Spirituality of Les Misérables #1

background

Sadly haven’t been able to get to see the film version of Les Mis yet. I loved the stage play. The film is replete with wonderful Christian themes of grace, redemption, forgiveness and transformation. But for the first of my reflections I thought I would draw your attention to the adoption theme. My friend Chris Band sent me this message:

There is a very powerful analogy in the story of Les Mis, with Valjean’s adoption of Cosette… I find the lyrics of the final song very interesting:

[quote_box author="Les Miserables" profession=""]

Fantine:
Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief at last at last behind you
Lord in heaven, look down on him in mercy!

Valjean:
Forgive me all my trespasses
And take me to your glory

Fantine:
Take my hand, and lead me to salvation
Take my love, for love is everlasting

(Valjean joins)
And remember the truth that once was spoken
To love another person is to see the face of God!

[/quote_box]

 

Lovely idea about seeing the face of God through the act of sacrificial love!

There are ofcourse connections here with the gospel of Matthew chapter 25 where Jesus says:

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

So when Val Jean sings that when we love another we see the face of God he has some biblical support.
He also seems to be echoing the words of Mother Theresa:

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

― Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

One thought on “Spirituality of Les Misérables #1”

  1. Only to say, ‘Take my hand, and lead me to salvation’ isn’t Fantine’s line – she’s already dead, and has ‘appeared’ to Valjean who sings the line to her (nicely in line with Hugo’s RC theology). But the ‘to love another person is to see the face of God’ I think is good theology of us as God’s (broken) image bearers, and when it comes to believers, reminds me of 1 John 4 (12, 20). Javert is slave to the law, and imagines that he pleases God’s justice, but he has no concept of wanting to love God, so doesn’t love his neighbour. ‘If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.’ He ends up tortured by his god having let him down – his imagined god of ‘Justice without mercy’.

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