More Jerome than Thérèse, Monsieur Vincent's tireless exertions on behalf of his beloved poor are threatened by the sharpness of his tongue for those he sees as obstacles to his important work. When his faithful followers balk at the added burden of caring for Paris' orphaned infants, Monsieur Vincent lashes out, decrying their unwillingness to give above and beyond what they have already given.
In many ways, childhood is the most defenseless of human stages. Yet in His wisdom, God has given children an extraordinarily irrepressible nature, and their ability to weather such storms as war and the loss of those most vital to one's growth, scathed yet unbowed, has been essential to our very survival.
Faithfulness to Christ and His Church will never be easy. We are all tempted to betray Him in a thousand little ways, each and every day. But with such an extraordinary example of Divine Madness and Mercy lifted up before us, how could we not follow in His footsteps, even though they lead us to the Cross? For despite the fear and pain of the many little crucifixions to which He calls us, we must remember that Good Friday is only a step along the path that leads to Easter.
Despite the unrealistic depictions of volcanic, all-consuming love that permeate our culture, few of us are called to love on a spectacular, melodramatic scale. In fact, many of us will show the greatness of our love not through the depth and power of our romanticism, but through the toils and joys of ordinary life.
Blessedly, few of us will ever be called to confront remorse as grave as that which plagues Juliette. And yet, no matter how grievous our guilt may be, we have a far greater Friend than Léa to guide us through our repentance. Like Léa, God is uncompromising in His love; like hers, it is freely given and immeasurable, "pressed down, shaken together, running over."
Our hero is defeated not by Labor or by Capital; he is defeated by the profoundly human tendency toward inertia. A life spent slaving away in a textile factory might not seem like much of a life, but at least it doesn’t require one to make difficult decisions, or strike out into an unknown and challenging new world.