I walked into a church last month and it felt like a mother’s arms around me. I don’t even like churches, let alone grand cathedrals. But in this one, you could almost see the prayers like butterflies, floating to the heavens.
The church was the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, and I couldn’t have been more surprised. I entered expecting tourism and history. I discovered prayer.
Here I was warm, I was safe, I was welcome inside the arms of Our Lady. Here was peace, bubbling around me in the hushed hub-bub of hundreds of different languages. Here, a priest blessed two tourists. There, a nun taught a little group of men.
I thought, “prayers are alive.” I didn’t know who heard them, but I knew they were heard.
Together, we lit a candle. Our little prayer mingled with the others, dancing like the tiny flame upon which it was cast. It was answered, of course.