Inspiration for today’s Travel Tuesday post came from a rather unlikely spot… it was a trip we took last year to the aerospace capital of France and also the nearest city with an Italian consular presence.
It was the trip we took to Toulouse to renew (and in my case apply for) our Italian passports….
The Pink City
Toulouse is known to the French as “La Ville Rose” or, “the pink city”, owing to the pink-ish terra cotta bricks that were used to build many of the prominent buildings in the city, not to mention the terra cotta roofing tiles that form a sea of pink when viewed from a distance.
Above is Toulouse’s city hall on the Place du Capitole. The colour hasn’t been enhanced, this is what it looks like in the afternoon sun. The vibrancy of the colour isn’t quite as evident in the photo below (because it was taken at night during an evening stroll), but you can still see it nonetheless in the bricks used to build the ‘Pont Neuf’ (the New Bridge) that spans the Garonne River.
Lamb of God, Grant us Peace
Let’s get to the crux of this post shall we?
On our last morning there, I was walking the dog (before we got in the car for the 5-6hr drive) when I came across a beautiful bronze monument, erected in 1908 to the memory of those who had lost their lives in service to the nation.
It really was a strikingly beautiful, but what caught my attention was an inscription on the back: Agnus Dei dona nobis pacem (Lamb of God, grant us peace). You can see it below, under the municipal coat of arms.
The coat of arms itself is unique as it has the Occitane cross (reminiscent of the hugenot cross, in which the twelve ‘dots’ represent the 12 apostles and the four open parts of the cross, the 4 gospels) as well as the passover lamb. In addition, you see a historic castle and cathedral from the city (denoting the city’s historic strength and importance) and the chief, containing both fleurs de lys and bees.
The fleur de lys are, of course, associated with the kings of France (Philippe III inherited Toulouse county in 1272) and the bees were the symbol of Napoleon. Indeed, during Napoleonic times, the fleurs de lys were completely absent, and had been replaced by bees.
A Prayer of Prominence
It struck me that ever so subtly, in the middle of one of the most prominent avenues in Toulouse, this prayer to the Lamb of God was etched in bronze.
The bronze was cast in 1908, but that prayer is just as relevant for France, and the world at large, today:
Lamb of God, grant us peace.
In response, I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words, recorded in John 14, speaking of the promise of the Holy Ghost:
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
An Answer to Prayer
And so… a prominently placed prayer has an eternally established answer. The Lamb of God has granted peace, a promise to the whosoever will.
Thanks for visiting today.
If you ever want to go see that monument… it’s here.