”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (Jn 12: 24)

As our hearts break today, watching the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral in Paris “fall” and “die” as it’s consumed by fire, I am thinking of this Scripture-passage, about a grain of wheat “falling into the earth” and “dying,” …that it may bear “much fruit.” I’m thinking, how terrible, and yet light-filled, this symbol of a burning church, during the very week that our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters celebrate the Lord’s Passion, when He approaches the death and burial of His Body “into the earth,” that He may “bear much fruit” for us, in the New Life of His glorious resurrection. I don’t know if this is a consolation to anyone reading this, but just maybe our hearts needed to break, in this way, by experiencing such loss, in order that we might re-discover the New Life that He has on offer, via His life-bringing symbols in this world.

Let me remember, even as we are experiencing inconsolable grief over the “fall,” before our eyes, of a beloved Christian symbol, the Notre Dame cathedral, that “falling into the earth” is never “the end of the story,” when it comes to Christianity. In the famous words of G. K. Chesterton, “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” Glory be to Him.

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