Like many of you, I was glued to my computer watching the burning of this magnificent house of God. I was moved to tears to see the Parisians standing together praying and singing hymns as they watched this beloved part of their lives burn. Notre Dame was always the cathedral of the people and the people wept this week.
I was blessed many years ago to visit Notre Dame and, like many before me and after, I was awed by what I saw and felt while there. I have been online looking at the history and the many stories of this Gothic masterpiece.
I have learned that it took almost 200 years to build by thousands of craftsmen who worked their whole lives on it knowing that they would not live to see its completion. I learned that it took over 50 acres of old growth Medieval forest to provide the wood to build it. I imagine the extreme difficulty and danger involved to build something of that size without large cranes, trucks, and equipment that we associate with large construction.
I have contemplated its tremendous artistic and architectural significance as well as the years of history that passed before its doors. Started in 1163 and completed in 1345, Notre Dame witnessed wars, plagues, political and social upheavals, and all the great music, art and literature that has come since its construction. It has withstood Medieval times, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, potential destruction just before Napoleon and in World War II, a man on the moon, and today's world of cyber technology. From the news reports, it appears that it will rise again, different yet still inspiring.
What I have contemplated the most, however, are the millions (or billions?) of prayers that have been prayed before its altars. How God must have listened to the faithful through so much in over 800 years. I am awed again. And I pray that this mere building built in such a way as to glorify God for centuries will rise again to house the faithful, the hurting, the curious.
My thanks to whoever paired the above quote with the photo.