In March 2014 I made a trip to Paris with my friend Denise. We were only there for a few days but crammed as much in as possible. Fortunately she knew the city where I did not and knew the quickest ways to get to where we wanted. We were immensely blessed in that the sun did not stop shining the whole time we were there…there’s really nothing like Paris in the Spring!! While we spent the days constantly on the move, when we stopped in Notre Dame Cathedral we were able to stop for as long as possible, simply to take in the scope of the place. It was breathtaking and I fully intend to make a return pilgrimage there some day.
Being in this Cathedral I was captivated by everything; by the flying buttresses, the great stained glass windows, the artwork, the many side chapels, the sense of prayer that permeated it, everything. It got me to thinking. Most churches now are designed and built in around four years on average. This magnificent cathedral on the other hand took some two hundred years to complete. Two hundred years. This means that the people who were involved in the construction at the beginning certainly weren’t around to see its completion. Yet they would have dedicated their lives to the building of this cathedral, even though they didn’t know what the finished product was going to be like. But they were perfectly willing to be involved and to dedicate themselves to its construction.
For me that’s what our Christian lives should be like. We can’t just be flash in the pan Catholics who are captivated by the froth of fashion and the current trend. We need to be dedicated. We need to be small cogs turning in a colossal machine. If we have the commitment and desire to do our small part, even though we do not know what the end result is going to be then we’ve done what the Lord asks of us. The other thing I loved about the cathedral as I said was the side chapels where congregants can express their devotions to a variety of saints. And I think that’s very true of our Church and in particular young adult ministry; we all have our own personal devotions to whatever saint, we all have our own charisms and expressions of faith. We all have our own personal relationship with Christ. But when we retreat from the side chapels we suddenly realize we are once again bound together and at the very centre of this community we have, is Christ.