As I type this, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is burning.
There is still no word as to how much has been destroyed, however let’s just say that it looks really bad right now. Really bad.
Honestly, I am devastated.
And so, for today, I would like to feature an artwork that was inside the cathedral during the fire:
This artwork was one of several paintings depicting scenes from the life of Our Lady. After all, the words “Notre Dame” literally mean “Our Lady” and so artists decorated the interior with images of Our Lady!
In this image, the Visitation is depicted, or when Mary meets with her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary’s face glows with the Holy Spirit as she sings the song, known as the Magnificat:
46 And Mary said:“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;47my spirit rejoices in God my savior.48For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.49The Mighty One has done great things for me,and holy is his name.50His mercy is from age to ageto those who fear him.51He has shown might with his arm,dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.52He has thrown down the rulers from their thronesbut lifted up the lowly.53The hungry he has filled with good things;the rich he has sent away empty.54He has helped Israel his servant,remembering his mercy,55according to his promise to our fathers,to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
It is a triumphant song of praise that speaks of God’s strength throughout many generations.
And, coming into Holy Week, I can’t help but think of this Magnificat in the face of Mary’s profound suffering. Because she did suffer, and greatly: she lost her Son for three whole days. While most everybody else abandoned Him, she was there at the foot of the Cross with Him.
We have lost a cathedral, and many of us are devastated.
How much more so if we believed that we lost the Lord?
And so, as we begin this Holy Week, I pray that we may we cling all the more to Our Lord, just as Our Lady did.