Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Comfort for the Days After Notre Dame

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

Seeking comfort from the news about Notre Dame Cathedral during my Divine Dialogue Writing time, I asked, “What do I need to know for my best and highest good about yesterday’s events?”

The reply from the 
Sacred Traveler Oracle Cards: 
“Finding Sanctuary. Opening to your spiritual source.”

For hundreds of years, Notre Dame Cathedral offered sanctuary--the sacred space around the altar's tabernacle--to anyone at any time. The church doors stood open 365/24/7. 

Growing up, my devout parents and grandparents reminded me that if I was ever in trouble to find a Catholic Church as I would be safe there. You could also enter to rest, rejuvenate, and tune into your intuition, Higher Self, or spiritual whispers. 

Sadly, depending on where you live, this is no longer the practice as many Catholic Church doors remain locked after services.

The movie and book character Quasimodo flashed. 
I could hear the loveable hunchback shouting, 
“Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” 
as the mob tried to remove him from his home of Notre Dame.

This memory also flashed: While attending St. Francis de Sales Parochial School in Riverside, CA, I often found sanctuary inside the adjoining Catholic church during recess or lunchtime; it offered a welcome and refreshing reprieve from playing dodge ball on the asphalt playground in Mohave desert-like temps!

Here as an elementary school student, I could...
Take a moment for reflection. 
Pause to say the "Hail Mary" or "Our Father" prayers. 
Sit in the dark silence hearing only the buffered noise of classmates playing outside.
Notre Dame, the "Heart of Paris," and place of my engagement in 1986.
To find sanctuary in my mind’s eye this morning, I close my eyes to remember sitting on a wooden bench in 1986 close to the main altar in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was the end of Saturday’s mass; parishioners and tourists streamed out as the cathedral's caretaker darted around turning off the overhead lights. 

The only light came from the many side altars where the statues of saints and apostles glowed from the rows of votive candles at their feet providing dim, mystical lighting.

It was a time of great love and hope as my boyfriend proposed and I accepted. These are the tender memories and positive feelings I seek to fill my heart and mind with moving forward--not the images of Notre Dame’s destruction appearing in newsfeeds.

If you are travel weary of life’s recent struggles, perhaps it is time to put down the emotional backpack this Holy Week. Try stepping off the path to find a temple, sanctuary, or any sacred space to reassess and renew. Take time to ponder what’s most important now to you on the journey.

Then, you might hear that "still, small voice"--all a part of finding sanctuary and comfort in these transformative and tumultuous times.


  1. I often think the beach is my sanctuary and the sun, especially setting like the stained glass . So sad to se a building of this stature and meaning on fire. praying xxoo

    1. I see that, Suzie. And what an inspiring analogy to see the sunset or sunirse like stained glass. Yes, prayers continue to be welcomed. xxoo

  2. I try to envision an inner sanctuary and go there. It always helps.

  3. I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral way back in 1995 when my Mom was holding an exhibition in Paris and while I enjoy architecture, it is true I wanted to see the place of Victor Hugo's novel. :) It was peaceful and I was recovering from septicemia at the time. We use lights in my religion and lighting a white candle and praying seemed natural. I have a little temple at home where I seek refuge when I need to.

    1. How fun that you shared this experience with your mom, Vatsala. And seems like Paris the ND were part of your healing.

  4. I have fond memories as well. I visited with a dear friend in 1999. He used to call me Esmeralda.

  5. I know that the sanctuary is within us at all times whenever we need it. However having a place to go can be a tremendous help. I am not religious but was having a difficult time with some things. There is a church in our area I had always been drawn to. It is Catholic. I found solace there. It was open to anyone. The music, the beauty and the peace I found was much needed. It also brought me inspiration. I connected with the angels there and myself as well. I felt good about lighting candles for myself and others. Sadly they lock their doors now so it is not always open. I treasure the places that allow peace to flow among the beauty. Fires are tragic. We had one happen here to a lovely very historic church very similar. My heart sank when I hear to of this news. But no matter what, God, the angels and Heaven above will never be taken away from us, no matter what.

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  7. Happy to have read your post again and finding sanctuary.

  8. I have been taking great solace from my church's weekly streamed Sunday services as well as a time for prayer and caring via Zoom on Wednesdays.

    1. Isn't tehconology great? Thank goodness and God for Zoom, eh? Stay well and stay safe, Barb.


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