How do you feel when you look into a mirror? If you’re like me, some days you feel great, and some days not so much. Jokingly, I sometimes think, “man, you’re a lot older now! Where have the years gone!” Mirrors can bring us literally face to face with reality. We think about our age, our physical looks, whether or not we’re happy with that, and so on. At the same time, a “mirror experience” can serve as a means of going to a deeper level of reflection.
Every day at Mass this week we have been hearing from the Apostle James. I find this particular book easy to read and a great book to reflect with on a daily basis. Today’s reading is one of my favorite passages, in that it’s very real for me. Here are the words that strike me: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” (James 1:19-27). To use James’ image, “looking into a mirror” can remind us of 2 realities: the first is the reality of us, who we are, where we’ve come from, and how we’re living, including the mistakes that we make. Second, it is an opportunity to recall God’s unconditional love and mercy for each of us. As God looks into our hearts, where nothing is hidden, we look into the depth of the Lord’s love and forgiveness for us.
So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of that reflective piece of glass, don’t worry if it makes you a little uncomfortable. Try to worry less and less about what others think of your outward show. And, most important of all, remember this: God loves you as you are. Grow as you need to grow. Make the changes that might need to be made. But the core of who you are? The Lord loves that, loves you, beyond all measure.