A masterpiece with Parisian style,
Picturesque setting on water isle.
Castle towers stand so tall,
Cascading plants on river wall.
Exquisite design eyes impress,
Flying arches bearing stress.
Intricate spire points to heaven,
Every structure artistic laden.
Epic statue, sinister gargoyle,
History in stone, hard to spoil.
Mountain of bulk, beige stone,
In busy world it stands alone.
I enter halls great and grand,
Crafted by skilled, human hand.
Sober feelings, my life so small,
Pillars stretching, stand so tall.
My eyes adjust to darkened room,
The crowning jewels pierce the gloom.
Stained glass window, shining glory,
Light shines through an epic story.
Rosette circle brilliant, what compares?
When daylight comes, shining glares.
Capturing my human eye for hours,
My marvel rises as its high towers.
But why this feel of spiritual malaise?
A longing for this hall to fill with praise.
Not just a monument of bygone age,
An escape for tourist from modern rage.
I follow artistic beauty so much higher,
To break out in song a strong desire.
Surrounding beauty not itself an end,
It points me to a greater fountainhead.
What was built for praise to thrive,
Instead enamours our senses five.
Do we see beyond aesthetic art?
The artist’s craft is just the start.
Only a glimpse of heaven’s store,
Only a shell, a peek through a door.
Sad a heirloom now consumed by fire,
My memory only left for me to inspire.
Can art be a spiritual encounter?
Revealing to us something deeper.
I share in mourning of this loss,
But look beyond, my gaze aloft.

This poem was Inspired by my visit the Notre Dame, and my memories of so many epic scenes in movies and art, including Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

When I heard of the Notre Dame fire, my heart was shocked and saddened immediately at the loss of exquisite history and art, and the impact on Paris. Memories of my experience flashed through my mind. Although beautiful outside and in, I was saddened by the spiritual bankruptcy I had heard of in France. I longed for a choir to fill the hall with praise to God when I was there. It felt only right to match the beauty of the art. My prayer is that this national event will wake up the spiritual awareness of France.

At the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Congress, Bishop Robert Barron in his talk “Catholicism and Beauty” tells of many who have walked into Notre Dame and looked at the majestic stain glass windows and had their first divine encounter (starting at about 9:19 in the video).

Bishop Barron has already given a short response video to the fire.

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About the Author

Corey Porter

Corey Porter writes creative content for university students on multiple digital domains. His voice has been tempered by twenty four years of ministry experience, both as student and staff. His personal life is kept full serving his wife Peggy and three children in Vancouver. He enjoys sport, art and collectibles.

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