The whole watched, riveted in grief and disbelief, as the historic Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed by a great conflagration. Many could not help avoid connecting the tragedy to the general breakdown of morals throughout the world: the blatant lies and duplicity that leaders foist upon their own people, the sexual abuse scandal in high places in the Church, the unrelenting greed and rapacity of businesses, the shameless behavior of celebrities and the famous. It looked like God was ready to abandon the world. Indeed, people was asking and wondering what all this meant. Is it indeed one of the signs of the times portending the end of times?
Among the faithful, it was not lost among them that this happened at the beginning of the Holy Week. It is a clarion call to repentance and the conversion from our sinfulness. It is striking that the secular society that France has become would recoil in grief and loss seeing the venerable historic cathedral burn down to ashes. Somehow the event seems to have awaken an sensitivity for the ineffable that has lain dormant in the soul of France for a very long time. Indeed, even as the fire was raging people from all walks of life and of various religious and political persuasions gathered around the vicinity in prayers and hymns. Something was stirring in their innermost selves. Someone was moving within them.
Fire is destructive but it is also only when men learn to harness fire that we lifted ourselves above the rest of the animal kingdom. We gained our civilization in the crucible of destructive fire. In the paradox of human existence, Christ ,whose passion, death, and resurrection we commemorate during Holy Week, has shown us that through darkness we come upon light; through death we come upon life; through love we overcome all.