The Cross Still Stands!

One of the first pictures that came out during the fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral was this haunting image:

Picture of the wreckage during the fire. Photo by Philippe Wojazer, from Reuters. Taken on April 15, 2019.

It is a haunting image that hints at the massive damage — indeed, when this photo was taken, there are embers that are clearly seen in the background, which are falling from the roof. There is smoke everywhere.

A picture which shows the embers falling from the burning roof while emergency personnel organize rescue efforts. Photo by Philippe Wojazer, from Reuters. Taken on April 15, 2019.

And yet…

The Cross still stands.

And not only does it stand, but the Cross is clearly visible. You have to squint to see the embers, but the Cross is clearly there, gleaming in triumph, even as everything seems hopeless.

It is a sight to behold.

But wait! If you squint, you can see something else beautiful… the silhouette of a statue underneath the cross.

Here is a picture of that statue:

Descent from the Cross, by Nicolas Coustou, c.  1723. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Descent from the Cross, by Nicolas Coustou, c. 1723. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

It is a depiction of the Pieta, in which the Virgin Mary holds Jesus Christ in her lap, after He has been taken down from the Cross. Her face is looking toward Heaven and her hands are outstretched, as if to say, “Behold, my son.” She invites us to gaze upon Jesus and to fix our minds on Him.

It was a statue that Nicolas Coustou made. Back in the day, he was one of France’s best artists and worked to create sculptures for the royalty. In the French Revolution, many of his artworks were destroyed. Yet, this one endured.

And now? After the fire, what does it look like? Here is one of the latest pictures, taken on April 16, 2019.

Wreckage in Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson, April 16, 2019. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Wreckage in Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson. Taken on April 16, 2019.

There is wreckage everywhere. The fire destroyed so much.

And yet, there is hope, even in the wreckage.

As we look at the aftermath of this great fire, we see the Cross gleam triumphantly, as well as Our Lady, her arms outstretched, reminding us to behold her son.

May we remember, especially as we go through Holy Week, to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ.

Notre Dame prie pour nous tous!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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