A Jigsaw Puzzle In Stained Glass
By Rev. Robert J. Hermley
Stories for Life Index
While visiting Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris one summer, I stood in awe of its majesty and beauty. I thought of its long history and of its art treasures. It's wood carvings alone would have made it famous beyond belief. Our guide told us that since books were not plentiful when the Cathedral was built, the architects and builders put religious stories into the very framework of the church.
There a parent would bring a children the weekend and teach who Jesus was, what Mary was doing and how the carved saints watch over us. The church art became a religious lesson that each French family knew and passed on from generation to generation.
It was awesome to contemplate the amount of work, toil and time that must have one into the construction of this magnificent Cathedral. I though of the historic events that happened there, the personalities and famous persons who had walked up its aisles. If only the walls could talk, what stories it would have to tell.
I remembered reading somewhere that the leaders of the French Revolution had sought to banish Our Lady from her own Cathedral and enthrone pagan goddesses in her place on its altars. What a desecration, I thought. Reason rather than religion was to be their new god.
The French anti-clerical and godless would have their moment of glory in Our Lady's Cathedral but it would not last for long. In the end, Our Lady would win out. The pagan goddesses were dismissed and Mary was to return in triumph to grace the Cathedral with her motherly love and concern. What a history Notre Dame had experienced. It was a masterpiece in stone dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, Notre Dame.
Our guide than pointed out the beautiful stained glass windows. He told of their origin, their escape from the damages of World War II, and so on. The brilliant sun shining through the stained glass spread a beautiful blanket of color over a portion of the Cathedral floor. What a pattern it made!
It came to me suddenly as I watched that our lives are very much like those stained glass windows - a small portion of sorrows here, a joy there; small pleasures, pains, happiness, tears, each like a small piece of glass with a basic color cemented together by lead, fitting into a frame supported by our faith and trust in God's Promise to watch over us. Each portion of itself is nothing of note but when placed side by side n the pattern God intended, our lives were truly something unique and beautiful, a jigsaw puzzle in stained glass.
Before I left the Cathedral, I prayed that I would accept God's will for me in the future. No longer would I complain about a trial, a cross, a difficulty. I would think of them rather as a small piece of my life each put together by Christ the Artist, held together by my belief that God truly knew His business and was watching over me. I would trust that He would never forget me and would be pleased by the mosaic He was creating out of my life. That whatever happened to me in the future would be His will and I would accept it joyfully. Did He not promise through the Prophet Isaiah, "I will never forget you. See I have carved you on the palm of my hand."