The bishop demonstrates his genuine desire to soothe Jean Valjean in that he does not preach to him after the meal. Purportedly, the motivation is genuine concern, but knowing what the bishop knows about eternity, to remain silent about repentance, he must also trust that God will change the heart of such a man at His own initiative.

Trying to initiate lovingkindness from willpower does not work because it is not authentic. Genuine love follows genuine concern. Genuine concern will produce caring feelings and selfless action.

It is my failing that I try to control the externals of my life instead of trusting. Pride within me causes feelings of ownership and entitlement. Rather, I should play the game of discovery in the fields of gratitude, being fascinated with each moment. For what is taken for granted is lost, and future entitlements are not as satisfying as the presents of the present. What could be more of a present than the beauty of a human soul made in the image of God. No matter how distracted people are in their self-centered activity, the reality of the image is worth appreciating. It’s worth the day to walk around in this real life museum of art to view the handiwork of the Artist.

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