I saw the headline come across my screen earlier today “Notre Dame on Fire.” My heart sunk. What a tragedy. An 800+ year-old symbol of the Catholic faith and Paris destroyed- just like that.
What a loss. It is not merely a building. It is an iconic landmark and example of dedication, amazing architecture, and history. It has been the setting for books, plays, movies, musicals, politics, revolutions and so much more.
As is the trend today, I wanted to post a few pictures of my experience there – not to say, “Hey look! I’m cool, too!” but to take a minute and reflect, and share some deeper thoughts.
My EC and I went to Paris in 1999. We debated about climbing all the way to the top, but it was worth eery step. Not often you can see a gargoyle up close.
Years later, in 2008, Chrissie and I met up with our daughter Emily and visited again.
Looks like the past decade has had its way with me.
Notre Dame is an example as to why some tourist spots ARE tourist spots. It is gorgeous, and cool. It is easy to forget that it is also a place of worship. When we were there, most people made an attempt at bringing down the volume out of respect. Others didn’t seem to care.
It is tragic to lose a place of worship – especially one so renowned. I don’t care if it is a Catholic cathedral, a Jewish synagogue, a Muslim mosque, a Buddhist temple, etc. The loss of ANY religious symbol in the world is a loss for the world.
The world needs more focus on religion, and it is such a statement that the end of days is approaching as we see churches (especially Christian) being burned all over the world, and the continuing flight from organized religion.
As I was thinking about the loss of that magnificent cathedral, I couldn’t help but personalize it. In 1846 – young by Notre Dame standards – the Nauvoo temple was dedicated. A mere two years later it was destroyed by arson.
My ancestors were involved in the building and the sacrifice surrounding the building of the Nauvoo temple. Most were gone before the temple burned, but I’m sure when they heard, it pained them.
Not that long ago – in 2003 – the Apia Samoa Temple burned to the ground. Hearts were broken as the saints who considered it “their” temple dealt with the loss.
My heart goes out to the people of Paris, and the members of the Catholic Church. Today marked a tragic day. Yes, it is “only a building.” It is temporal, it is temporary, but it means so much more than that.
We, as saints who have also lost our own holy and historical sites, should feel it, too.