The Verrets are founders of Witness to Love: Marriage Preparation Renewal Ministry and co-authors of the handbook for mentor couples Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation of Marriages Survive and Thrive, published by St. Benedict Press, August, 2015.
Even the least “religious” of France and the world were praying that the endless fire would halt. Catholics who had long since left Mother Church were lamenting that they had intended to visit Notre Dame but had not. Millionaires and the French government pledge to rebuild no matter the cost — all of this shortly after Notre Dame had struggled to find funding for renovations. In a few hours the whole world turned from the noise of life and watched the cross that endures through the flames.
Tuesday morning the whole world awoke to find that the walls, iconic towers and rose windows were still standing, as they have stood over 850 years. Most striking of all was the image of the holy cross beaming near the altar under scorched pillars rising above the wet ashes and soot. Look at the cross that has endured!
Even most of the sacred treasures were saved by heroes, yet before April 15 the average person would never have known what relics Notre Dame housed. Secular media stood in grateful wonder that after such a catastrophic fire many of the recognizable features of Notre Dame are still majestically standing. Most notably the interior that was thought to be completely destroyed stood proudly in the morning smoke as the dawn crept through the rose window. The interior, the shell, the unique silhouette and the treasures endured!
This is strikingly similar to the faith of Catholics across France and Europe. They have been ravaged by secularism and cathedrals like Notre Dame have become seen only as historical landmarks with cultural and historical or artistic significance. However, tears and Hail Marys sung in French as Parisians watched their beloved Notre Dame in flames, President Macron standing with the Archbishop Paris pledging to rebuild Notre Dame, tell us that the interior shell of the Catholic faith in France remains among the ashes.
May the fires that ravaged Notre Dame bring forth and inspire a new springtime of the Church in France, where until April 15 secularism was a fire that seem to have won undoubtedly. In the grace of Holy Week we know God can make all things new. We pray that that France — the eldest daughter of the Church, the land of so many saints — can, like Joan of Arc, say, “Hold the cross higher so I can see it amidst the flames.“