I remember a few years ago after a huge forest fire ate up a large neighborhood of homes in the Colorado mountains and a small statue of Mary appeared in my inbox. A friend’s friend was passing along this image. Like a sign, even in the midst of profound loss and destruction, what remains is holy, unchanging and somehow protected from the wins and losses that seems to define human existence on our beautiful planet.
The photo always reminds me of a story that I learned in France when I was visiting the Montmartre Cathedral. During World War Two, the entire quartier was leveled by bombs, but the cathedral was untouched. Everyone who took shelter beneath my favorite portrait of Jesus, arms outstretched holding the entire cathedral in his peace, was unharmed.
Recently, in the mass destruction and billions of dollars of personal loss, we have been left another small miracle. In the Breezy Point neighborhood, there was nothing but rubble left in the wake of the fires and floods that ravaged more than 100 homes. Yet, untouched stood a statue of the Madonna in the same place she has stood for decades.
Many have made a pilgrimage to the Breezy Point Madonna whose image has now circled the globe. Her presence goes beyond any religious affiliation or even belief system. We are not alone. Even in the midst of wreckage and devastation, we are protected.