In Mirrors

In mirrors I see myself. But in mirrors made of glass and silver I never see the whole of myself. I see the me I want to see, and I ignore the rest. Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. They reveal an ugliness I’d rather deny.

My wife is such a mirror. When I have sinned against her, my sin appears in the suffering of her face. Her tears reflect with accuracy my selfishness. My self! But I hate the sight, and the same selfishness I see now makes me look away.’

Oh, what a coward I am, and what a fool! Only when I have the courage fully to look, clearly to know myself – even the evil of myself – will I admit my need for healing. But if I look away from her whom I have hurt, I have also turned away from her who might forgive me. I reject the very source of my healing.

My denial of my sin protects, preserves, perpetuates that sin! Ugliness in me, while I live in illusions, can only grow the uglier.

Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. But this is the hurt of purging and precious renewal – and these are the mirrors of dangerous grace.

The passion of Christ, his suffering and his death, is such a mirror. So that’s what I see reflected in the mirror of Christ’s crucifixion: my death. My rightful punishment. My sin and its just consequences. Me. And precisely because it is so accurate, the sight is nearly intolerable.

Nevertheless, I will not avoid this mirror! No, I will carefully rehearse, again this year, the passion of my Jesus- with courage, with clarity and faith;  for this is the mirror of dangerous grace, purging more purely than any other.

-Walter Wangerin from “Bread And Wine”

As you reflect upon the Gospel today, and the great sacrifice we celebrate this Lenten and Easter season, may you have courage and grace to look intently into that mirror…

and remember that:

His death is the death of the selfish one, whom I called ugly and hated to look upon. And resurrection is another me.

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