“A dog who remains beside us”

The following is my favorite passage from Shusaku Endo’s The Samurai:

“I’ve always believed that I became a Christian as a mere formality. That feeling hasn’t changed at all. But since I’ve learned something about Government, sometimes I find myself thinking about that man. I think I understand why every house in those countries has a pathetic statue of that man. I suppose that somewhere in the hearts of men, there’s a yearning for someone who will be with you throughout your life, someone who will never betray you, never leave you — even if that someone is just a sick, mangy dog. That man became just such a miserable dog for the sake of mankind.” The samurai repeated the words almost to himself. “Yes, that man became a dog who remains beside us. That’s what that Japanese fellow at the Tecali swamp wrote. That when he was on the earth, he said to his disciples that he came into the world to minister unto men.”