Fantine is on her deathbed and could only be consoled by the belief that she would see her child soon. “A mother’s joy is almost like a child’s. She knew that if she could just hear Cosette breathing beside her, that she would revive. So her life finds its satisfaction in seeing her child prosper.
Here is a pretty simple statement of the call of God in my life. Even as Jesus wept over Jerusalem in tender love:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Matt. 23:37
So am I called to care for others.
(But Jesus did not give up on his mission because of his care. He could not just sit in a burning house with his demanding child who refused to go. He knew that some difficult times were necessary to follow through on his love.)
So I am called to care for others. Leading out in a healthy direction, I must be a steady man who cares and listens all the while. There is such joy to be found in the self-sacrifice.
What comes naturally for a parent should be extended in the kingdom of heaven. As my children have grown to be adults I constantly find joy: Ben with his big shoulders and constant caring provision for his family. Nick on his adventure in Texas with his bride. And Hope who lives so deeply and thoughtfully and brings so much of herself into every human interaction. I find such joy. But that’s just it: I have benefitted and my audience is great.
But to become this for the world is the main theme of the book – to care for the helpless. “How blessed is he who considers the helpless.” Psalm 41:1
JVG has found his main passion in emulating the bishop to care for others, and especially the helpless – hence his very reason for being driven to the Court of Assizes at Arras where he will choose to pay the highest price to defend the most helpless with the least audience for the act – God alone.
Champmathieu is indeed the most helpless, being a man who is resented by the public for his very appearance, lacking in intelligence, and who is buried by evidence – no matter how false. But he is still a valuable human soul who should be loved and cared for by those who are thrust into his sphere.