Monsieur Bienvenue did not have acclaim and followers. He did not write a book or draw a crowd.Rather he served alone to please the audience of One. Hugo suggests that the successful people are credited with qualities by the common crowd that they do not, in fact, possess. His point is that people are misled and miss the real “radiance of the stars of heaven” by associating the successful people with the genius quality.

I knew a humble man who spoke few words and worked all of his days at manual labor. The words he did spoke were gospel and his actions followed true to form in generosity and faithfulness. He served his life out contentedly without acclaim. Such a man has the radiance I think.

Here is the aesthetic and practicality theme again. A life of integrity is a beautiful song of worship. The success and publicity of the man who makes a splash may or may not have the quality of true worship. We too can be deceived by the flashy spiritual themes sounded out by the loud voices from the men leading the throng of followers. For it is in this moment now and in my secret life today that I must serve the One who loves me without a rule to live by and without applause.

This is where Google can fail us. All of the information, advice, consensus and ideas make my life flashy, but it is the secret prayer of solitude and hours spent in the Presence that bring impractical soaring.