true…and a beautiful thing.
But, as Catholics, we know that this monument of generations of faithful Catholics, this House of God that Our Lord has resided in for centuries was more than “just a building.” It was a symbol of our Faith, standing erect and majestic, in spite of the troubles of the centuries that it has seen.
The secular news spoke of it….
“For generations, Notre Dame has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and, even as religion in France has declined for decades, it remained the beating heart of French Catholicism, open every day for Mass.” –
Notre Dame unveils some of the most coveted relics in Christendom. Among them is the Holy Crown, believed by many to be from the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus, and which the cathedral calls its “the most precious and most venerated relic.” Catholics have prayed with the Holy Crown for more than 16 centuries, according to the cathedral. -CNN
It was quite tragic to see and it reiterated what many of us faithful Catholics feel in our hearts about the Church these days:
I know that everyone has already said this, but the first thought I had seeing Notre Dame in flames is: This is a physical representation of what has already happened invisibly to the Church in France and in Europe. It seems the fire was caused by “renovation work,” just as the burning down of the liturgy, doctrine, morality, was caused by the “renewal” ….. -Peter Kwasnieski
Another quote, this time from The Catholic Gentleman:
My heart is broken. Today, we lost one of the most beautiful churches in the world. For 800 years in stood as a transcendent reminder of God’s presence among men. Built to house priceless works of art, holy relics, and above all the sacraments, it was made by a world that no longer exists, the world of Christendom in which the holy mysteries of faith permeated everything.
As I watched the images of one of the great landmarks of Christian Europe burning to the ground, I could not help but see a tragic metaphor for the Western church today. We are heirs to so much beauty, so much truth, so much faith. And what have we done? We have squandered it, rejected it, and collectively shaken our fist in God’s face, through bloody revolution and even more subtly through apathy. Rather than setting our eyes on heaven, like the great Gothic arches and rose windows invited us to do, we attempted to drag God down to us, to make him in our own image. We wanted him to accommodate our whims, our appetites, our sins. Plagued by horrific abuses, worldliness, and compromises, the church in the West, despite our veneer of respectability, is very much on fire. We have left our first love (Rev. 2:4), and we are reaping the tragic consequences. – Sam Guzman
I sent these words to my daughters and daughter-in-law as we were watching the fire unfold. Some of us were in tears, we all were heavy of heart.
My daughter-in-law wrote back….
A Message of Hope:
One of the reporters just gave an account of several horrible historical things like the Revolution and what this church has withstood over the ages and has SURVIVED!! He said, “Out of the ashes she will rise and RISE she will!” The power of our Christian faith will endure all. Have hope! Now if that isn’t inspiring,, I DONT KNOW WHAT IS!!!! That actually brought the tears on…
And it brought to mind….
Yes, WE WILL REBUILD.
This is what we have been working on throughout the years as we have seen the destruction of our Faith….the watering down of all the Church has stood for since Christ founded it.
We are rebuilding, from the inside out!
This is what we focus on here….learning about the Faith, the sacramentals, the saints, how to live the liturgy within the home and the significance of our relationships in rebuilding Catholic culture.
These things need to be taught and passed on because so much has been lost. These are the true treasures of the Church that we hold in our hearts and that we can live out in our everyday lives.
We are rebuilding Catholic Civilization from within…we parents, teachers, laborers, single men and women. We are renewing our Faith by educating ourselves on what has always been important as Catholics….what our Faith is truly about….And how we can live this out each day…in our families, our schools, our work places, our community.
We are heirs to so much beauty, so much truth, so much faith. We must not squander it.
Yes, Notre Dame will be rebuilt. But the real icon of our Faith is in us. And we have been rebuilding and will continue to rebuild. The Faith, our Catholic culture will come back but it is up to us.
This life is very short. Let us do what we can, with charity and zeal, to rebuild our beloved Catholic Faith!