A Year with Les Miz: Routine and Rerouting
However, such incidents were rare in his life. We relate those of which we know; but generally he passed his life in doing the same things at the same moment. One month of his year resembled one hour of his day.
from Les Misérables, Volume I, Book First, Chapter VII, page 34-35.
The "such incidents" mentioned in this quotation refers to a deviation is M. Muriel's routine of tending to the poor in his own village. He determines to visit a community whose cathedral has been ransacked by a band of robbers. His sister and his friend advise him against it because the bandits are still at large, but he claims,
it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves Jesus has constituted me the shepherd" (page 33).
So, he departs with a child (because who would dare bother a priest and a child?), reaches his destination, impacts the robbers so they return what they stole, and returns home unscathed. When questioned again about his actions, he replies:
Let us never fear robbers or murderers. Those dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves....Let us think only of that which threatens our soul....Let us confine ourselves to prayer, when we think that a danger is approaching us. Let us pray, not for ourselves, but that our brother may not fall into sin on our account (page 34).
Rerouting occasionally happens within the mostly routine life. Sometimes family and friends caution against the journey to which they themselves are not called to travel. Even after success, the departure from the norm might be chastised. To others, it appears reckless and irresponsible. Challenge and comfort can be found in Muriel's words. A rerouting does not indicate waywardness if it follows the course of personal calling. It may even guide the lawless to regret and reconciliation. It may provide unexpected treasure upon the return to the daily status quo.
What is your reaction to changes in your routine? Do you see rerouting as an opportunity or an oppression?
Rerouted in your reading routine? No worries! Just catch up this week and read through Volume I, Book Second, Chapter III by January 17.