By Dr. Ed DeVries
The May/June issue of TBR Magazine began with my editorial of just less than 600 words on the recent destruction of the iconic Notre Dame de Paris. Originally, I had submitted an article of nearly 1,100 words. Today, while recording what will be my June 24th TBR Radio’s Dixie Heritage Hour broadcast, TBR’s Executive Editor Paul Angel asked that I post the original 1,100 words to the website.
CONSUMING FLAMES OR REVIVAL’S FIRE?
There is simply no way to measure, let alone rebuild, what Paris, what France, what Christendom, what Western Civilization, and indeed what humanity, has lost. It is simply irreplaceable.
For example, the world has lost three of the most beautiful stained glass windows that were ever made. Windows that date from the time of Dante, whose signature work was titled “The Inferno.” We simply do not know how to remanufacture these windows. The process for doing so having been lost to antiquity.
For over seven centuries Notre Dame has been the very heart of France’s identity. All distances in France are measured from a spot in front of the cathedral known as kilometre zéro.
But the loss of the Notre Dame de Paris is more than just the loss of an iconic building or of a beautiful House of Worship. The church was literally one of the great embodiments of Western civilization.
We’ve all seen the pictures. The interior of Notre Dame. That charred, smoking mess we see in the pictures is our civilization. For we do not live in the great Western Civilization of which we studied in the university course that bore its name. We do not even live in the twilight of it. Rather, we live in the cold, charred ruins. A reality that became all too painfully obvious to this writer as I shed real tears over the sudden demise not of Our Lady of Paris but rather of all that was once the very civilization that bore me.
The only church building in all of Europe or perhaps even in all of Western Civilization that is more significant or iconic than Notre Dame is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church building at Notre Dame took 200 years to build. Over 5,000 trees were harvested in her construction. Tons of stone were carefully quarried and painstakingly shaped. Artisans from across France collaborated on her magnificent sculptures and stained glass.
As a landmark it has proudly survived nearly 900 years of weather and war. Now it has been reduced in mere hours to a charred skeleton. The latest casualty in multiculturalism’s war against the nearly millennia-long span of history that the church once symbolized.
No sooner had the fire been reported and French authorities were already insisting that the consuming fire was likely the result of a construction accident. I hope that they are correct. But everything in my gut tells me that it was an act of aggressive terrorism, the result of Europe’s insistence on forcing a mass-migration policy of Muslim immigrants who hate the faith and culture of their hosts. If I am correct, this is just the beginning, the first of what will be many attacks of unimaginable violence by an enemy horde that will not stop until they have extinguished every last vestige of what had once been Europe.
And even if this was just a construction accident, it still symbolizes what we, the heirs of Western Civilization, have allowed to happen to our history, religion, and cultural heritage. What happened in Paris as Note Dame burned is what has been happening on multiple continents throughout what we once knew as Western Civilization.
It happened because we failed to study our history, and because we refused to learn history’s lessons. It happened because collectively, as a people, we have failed to live out our faith, and worse, failed to teach our children.
It happens by omission (indifference), and by commission. It happens in the liberal halls of academia be they universities or seminaries, in newsrooms, government buildings, churches, high schools, and everywhere that the truth is ridiculed in the hearts and minds of modern men. The fire that destroyed Paris’s iconic cathedral is just metaphor for what we in “the West” have been doing to ourselves
Little did they know, as they laid the stones that would become the Notre Dame de Paris, that what they were really building on that little island in the Seine would one day become the literal symbol of a great civilization. Nor could they have ever anticipated its fiery destruction. They certainly could have never comprehended the significance of its loss or that the flames which would consume it would be a call to repentance for a generation nearly 800 years unborn.
Because Christians understand fire. And that it either burns in judgement or purges in refinement. The difference between the two, of course, being repentance.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 2:7)
As we mourn the loss of one of Christendom’s greatest cathedrals there can be no greater tribute to what that temple meant to its builders and to all those millions through the centuries who worshiped within it than to turn in repentance and faith back to God, and lead our families and communities back to Him.
For those in the West who have not embraced, or perhaps have even repudiated the religion of their forefathers, I hope that you will begin by reflecting on what the once great cathedral meant in artistic, architectural, and cultural terms. Hopefully that will lead you to at least consider the faith that inspired it, and by extension, the faith that literally served as the foundation of the entirety of our once great civilization.
For those of you waiting for “a sign of the times,” perhaps this is it.
I have no doubt that Notre Dame will be rebuilt. Even “secular” Europeans will feel inexplicably compelled to see the structure and the landscape of their city set aright again. Even France’s globalist President is calling for its restoration.
If the rebuilt structure does not emphasize the Christian faith may it at least provide a heart-stirring representation of what the European mind once accomplished.Taking pride in their European heritage is emphatically repugnant to the elites in Europe and the US have who have been cultivating the very multicultural war that has torched Notre Dame. As the fire burned, and hundreds gathered to sing Ave Maria into the wee hours of the night, it became obvious that the elitists simply might not be able to stop the upsurge of pride that may hopefully soon sweep across Europe. May its patriotic flames be fanned across the continent! As the Cathedral is rebuilt may those who would have destroyed one of the last symbols of our civilization find themselves helpless before a resurging allegiance to Western accomplishment.