Monday, January 28, 2013

“He did not study God; he was dazzled by him.”

If you have not yet seen Les Misérables, what are you waiting for?

I haven't seen a live performance of the musical so I can't compare it directly, but I love the book! Victor Hugo's epic is filled with demonstrations of Christ's transformational grace and this new film carried it well. I saw it a few weeks ago and started weeping at the end. It's absolutely amazing :)

This is one of my favorite paragraphs in the book (after Jean Valjean is dragged in my by the police and the Bishop gives him MORE than he originally stole)
“'Do not forget, do not ever forget, that you have promised me to use the money to make yourself an honest man.'Valjean, who did not recall having made any promise, was silent. The bishop had spoken the words slowly and deliberately. He concluded with a solemn emphasis:

'Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.'”

 Here is that full scene from the 1998 movie with Liam Neeson and Peter Vaughan

I'm not half the man that Jean Valjean became, but I've experienced the transformational power of  Christ's grace. He has transformed my life in the same radical way. I can also relate to having someone follow you around singing ♫♫"Men like you can never change!" ♫♫  ;)

Pax Christi,

P.S.: Here are some other great quotes from the book: 
"The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.”  

“...But listen, there will be more joy in heaven over the tears of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men.” 

“Not seeing people permits us to imagine them with every perfection.” 

“For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life.”  

“God knows better than we do what we need.” 

“He who despairs is wrong.” 

“We need those who pray constantly to compensate for those who do not pray at all.”  

“There are things stronger than the strongest man...”

“...Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread.” 

“The delight we inspire in others has this enchanting peculiarity that, far from being diminished like every other reflection, it returns to us more radiant than ever.” 

“To destroy abuses is not enough; Habits must also be changed. The windmill has gone, but the wind is still there." - old man G--- to Monseigneur Bienvenu Myriel

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts on the latest movie musical on Victor Hugo's work. I enjoyed reading it, though I must say there are too many points of interest in his work and the many interpretations in song, stage and film to discuss thoroughly enough in just one blog post...I strongly suggest a series of blog posts! Lol! I personally have not read the original book, nor paid much attention to the stage musical previously, nor the previous movie adaptations before this movie musical opened my mind to the wealth of universal truth about how kindness can help transform a hardened heart, a lost soul, and the subtle theological discourse on the Catholic doctrines on salvation and charity, faith and hope in God even in the midst of social evils and injustice, and political unrest in this world we live in but do not belong, for our souls are destined for a world far greater with the God Almighty. And of Love - the love between lovers and friends, the love of a father for a daughter, for a son, even love that's unrequited, and the unconditional love that redeems.

    As a matter of personal preference though I must say I prefer the particular scene from the recent movie musical where the bishop extends forgiveness and sings the words:'Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God." The same words were echoed in Valjeans impassioned soliloquy, ♫♫"And why did I allow this man to touch my soul and teach me love. He treated me like any other, he gave me his trust, he called me brother. My life he claims for God above, can such things be? For I have come to hate the world, a world that always hated me...he told me that I have a soul, how does he know? What Spirit comes to move my life? Is there another way to go?"♫♫

    I too have been moved to tears many times just listening (and often singing along) to the beautiful lyrics of the songs in this movie musical's soundtrack. The last time I was moved so much in spirit by an author's work, was when I read JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy after I had watched the first installment of Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, and though it was a visual masterpiece, the movie adaptation fell far short of conveying the profound (though cryptic) messages of sacrificial love and God's plan for salvation of mankind which, sadly, I feel were mostly lost in translation from the original books to the bigscreen! :) (But that's another story altogether.)