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For stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister and her family, Jean Valjean spent 19 years in jail. He needed a place, but was rejected a number of times. And then there was the kind Bishop Myriel who gave him shelter for the night. When everybody was asleep, Jean Valjean stole the bishop’s silverware and fled. French soldiers noticed him, for he was “walking like a man who was running away” and he had the silverware. The incident was promptly reported to the bishop, who said, “I gave them to him as gifts. In fact, he even forgot these candlesticks”.
“Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?” Talk about forgiveness and belief in humanity.
“Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.”
“For the first time in 19 years, Jean Valjean cried.”
In his novel, “Les Miserables” Victor Hugo succeeded in illustrating that our words do not create as much impact as our actions. Maybe the world needs more people who practice what they preach and know when to look beyond a sin or failure. Jean Valjean could not have experienced a transformation were it not for the kind-hearted bishop.
Do you know a real person who uses his power and influence to help transform lives?
Is there anybody in your circle who deserves another chance? We all commit mistakes. May this acknowledgement make us better persons – more understanding, merciful and compassionate, especially this Christmas. Make your Maker proud!
Merry Christmas to all the editors, staff, and readers of Tempo/Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. Special greetings to Dr. Cris J. Icban, Jr. (Editor-in-Chief), Mr. Rey C. Bancod (Editor), and Ma’am Pinky C. Colmenares (Executive Editor)!
(Marilyn Arayata: arayatamarilyn.wordpress.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) (Marilyn C. Arayata)