The Mirror Without Spot
Gaze upon this mirror
These words were not
written by a modern fashion designer but by a medieval mystic, St. Clare
Medieval spiritual authors often made use of the image of the
mirror when writing of the stages of contemplative transformation.
St. Clare adds a distinctively feminine touch to her use of this
image, a use which is also decidedly Christological and utterly
practical in character.
now we see
through a mirror darkly (1
Seraphic Mother urges her followers to look at the Divine Mirror DAILY. Most people
include in their morning routine at least a glance at the mirror.
Models, actors and ballerinas make it part of their professional
lives. How much more should we who have put on Christ in Baptism look
many times daily into the Mirror
The invitation to Gaze upon this mirror EACH DAY reminds us also that acquiring the virtues which make us Christ-like is an on-going challenge for fallen human nature. We NEED this daily contact with Christ in prayer -- whether private or liturgical, in the depths of one’s heart or in the silence of an adoration chapel -- in order to see HOW the virtues were operative in Jesus’ earthly life and to allow them to penetrate into our own lives.
Then this gazing must be DELIBERATE.
In order to continually study our faces within
the Christ-Mirror, we must (as St. Clare says elsewhere), PLACE
our minds before the mirror of eternity.
We need to come to our Lord in prayer freely, willingly
and with determination. Otherwise,
we risk being like
those looking at their faces in a mirror: who look and go away,
forgetting what they looked like.
continual studying of the face of the soul in the Mirror who is Christ
both impresses the image of the Beloved in our minds and hearts, and
challenges us to become what we have beheld.
Finally, the Lady Clare exhorts us to look DEEPLY
into this Mirror. Medieval
mirrors were convex and had only a limited space where the image was
clearly reflected. It took
time and effort to find those spaces.
It is the same when we look into the Mirror
without spot. Quick,
superficial or passing glances will not yield in-depth penetration of
His mysteries nor open the soul to a truly contemplative encounter with
the Son of the living God.
St. Clare tells us that beholding the true reflection of blessed poverty, holy humility and ineffable charity can only be
done with the grace of God. This
is a great consolation. We
are not left alone with our weaknesses and distractions.
God, who placed in our hearts the desire to behold His Son, will
grant us the strength, focus, and patience needed to look on Jesus
daily, determinedly, deeply, until one day we too are robed with the
beautiful garments of the virtues of Him whom St. Clare extols as
the brightness of eternal glory,
the splendor of eternal light and the MIRROR WITHOUT SPOT.
Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy