It’s Hugo’s ideal, and now Hugo egotistically goes out of his way to bring his own relative into the mix, emphasizing what he idealizes. In this chapter, it is clear that the author highly values the learned man of good works and wisdom. Compassion, the most highly valued – I wonder what part of Solomon’s writing the bishop is referring to? Could this be Song of Songs? Compassion is the author’s highest ideal, foreshadowing the theme of the book: the purpose to which Jean Valjean gives his whole life. And so true that God alone is compassionate first, then we can be also as a response.

And the bishop is so well-liked! He lingers at his table for half an hour with his female companions. I wonder what he might find to talk about? Without the contact of the world it must be hard to find a topic: is he preaching? Are they discussing spiritual things? If I struggle to find topic for discussion, how might they of that age?

“Sometimes in the midst of his reading, no matter what book he might have in his hands, he would suddenly fall into deep meditation, and when it was over, write a few lines on the open page. These lines often have no connection with the book in which they are written.” And his example is a prayer of adoration to his Creator. Me too! It is so often in this medium that I hear from and respond to God – even now.

I heard a man openly object to the phrase “Thank God” today, for he must not believe in God at all. Lord, I pray that you shower Bill with your love and grant him to see reality apart from his shallow illusory life. Perhaps not by me, but let me be a part of your working toward him in this prayer. For you are a God who loves to surprise, but yet so steady and reliable. So faithful to bless me, now bless him with a touch of super-natural reality.

I took the long slow drive through the country backroad on the way home today. Joy! I was able to encourage my wife patiently – praise to Him who makes it possible for me to enjoy love.

Blessing on blessing. Perhaps I can see others as You see them: just like the bishop.