As Holy Week began and the Church was entering ever more deeply into the Passion of Our Lord, Divine Providence permitted an event that can serve as a deep allegory of our times.
Yesterday in Paris (Monday of Holy Week), the Cathedral of Notre Dame, icon of the Age of Faith and spiritual heart of France, erupted in a blazing inferno. Viewed from the air, the great cross shape of the cathedral could be seen ablaze.
In addition to its universally recognized towers and stained glass rose windows, Notre Dame also housed many priceless spiritual treasures, including the Crown of Thorns. St. Louis IX (1215-1270), King of France, brought the Crown back to France from the Crusades and commissioned the Sainte-Chapelle in the palace across the road from Notre Dame to house this incredible relic of the Passion. Since the French Revolution, the Crown of Thorns has been kept in the cathedral.
According to multiple news sources, a priest and several Parisian firefighters braved the flames to enter the building and rescue the Crown which Our Lord chose for His Kingship. According to reports, the linen tunic of St. Louis was also rescued. This relic of the Saint-King confounded scientists since linen should not have survived intact for so many centuries.
The chaplain of the firefighters of Paris went into the cathedral of #NotreDame to save the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament. #NotreDameFire https://t.co/drsQ6mNPvI
— Jeanne Smits (@SmitsJeanne) April 15, 2019
The events of this Holy Week can represent our times. As the Church of Christ is engulfed by the fire and smoke of the devil who tries with ever more vehemence to demolish the Church, for those with eyes to see through the haze of smoke, the Passion of Our Lord remains untouched, unassailed, offering us the grace to find our way out of this crisis.
Let us pray for the brave souls who rescued the Crown of Christ the King. May He Who reigns from the Cross reward their service by granting them the grace to remain in, or return to (as the individual case may be), the Faith of their fathers, the Faith that built this extraordinary monument to the worship of God and the continuation of His Sacrifice in the Mass.