Rise, Our Lady
As flames consumed its spire, I thought of Notre Dame as a pyre.
What greater destruction could have been construed, so deeply embedded in the symbolic soul of Paris? What more sumptuous a sacrifice could be offered? What more deeply marked Easter, with resurrection now the talk of the town? And on the third day, she rose again.
The historic immensity was met with emotional intensity.
The world wept. Those overly suspicious stirred up hostilities. Within hours, France’s greatest fortunes pledged hundreds of millions of Euros to reconstruct the monument, while the nation’s proletariat railed that such funds should be used to better their miserable lives.
Bernard Arnault, head of the LVMH luxury empire, raffled the giving game with his promise of 200 million Euros. Blessed be that democracy that allows free men to give freely even when the mob manifests discontent.
We may not readily associate Notre Dame with luxury, yet it is as superfluous to spirituality as champagne is to thirst. The restoration of this timeless cathedral recognizes awe-inspiring beauty. As such, it need not denigrate the indigent. To open our eyes to the beauty and bounty of the world does not imply that we close our eyes to human misery.
From the pyre must rise again a lofty spire. By this noble aim, the destiny of France is defined.
The above text is an excerpt from the book entitlted "EXQUISITE: Facets of my France" by Carsten Sprotte, available online here.