“Stronghold of Notre Dame, the more my attentive eyes
Studied your gigantic ribs and frame
Then the more often this reflection came:
From cruel weight, I too will someday make beauty rise.”
– Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam’s understanding about his inner beauty hadn’t occurred to him until after he had seen, and then meditated upon, what he had just experienced at Notre Dame. For Osip, Notre Dame allowed him to contemplate the eternal nature of himself. And through recognizing the beauty of the church built by men, Osip comes to believe qua man, in his own inner beauty.
The treasures that God has intended for us to discover since our conception are His plans for our lives. Therefore we must simply be open to the Lord and he will show us, through our surrender, the path we have chosen to follow. Yet we, like Osip, must find God in silence such as the kind you might experience at Notre Dame. As Jesus went into the desert to pray, we must find our own deserts. We must craft our souls into dark, quiet, cathedrals. They must be built to echo the voice of the Lord, so that from cruel weight, we too will someday make beauty rise.