“…was he suddenly overcome by one of those mysterious inner blows that sometimes strike the heart of a man who could not be shaken by public disasters of his life and fortune?”

Evidently the model for C. Myriel, true bishop of Digne,  was not actually marred by these early life circumstances: this according to his nephew. But perhaps Hugo had other sources. For in this novel, the coincidences and changed lives seem ideal to me like the idea of the noble poor woman, in Fantine, who seems to have a pure heart, repentant for her early missteps. Perhaps ideal to the point of being unrealistic, or at least atypical. For I have not met such a woman in the foster system or in all of the poor families I have touched. But what I love about Hugo is that he casts the vision for -perhaps – how I should see the poor if my own heart is pure. And indeed how the bishop saw the poor even as they took advantage of his grace. Perhaps it is unrealistic that Jean Valjean responded so cleanly and wholeheartedly to the bishop’s love, but the bishop would have gone on loving no matter how the response, and this is the point of the novel I think.

Q: Is there such a thing as a noble poor person?

Q: What about the differences in the entitled welfare families and hardworking illegal immigrants?

“M. Myriel had to submit to the fate of every newcomer in a small town, where many tongues talk, but few heads think.”

Let me think today O God, and follow You well, Jesus. Not as to imitate some man or some group of people, or some image of appearance, but as a child fully loved and fully entitled in your kingdom: righteous and ready to give generous love. Lavishing love on others without regard to reputation.

Q: How many of my opinions are secondhand (see my article)

Q: How many judgments do I make based on preconceived notions that have ruled out grace or fair consideration for certain people?

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