The Unrequited Lover

I have always been a slow reader. With apprehension, I opened to the first pages of that formidable brick, Les Miserables a year ago. Yesterday I turned the last page, but that book sure was worth the long haul! Sitting in the chapel afterwards, the last scenes of Jean Valjean ran through my mind… (If you have not read the book, I suggest you read no further in this blog so as not to spoil the end!)

What had shocked me most—because I saw no hint of it in the musical—was Marius’ and Cosette’s coldness to Jean Valjean. After Valjean informs Marius he is an ex-convict, and asks if he should not see Cosette again, Marius coldly replies, “I think it would be better not.” With Marius’ mounting suspicions, Cosette herself became thoughtlessly indifferent towards Valjean. Unwanted, Jean Valjean gradually retreats from Cosette’s home. And his life ebbed away. His walk became slow and his breath short, as he would stop at the corner of the street to turn toward the house of his beloved daughter. He retreats to his derelict home quite alone, unwanted by those whose lives he had saved.

Suddenly I looked up at the monstrance, and like a wave the truth came crashing over me that Jesus must feel the same way! He has loved me to life, saved me from the misery and death into which I foolishly plunged myself, and has given me new life…new life, with of its sweet beauty, freedom and joy. That very day I had been blessed with life, glorious weather, wonderful classes, three hearty meals…and had I even thanked Him? Here he was before me now—silent, still, uncomplaining, but He is every bit my Savior. And in some insane way, His happiness is as dependent on my love as I mine is on His.

As soon as Cossette and Marius discovered the truth they rushed to Valjean, and in the nick of time. One thing I love about Jesus is that it is never too late for us to turn our hearts back towards Him. It is never too late to thank our unrequited Lover.



About Mirianna Sternhagen

Mirianna Sternhagen has been a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi since 2010. She is in her fourth years of studies at Mater Ecclesiae College. She was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in several states on the beautiful west coast: Oregon, Washington, California and Montana -- as well as in Michigan, where her family now lives.
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One Response to The Unrequited Lover

  1. Leonel says:

    I’ve also read Les Miserables a long time ago and I came to the same conclusion. Another thing I would like to add is that, a few days after Pope Francis became the Vicar of Christ, similarities between he and bishop Bienvenu Myriel in chapter 1 also came to mind.

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