If you have ever been blessed to go there, you were probably like me and dug out your pictures and dusted off your memories of it. It will be twenty-nine years ago this summer that I got to visit Notre Dame as part of a European tour I took. The photos I have are dark and grainy, taken with a small pocket film camera. However, they still convey the grandeur and beauty of Notre Dame.
I read of people dismissing the tears and sorrow many have shown over this loss. After all, they say, it’s only a building. But it is not just a building. It was a visible and physical location of praise and glory and peace and love given by the artisans and worshipers to our Creator and from Him back to us.
As a Catholic, a church is home. It is where we find peace and love and safety. That is why we mourn it. And, as much as Notre Dame was Catholic in every sense, it was also catholic. It was universal. It stood as an icon of beauty and testament to the ingenuity and talent of man. You didn’t have to be Catholic to be moved by the cathedral and appreciate its greatness.
News reports and government officials are quick to label the fire as nothing but a terrible accident. I have my doubts. With the number of churches across France being vandalized and destroyed recently, this seems like more than a sad coincidence that that greatest church in that country should burn during Holy Week.
Evil doesn't like goodness, truth and beauty. Whatever it was that caused this destruction, accident or intentional, there is one thing you can count on. Ultimately, you can destroy a place, but the cross still stands.