Hail Mary, full of grace …

Few natural disasters have affected the unlettered field hands at the Blaska Experimental Work Farm as the burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We’re still sorting out why that should be. Partly because of the Catholic heritage. A bit because we are francophiles here at the Manor. Certainly, of having seen the majesty of the place up close and in person and feeling, probably, what they must have felt some time near its completion in 1345 — overwhelmed.

Mankind needs to be overwhelmed; s/he needs to be something greater than oneself; if there were not a God we should have to invent Him lest we succumb to hubris. Tens of thousands of nameless artisans and common laborers came and went but grabbed a piece of heaven on the way.

Notre Dame burns

There is about the cathedral something immortal, even today. It still stands, albeit greatly damaged. Notre Dame is Paris, along with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe but much more ancient. It was old when Columbus sailed. Those of us who identify as conservative (Blaska IS the Diversity!) value permanence. There is a responsibility there to the past, to the builders, and to the future — to bequeath that heritage. This is our inheritance; cherish it, use it wisely, leave it to the next generation.

The cathedral is what it means to be French, whose national identity is as much under assault today as any of the old and famous states, in Churchill’s parlance. The great gothic edifice is to France as the original parchment of the Founding documents is to us here in the U.S.A. Which is the good news. 

I do thank God, in the very literal sense, that this was not an act of political terrorism. Somewhere, some workman in one of the suburbs of Paris is wondering if it was he who forgot to switch off that glue heat gun and maybe said a “Hail Mary.”

‘The attic was known as ‘The Forest’

Made up of tinder-dry eight centuries-old wood. from the New York Times: Inside the cavernous cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the last Mass of the day was underway on Monday of Holy Week when the first fire alarm went off. It was 6:20 p.m., 25 minutes before the heavy wooden doors were scheduled to close to visitors for the day.

A predict: France will rally around Macron to rebuild.

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About David Blaska

Madison WI
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5 Responses to Hail Mary, full of grace …

  1. madisonexpat says:

    Amen Frere David.

    Like

  2. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    Je Suis Notre Dame!

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fritzderkat says:

    Don’t know if anyone’s noticed in the rush to rebuild the 800-year-old cathedral, but in the past week Catholic churches in France are undergoing a rash of vandalism. It’s been going on since February.
    Now, who do you suppose would do that? There’s been no Huguenot movement there since the 18th Century.

    Like

  4. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    I read somewhere that the roof beams of ND required 200-300 trees, all of which were bigger than any trees now growing in France. Only one of the superlatives that apply to that glorious edifice. Of course, Americans have no building that embodies our history and culture and sweep of time the way that ND does for the French. A friend who has lived in France (Provence, not Paris) for the last 15 years said that it was like losing a close relative–not one’s parents or spouse, perhaps– but maybe a beloved grandparent, aunt or uncle. I was especially touched by the photos of elegant Parisians, mostly young, weeping and praying openly on the street as the cathedral burned–certainly not the display of raw emotion one expects from the cynical sophisticates of that city.

    Liked by 1 person

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