Notre Dame is a global symbol of Catholicism, Christendom, culture, history, and architecture. Today it stands in Paris, France, a stone façade with its interior filled with ashes. A fire yesterday threatened to raze the entire structure to the ground, but it was thankfully spared due to the tireless efforts of French first responders. Its spire and roof collapsed in the blaze, but the bulwark of Notre Dame still stands this morning.
This cathedral, a marvel of gothic architectural achievement, has stood on its foundation since 1345. It has seen The Crusades, The Black Death, World War I and World War II—its rooms and chambers and sanctuaries the ever-seeing eyes of the rolling boil of history. It withstood all of these events with a strength that mirrors its architectural immensity; yet on one random Monday evening in Paris it was threatened with complete and total destruction.
Regardless of any particular religious beliefs or affiliation, Notre Dame is an absolute wonder. Even among the ruins of its roof and spire and the charred remains of its interior, it remains a wonder. Ingenuity, imagination, and perseverance will guide its rebuild, and its spire will once again grace the Parisian skyline and greet tourists from around the globe.
I will be one of those this week, as I’ll be in Paris on Friday. I’m going to make my way to that grand cathedral that’s stood, and still stands, for nearly 700 years. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris has endured all that humanity has thrown its way over the centuries, and it will endure and overcome this as well.