Rorate Caeli

Notre-Dame de Paris: A Supernatural Intervention of the Mother of God for France?

Night of Fire

This night was not made for sleeping. At the sight of Notre-Dame in flames, emotion was too strong, sadness too intense, prayer too needed. And to think that just on the previous day I was still preaching under these millenary vaults where I had been ordained almost thirty years ago! I cannot express the sorrow that fills me when thinking of this archive of so many of our joyful memories disappearing in smoke...

Would you believe, however, that my consternation gave way quickly within me to a kind of enthralled gratefulness? Words that I have always wanted to hear seemed to spring miraculously from this deadly event. During these anguished hours, I seemed, in fact, to feel the old Gaul rooster wake up from his torpor.

How many magnificent unanimous words the media relayed in persistent and uninterrupted way! By tourists, onlookers, journalists, politicians, churchmen, aesthetes, firemen, ... people of all ages, from all backgrounds, from all backgrounds and from all beliefs... A mysterious communion finally seemed to reign over this people of France, who in the past few months had so sadly shown the world division and fractures. This unity, which a presidential message, planned for the same evening, would probably not have succeeded in renewing, Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, was fulfilling before our stunned eyes. And what if it was once again the supernatural intervention of the Mother of God who restored to our dear and old country the rush of hope?

Of course, there is the infinite pain of seeing these desolate ruins, the irreparable loss of so many works of art, and the despondency of facing the colossal task of reconstruction. And yet, in this Holy Week, leading to the victory of Easter, Christians love again being able to say that God can bring good out of evil. This disaster is the promise and the beginning of what rebirth? Are these still smoking stones, of which the Lord told us yesterday that they would cry, if we would not hear them, calling out for a sudden change and for faith?

Father Guillaume de Menthière

(Father de Menthière is a priest of the Archdiocese of Paris -- he preached the Lent Conferences of Notre-Dame in 2019. Text made available through different sources)