Notre Dame de Paris, a medieval Catholic cathedral in Paris, France, is in flames today. My heart bleeds as eight centuries of history is ablaze. I think of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Quasimodo’s words “sanctuary, sanctuary…”
I feel lucky to have visited Notre Dame last December. We never think about the brevity of things. We humans take many people and places for granted. I recall planning to go back in the summer when the warm weather wouldn’t have made me shiver so much at the top of the cathedral. Paris this past December was pretty cold.
I told my kids about the fire, and I could tell they regretted having complained that they had to climb the three hundred plus steps it took us to get to the top of the cathedral and see the gargoyles.
I’m sad for the people who hold Notre-Dame as a place of worship, not just a touristic site, and today feel they lost their sanctuary.
“He therefore turned to mankind only with regret. His cathedral was enough for him. It was peopled with marble figures of kings, saints and bishops who at least did not laugh in his face and looked at him with only tranquillity and benevolence. The other statues, those of monsters and demons, had no hatred for him – he resembled them too closely for that…”