By Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR
For she is the reflection of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. (Wis 7: 25-26)
This next interesting Marian title can seem to be rather a mystery. What are we to make of Mary as a “Mirror of Justice”? Well, the image that is reflected in a mirror, especially a “spotless mirror,” is a perfect copy of the reality itself. If Jesus is called the “Sun of Justice,” then Mary is the perfect reflection of that Sun and its light to others. In this I am reminded of the immortal words of that great Marian saint, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, when he wrote in his treatise, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “She is so intimately united with Thee that it were easier to separate the light from the sun, the heat from the fire; nay, it were easier to separate from Thee all the angels and the saints than the divine Mary, because she loves Thee more ardently and glorifies Thee more perfectly than all the other creatures put together.” What a profound thought. Mary is the perfect reflection of Jesus. In bringing forth the “Sun of Justice” she has magnified the Sun’s Light for all the world to see.
Another sense of mirror is that it reflects back the things we can’t see fully with our own eyes and is necessary to get a full view of how we look to others. The same is true in the spiritual realm. We cannot see our own faults and failings the way God and other people see them, and Mary, very gently, reflects them to us for our own spiritual benefit, as hard as it may be to face our true selves sometimes.
I remember hearing the story of a young man who was basically a decent person but very self-centered and ambitious. Everyone was afraid to point these faults out to him. He chose the legal profession as the quickest way to achieve his personal goals and soon gained the reputation of being a cut-throat lawyer who only cared about money and his reputation. One day he fell completely in love with a beautiful young woman and wanted to marry her. He even thought that a beautiful wife would enhance his personal profile and get him into certain social circles he wanted to be part of. Yet, he was suspicious by nature so, without disclosing his real intent, he hired a private detective to look into her background and tell him what negatives she had that might reflect poorly on him. Well, an unexpectedly shocking report came back to the young man after a few weeks. The detective told him, “This woman has an impeccable record in every respect: she comes from a good family, has an excellent education, is entirely moral, and has a spotless reputation for charity and goodness. The only black mark on her record is that she has been seen around town recently with a totally disreputable young lawyer who everyone thinks would be a complete mistake to marry.”
This young man had a good look into a “Mirror of Justice” at that moment. Yet, the reflection of his bad character back to him was both “just” in the sense that he deserved it and “merciful” in the sense that it did not totally crush him to see the truth about himself. We hope the news led him to conversion and some sort of behavior change and maturity.
Our Blessed Lady is so close to Jesus that she sees everything through His eyes. She will not change the order of His Justice, but she will help us to live up to it and strive for greater virtue by helping us to see our deeds and character rightly. She is a “spotless mirror” that can never give a false impression. Mary just wants us to be totally pure and converted in heart so that we can enter into the life of heaven that God has planned for us.
If you are like me, you will probably hesitate a moment before asking Mary to “reflect” back to you the things in your life that need to be changed, but we never have to fear Mary’s loving look at our lives because she also shows us the goodness and the virtue that she sees in us and encourages us to follow the shortest and clearest path to heaven. Why don’t we ask the “Mirror of Justice” today to help us be fully converted to God and so reflect the light of Christ to others in this world?
Heavenly Mother and “Mirror of Justice,” open our hearts to the light of God’s countenance. Shine that merciful light upon our darkness so that we can accept the Gospel message into the depths of our being and enter more fully into the life of heaven. We ask this through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
[Excerpted from: Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Jesus and Mary: In Praise of their Glorious Names, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.: Huntington, Indiana, 2012.]