Easter is almost here, but Lent will nonetheless go on in Paris.
How could it not with such a large, ashen scar on its landscape after Notre Dame Cathedral went ablaze? But there are already signs of great tidings rising out of those same ashes.
Which is why, if I were among the people of France, I would be in no great hurry to rebuild. The Ave Maria that burst from the heart and mouths of countless onlookers, as one of Christendom’s architectural masterpieces smoldered before them, may just be the beginning of a new birth of freedom that requires lamentation for it to sprout forth.
That is why Lent itself was historically such a vital time for Christians. It is the church’s refusal to take what is otherwise just one of 365 days on the calendar for granted, by acknowledging a God that in human form humbled himself and suffered for us. So for these 40 days we take on a far, far less painful suffering to humble ourselves before Him.
Yet across much of Western civilization, and the Christian church that is responsible for so much of its historic blooming, we are in a perpetual Mardi Gras. With no rest from that, a modern day rabble has stepped forward that can simultaneously believe Notre Dame is a treasured and powerful symbol of its national identity, while increasingly casting off and even belittling the very fundamentals of belief that 900 years ago faithfully fashioned one of the greatest places of worship the world has ever known.
That is, quite simply, schizophrenic.