I have always believed in signs and omens, that we can glean meaning from the way something happens, that we can and should look deeper than just surface meanings for the events that unfold before us.
In my personal life, that often happens as finding a feather on the ground when walking the dog. As we walk, my thoughts invariably turn to whatever problems I’m trying to solve in my WIP (work in progress) and as I work out solutions during the walk I sometimes find a feather. It’s as if God is saying “you’re on the right path, now get back to writing.” My office is littered with bird feathers as a result. 🙂
But when the event is something as huge as the burning of Notre Dame the reading of the omen is very serious indeed. And I’m sure everyone sees something different—omens and signs are very subjective things, after all.
So let’s review what happened. The building did not collapse, but the spire fell. The relics and organ were saved. The pews untouched. Even the stained glass was unharmed. What burned was the spire, the 800+ year old wood from medieval forests.
What also happened was that everyone in the area, despite their race, religion, or creed, created a human chain to help save as much as possible from the burning building.
Notre Dame is a symbol of Western Christianity. Some negative voices came out saying bad things about God punishing Catholics. I don’t believe that at all. That is the typical knee-jerk reaction from people who 1) have hate-filled hearts toward anyone not exactly like themselves, and 2) do not look for the deeper meanings but light upon surface meanings only. So what are we to make of it if we look at this event through the lens of love and deeper meanings?
Here is what I feel and think: the spire was the part that burned. The spire is the symbol of reaching to God in Heaven. The parts that survived and the willingness to work together to save the structure point to God in the World.
I believe it was a reminder from God that we should not always be reaching up to God, looking up so that we see nothing else around us—No, now is a time when we need to reach out, not up. Matter of fact, we need to reach out and even reach down to lift up our brother in need. We need to create those human chains of selflessness.
That is what God wants from us. It is a reminder that faith without works is dead. Stop reaching up and start reaching out. There, in reconciling with your brother, you will be reconciled with God.
That is the message I got from the fires of Notre Dame. What deeper meaning did you see?