More than a cathedral, Notre Dame is a container for our collective soul. Regardless of faith or nationality, she has been the receptacle for millions of our prayers, dreams, and meditations. She has inspired our poems, art, and imaginations. She has hosted our proposals, weddings, funerals, vacations, memories, and reunions. She has served as a portal to our shared history.
Tonight she reminds us to hold sacred what is here, now. To appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, and the people we love. Just because something existed before us doesn’t mean it will exist forever.
Notre Dame will be repaired, as she was after the revolution. Once again we will study her rainbow rosette, gazing through the eyes of countless humans across the time-space continuum, marveling at the way the dust sparkles like friendly spirits overhead. We will climb her narrow stairs to emerge, breathless, at the Paris skyline, sharing membership to the most beautiful city in the world. We will perhaps be even more grateful, more reverent, knowing what we lost, and knowing what we still have.
Until then, let us hold space for each other, and tend to this weary world soul. We love you, Paris.
Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore, non feci mai male ad anima viva! Con man furtiva quante miserie conobbi aiutai. Sempre con fè sincera la mia preghiera ai santi tabernacoli salì. Sempre con fè sincera diedi fiori agl’altar. Nell’ora del dolore perchè, perchè, Signore, perchè me ne rimuneri così? Diedi gioielli della Madonna al manto, e diedi il canto agli astri, al ciel, che ne ridean più belli. Nell’ora del dolor perchè, perchè, Signor, ah, perchè me ne rimuneri così?
I lived for my art, I lived for love, I never did harm to a living soul! With a secret hand I relieved as many misfortunes as I knew of. Always with true faith my prayer rose to the holy shrines. Always with true faith I gave flowers to the altar. In the hour of grief why, why, o Lord, why do you reward me thus? I gave jewels for the Madonna’s mantle, and I gave my song to the stars, to heaven, which smiled with more beauty. In the hour of grief why, why, o Lord, ah, why do you reward me thus?