A House of Mirrors

Dear Reader, have you ever been to an amusement park and wandered into a house of mirrors? The various formations of the mirrors produce entertaining reflections, such as a very tall and unusually skinny “you”, or a squat and fat “you”, or a “you” with a huge nose and tiny feet.

Each mirror indeed reflected you, but unless there was one normal mirror in that house of mirrors, none of them reflected you accurately.

Of course, if mirrors were all like the distorted ones at the amusement park, people would get tired of looking into them fairly quickly. Normally, the point of looking into a mirror is to see our own images reflected as precisely as possible so that we can see ourselves as others see us…as we truly are. Then, with our reflected image before our eyes, we make any appropriate adjustments to ourselves, perhaps we make a few “faces” at our image, and then we turn from the mirror to face the “real world”, confident of our image.

If we are careful of our image, we will check it often in the various mirrors that grace our daily lives; from the rear view mirrors in our cars to the polished glass of an office door. The more frequently we check it, the closer our image will be to what it should be.

Dear Reader, for years I have mulled over some of the mysterious invocations we Catholics use. For example, we ask mirrors to pray for us. Hmmmm. What in the world does that mean!?

In the Litany of Loretto, among other mysterious titles, we call upon Our Lady as the “Mirror of Justice” asking Her to pray for us. In the Litany of Saint Joseph, we implore him as the “Mirror of Patience” to pray for us. Why not just say to Our Lady, “Oh Mary, most just, pray for us!” Or, to Her chaste spouse, “Joseph, most patient, pray for us!” Why the “mirrors”?

Please bear with me, dear Reader, as I attempt to understand a bit more of these tremendous mysteries!

When we speak of the perfections of God, we stumble across realities that transcend our experience. So, it is not adequate to say, for example, that God is “good.” We can say of any other person that he is “good.” But only of God can we say that He is “Goodness”…the very perfection and source of all that is good. We can also say that God is Power; God is Wisdom; God is Being; God is Holiness; God is Love; and so on with all of His perfections.

Every human being is a mirror, created by God to reflect certain of these Divine perfections. Most human beings are like the mirrors in that notorious house of mirrors in the amusement park: The images of God they reflect are scarcely recognizable and terribly distorted. The saints, however, do reflect the myriad perfections of God.

The saints are like the mirrors in that other House of Mirrors — where we find the Mirror of Justice and the Mirror of Patience, forever turned toward the Image of the Invisible God…the God-Man. These two Mirrors reflect the most exact images of God and His perfections. Since they so singularly reflect God, they have a right to the title, “Mirror.”

But, their titles are not merely, “Mirror of God”. Our Lady’s title is, “Mirror of Justice” and Saint Joseph’s is, “Mirror of Patience”. And here, dear Reader, I will venture to posit my own interpretation!

Another bit of explanation is necessary here. You have probably heard of the “predominant fault.” The predominant fault is our particular inclination to evil which is beneath all of our sins. In order to get a grasp on our spiritual lives, we do well to study ourselves to find out our predominant fault. Once we know what it is, we dispel much mystery in the examination of our conscience and in the amendment of our life, and we have a “handle” on things.

However, that is not what I wanted to discuss with you, dear Reader! The predominant fault is the negative side of ourselves, useful as it is. God has also given us a “special attraction of grace.” This attraction is different in each individual…it is unique. The saints, by prayer, discover what this special attraction of grace is for them, and begin to fly to God by acting upon it.

Every saint had a special virtue God wanted him to be known for….a particular Divine perfection He wanted the saint to reflect in their lives…and then for all Eternity. This, again, is based on the special attraction to grace. Each saint is a mirror of some perfection of God….they reflect Him in their lives. However, some mirrors are more perfect and polished than others. The most perfect of all mirrors are the Mother of God and the Foster Father of Jesus. Of all the perfections of God that they reflect, there is one that summarizes their particular reflection of God…and I hold it is their special attraction to grace…. For Our Lady, it is Justice (Holiness). For Saint Joseph, it is Patience (perfect union with God’s Will).

Dear Reader, you are also a mirror, reflecting God. After all, you are in His Image and Likeness. How reflective are you? And, what special perfection of God is shining out in your life?