March 20, 2019
Sources differ on how many times a day we see our own reflection in the mirror, but when I started to consider it, I realized for me it was quite a few times between washrooms, the car and assorted other locations. We get very accustomed to seeing ourselves, this begins at a very early age. Babies love looking in mirrors and begin to recognize themselves at around 18 months old, which begins a life-long preoccupation with our appearance. Mirrors hold a certain fascination for us, it is hard not to look. Some of us, a minority would be my guess, like what we see and others are more apt to pick the reflection apart. Either way, they can draw us more into ourselves.
Mirrors feature prominently in our culture. They are in a host of stories, ranging from Snow White and Alice in Wonderland to Dracula and Shakespeare. In the Jewish faith tradition mirrors are covered when a family member dies. Many superstitions exist around mirrors, most notably the seven years bad luck if one is accidentally broken. People believed the mirror reflects the soul and that in breaking it, one’s very soul gets damaged.
Mirrors are used in the bible, too. At times, we are told that the people who don’t believe can’t see the true reflection, it is as if they are looking through a veil. In other passages, we are reminded that we are born to reflect God’s image. Scripture flips the concept of the mirror from self- absorption to focusing outward.
As we journey through Lent, our students and staff are working to improve how we reflect God’s face to the world. You may have been wondering what those little pieces of mirror were all about. Using the mirror analogy helps us to think of things that stop us from reflecting the glory of God. Mirrors get dirty and need cleaning routinely. We can look at our lives and make sure that we pray regularly and participate in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Some mirrors distort the image reflected, like fun house mirrors. Are we sure we are on the path that serves God and others, or do we alter what we feel is true and end up serving ourselves? And mirrors do get broken, and become unusable, sharp and somewhat dangerous. Thankfully, unlike literal mirrors, we can call on the grace of God, which can help us repair our lives in times of darkness and trouble.
I hope that this Lenten season offers you opportunities to reflect, pun fully intended, on your spiritual journey. This time leading to the great celebration of Easter calls us all to consider the ways we can mirror God’s love for us and for our world.
All of us then, reflect the glory of God with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.
-2 Corinthians 3:18