Sirens screamed in the French air this week as the firefighters battled the huge blaze in the Notre Dame Cathedral. The world watched, horrified, as the inferno grew, as the spire fell, and as the smoke plumes kept billowing into the French airspace.
I received a text from a friend of mine about it. At first, he wasn't very clear, so I thought the Notre Dame UNIVERSITY Cathedral was burning. One of my childhood friends goes to that university, and I had the privilege to visit it.
I quickly searched Google for information about the Notre Dame Cathedral to verify... but I was struck with the image of the two Parisian stone towers instead of the golden dome in Indiana, USA.
Tears immediately sprang to my eyes as I watched the footage. I visited Notre Dame (the Paris one) on a school trip with my high school. The rose windows were breathtaking, the songs the mass goers sung reverberated in the rafters, and the relics were awe-inspiring.
France has had a lot of interesting things happen to it in regards to the Catholic church. Our Lady of Lourdes, the Miraculous Medal, the building of Notre Dame, the French Revolution... so many horrible and beautiful things have happened in that country (and I'm only naming a few, here).
My big question is "What if the fire of Notre Dame could be a beautiful thing, too?"
In the Bible, there are many stories about how God destroys, humbles, and grounds things up in order to bring something more beautiful from the ashes. In the Book of Daniel, three men are given the hard choice of proclaiming their faith in God and dying by fire OR worshipping a false god and living a life they do not want to.
They chose to be burned alive instead of renouncing their faith. What happened is their faith was rewarded by God and an angel was sent to protect them from death. In this story, God saved them from destruction. But in other places, God uses destruction (of sorts) to bring about a bigger reward - a growth in faith, virtue, hope, charity, etc.
For example, we read the testimony of Saul being blinded (humbled) by God so he could become Paul, a man who had a true vision of Jesus. We read the story of the Jewish Temple being destroyed TWICE and being rebuilt.
There are so many examples of God letting death become a path of life instead of simple destruction. I mean, all Christians have to do is look at the death and resurrection of Christ to know that is true.
To put it simply, I think this fire was allowed by God to prune something already good to make it even better. The Notre Dame Cathedral is beautiful and has been growing in beauty for 800 or so years.
But God allowed this fire to prune the building so it can bear more fruit. God allowed this fire so the world can remember this is not just a tourist destination, it is the home of Christ and it needs to be restored.
God allowed this fire to help us understand where our hearts lie - are we horrified at the destruction of beauty? Or do we find ourselves indifferent, uncaring, unsympathetic to a house of God burning? (Click on that link, cuz it's important to discuss why beautiful churches should be restored after a fire like this, no matter the cost)
Let our faith be forged in fire, strengthened in the heat of adversity, and stronger for the next time. God, help us restore Your beautiful house of worship in the way You want it done. Guide people to donate only what they are called to by the Holy Spirit, whether it is in prayer, time, money, or fasting. Make beauty, God, from these ashes. We know You have done it before, and You are eager to do it again.