Whether you have seen or plan to see the new movie “Les Miserables,” whether you loved the movie or hated it, Victor Hugo’s classic has spiritual implications worth pondering. At CNN’s religion blog, the Rev. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Episcopal priest and author of “God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom,” offers this wisdom about a bishop’s act of generosity toward the thief who has stolen his candlesticks, Jean Valjean:
The bishop’s act is a radical exercise of the Christian command to turn the other cheek, and it has a profound effect on Valjean. Stunned by the bishop’s forgiveness and the faith placed in him, Valjean sings, “One word from him, and I’d be back beneath the lash, upon the rack. Instead he offers me my freedom.
“I feel shame inside me like a knife. He told me that I have a soul. How does he know? What spirit came to move my life? Is there another way to go?”
A few moments later, Valjean answers his own question: Yes, there is another way. He commits to complete change in that moment, to change his name, his values, to become someone whose soul is God’s.
She goes on to note that even in days as difficult as ours today, “Jesus calls us to radical acts of hope, like those exercised by the bishop. These radical acts can manifest themselves in many different ways: in the exercise of justice, in granting mercy, in forgiveness, in love.” Read her full post here. And hum to yourself these words from the musical’s last act’: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”