These words are the prayer of this mother which would indeed be heard and answered. Innocent Fantine, a teenage unwed mother now dying in her twenties, totally at the mercy of God, with naive visions of good and evil. She will end her brief tragic life under the compassionate care of God’s servants three: a couple of simple nuns and a former convict in concious chaos. But these three are where they should be, living out love as they know it. They look past their own selfish interests and regard others as more important. They don’t have this verse memorized, because they are too busy moving toward the souls that they see in need who are about them.

So my child will play in the garden. It is my own naive cry. Though I am not so naive, recognizing that I am the clear beneficiary of good gifts all around. And do I see the pain of souls around me?

I saw my B co-worker striving for recognition and respect: even to the point of reddened face with passion as he spoke about a dogmatic position that he contends for as if his career depended upon it. So would I use my authority to clarify to him how he is logically askew for a matter that will work itself out in the end either way? Or do I regard him as more important than myself and listen for the nth time to the recited diatribe with loving and listening eyes riveted to the soul who was made in the image of God? My own selfish interest pulls, but my thoughts can turn without pulling back. I can easily decide to move.

My precious one criticizes me unfairly so that my soul is beaten down and longs to pull back in retreat and self-pity. I know that I have the power. So do I use my power to hold her accountable and ensure that the “truth” is known and acknowledged? Or do I regard her as more important than myself and seek her out with gentle words of kindness and caring? For she is my precious one, and if truth be known on all fronts, I would be found wanting. My own selfish interest pulls, but my thoughts can turn without pulling back. I can easily decide to move.

Loving is living.

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