I have heard from several sources that Les Miserables is probably the most popular Broadway show on earth. It has traversed the entire globe and is popular even in countries that do not have theatre productions. While it ranks as one of my favorites, I have never read the book upon which the musical is based. Thus, about a week ago, I downloaded a free copy of the abridged version (900 pages rather than the unabridged 1400) onto my Kindle and set off reading. The book, I will quickly confess, is far superior and even more delightful than the musical or movies made on it.
I have just finished the first section, all focused upon the life and character of the bishop whom Jean Valjean stays with for a night upon leaving prison. While I felt I was reading a preface to the story itself (Valjean has yet to be mentioned), the life of Monseigneur Welcome (the bishop) has been greatly stirring. Several of the statements he makes resonates with my soul and I thought I would share them with you:
- This is the shade of difference [between a doctor and a priest]: the door of the physician should never be shut, the door of the priest should always be open.
- Do not inquire the name of him who asks a shelter of you. The very man who is embarrassed by his name is the one who needs shelter.
- Unless the Lord guard the house, in vain do they watch who guard it.
- Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul.
- But one can no more pray too much than one can love too much.