The Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Celestino Migliore, gave a spiritual address at the blessing of the bell tower; Here is an extract:
“Today we inaugurate and bless one of the oldest and most characteristic symbols of Christian life: the bell tower; It stands tall in the valley like a sign: a finger stretched towards Heaven; Its verticality gives meaning to the horizontality of our daily lives;
In a world that, for the most part, is based on selfishness, the Christian Church is founded on love between those who seek to love, always; This is what the Church can be today: a community of people, monks and lay people, who bring to the world these moments of rest, peace, forgiveness and abandonment of the law of selfishness; Moments that give knowledge of another world and another way of life, that allow people to move forward and find meaning in life;
The bell tower of Lagrasse Abbey features four gargoyles, one representing Judas clutching gold coins to his heart, a symbol of avarice; the other, Salome, who charmed Herod with her dance, a symbol of the pleasures of the flesh; the third, Herod the ambitious and cruel king, symbolizing the pride of power; and finally, a chimera with a torn heart, a metaphor for disunity;
These are symbols for a community of religious and lay people, who must guard against the spiritual illnesses that can attack them and eat them away from within;
Restoration of the bell tower is just the first stage in a major project: raising the transept, work on which is due to begin soon; This great recovery must be the sign of what is being done in hearts through unity and charity; Saint Augustine, whose Rule the religious at Lagrasse follow, says it well: “Thus, this house is for us a house of prayer, and we are the house of God […] However, we become the house of the Lord only insofar as we are united by the cement of charity […] We must therefore realize spiritually in our souls what we see in these material walls; and with the grace of God accomplish in our hearts what we see completed in these woods and stones.”
While this renovated bell tower will remain a point of reference, a reminder for the Christian community and for civil society around the abbey, we thank the community of Canons of the Abbey of Lagrasse for their testimony. It will make this steeple an eloquent, inspiring symbol, capable of recalling the consciences of those who see it from near and far, and of opening a breach in their minds and hearts.”
It’s demanding; It’s clear; It’s encouraging; Thank you Monsignor!