While I am hesitant to read too deeply into the metaphorical significance of a Cathedral of such tremendous magnitude returning to dust at the onset of Holy Week, in a time of such turmoil, when corruption has come to head, when all we have felt in our hearts is how much we will not stand for what has gone on and what continues to be, I think it is safe to say this really, very much, feels wholly, completely, absolutely, and totally symbolic.
We will not rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral. The magnificence that took 200 years to point our eyes towards heaven no longer stands. We may one day build a physical structure that somewhat resembles it, but, the harsh reality is: Notre Dame has fallen.
Minutes after watching in horror as it collapsed in burning flames, I drove with my second grade daughter to teach her First Holy Communion class. Tonight, they witnessed with their eyes the inside of the Tabernacle, and for the first time, they tasted the unconsecrated Host, in preparation for their big day. They giggled and they squealed. They tried their best to remember which hand is right and which one is left. They wondered where to go and what to do next, and that the sign of the cross begins on their head, where the wisdom is, then their heart, where Jesus dwells, and that the Spirit will continually guide them on the left and on the right no matter which direction they will take. They skipped up the aisle and they played with the kneelers, they made funny faces when tasting the bread. They absolutely could not sit still. Nor should they. Receiving Jesus is a reason to dance.
As I watched each second grader approach the altar in earnest, I was reminded of something more important than any building or pew or altar, even the most ornate, the most iconic, the most impressive, the most spiritually and culturally significant. The Cathedrals that matter the most are the ones that we build in the hearts of our children. Do they know Him? Do they love Him? Do they know how much He loves each and every one of them? Do they know how he died, but more importantly, do they realize that HE ROSE. He Rose. He Rose for them and He Rose for me and He Rose for you. And He will Rise Again, for that very same reason; he loves us, even if and no matter what: He Loves You.
Our buildings may be crumbling. Our Church may feel like it is on the brink of turning into dust. So let us build it back up with the bricks of our faith. Let our love be what points high above to heaven and let it be what brings us back down to our knees, brick by brick, prayer by prayer. Each one of us a magnificent, irreplaceable work of His art. Keep the Faith, it Needs You.