The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Mirror of every Virtue, in which we should often
look a ourselves, so as to wash away the stains of our souls, and to increase in
By Rev. J. Fuhlrott
"For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness." - Wisdom vii. 26
In the Old Testament, God commanded hat a brass basin should be made polished like he brightest mirror and placed at the door of the holy tent, so that the priests, when they wished to enter God's tent, could behold themselves beforehand in this basin, and, if they found anything soiled or in disorder, could cleanse it in a wash-basin, (Exod. xxxviii. 8.) By this brass and shining mirror is understood the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which we see as in a very bright mirror, every virtue reflected, and in which we can not only behold distinctly the spots and stains of our soul, but also wash them away in its precious blood: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I. John i 7).
Once, when St. Catherine of Sienna looked into this mirror of the divine Heart of Jesus, and beheld her own heart upon the other side, still subject to so many imperfections and faults, she beseeched our Lord, in the most urgent manner, that He would vouchsafe to take her heart away from her, and in its place to give her His spotless Sacred Heart. This prayer was pleasing to the Lord, and He took her heart away and gave her instead His own, so that in the future she could say to the Lord: "I offer to Thee, O Lord, not my heart, but Thine."
When the virgin Catherine Raconisia, who loved the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the most tender devotion, looked with the eyes of her soul into this mirror, and saw therein, as in the clearest crystal, the spots upon her heart, she implored the Lord that He might take her heart and purify it in His blood, and then replace it; the divine Savior granted her desire, took away her heart, and returned it to her purer and holier than it was before; and this took place five times in the course of her life, as is related by the Reverend Father John Weyer, S. J.
O Christian soul! look also at night, during your examination of conscience, into this divine mirror, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and you will find material enough for self-accusation. Consider His astonishing humility, how He knelt at Judas' feet, allowed Barabbas to be preferred to Himself, and was nailed to the cross between two thieves. Oh, how great was this humility of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! And then consider, on the other hand, how little of humility your own heart knows, with all its vain desires for worldly honor and riches.
In this way you may consider all the virtues; for instance, patience, purity, sobriety, poverty, mortification, and so on, and in every case you will find imperfections and negligences and cause for reproach. Acknowledge these faults of your heart, and implore earnestly the Sacred Heart of Jesus for grace, so that you may improve in the future.
It is related by authentic writers of Saint Rosalia, the daughter of King Sinibald, that, one day, at her father's desire, she dressed herself in her royal robes, and then contemplated herself thus adorned in the mirror. She had hardly glanced at the mirror when she was seized with a sudden dread, because there she saw, in the mirror, the divine Savior, streaming with blood, crowned with thorns, His whole body bruised, and fastened to the cross with iron nails; and she heard the voice of the Redeemer, saying: "Behold the Man whom thou didst crucify; behold the wounds which thou hast made; behold the side which thou didst pierce." Her heart was so strongly affected by this pitiful voice and by the sorrowful sight that, without consideration for the world, for kingdom, wealth, royal pleasures, honors, and even the paternal house, she renounced them all, and chose a dismal cave in the rocks, where she passed the rest of her life in constant contemplation of her crucified Savior, until her blessed death. In the cave she wrote with her own hand this inscription: "I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Quisquina and Rosa, have, for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ, decided to live in his cave." Her holy body was found during the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII, in the year 1625, and on this occasion Sicily was delivered from a terrible plague at her intercession.
Pope Boniface VIII sent once to the Queen of Great Britain an exceedingly bright gilt mirror, with a costly comb, as a special present. Now, I offer you, my dear friends, one like it, only a much truer mirror, namely, the most holy and precious Heart of Jesus, which is surmounted with a cross and surrounded with thorns. Hang this divine mirror in your bedroom. Go for advice during the day to this mirror, and efface in it the stains on your soul. I offer you also a comb, namely, the prickly thorns which pierced this blessed Heart of Jesus. "Look and make it according to the pattern" (Ex. xxv. 40). O Christian soul! look frequently into the mirror of the divine Heart of Jesus, and make amends for the sins you have committed against God, against yourself, and against your neighbor. But do not look into it superficially and in passing, of which the Apostle St. James says, "beholding his own countenance in a glass; for he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was" (James i. 23), and, therefore, he took no pains to wash away the stains and to put in order that which was in disorder; but look into it after the manner of vain young girls, who do not leave the mirror until the least little thing is attended to. In this way, Christian soul, look into the mirror of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and learn there to overcome your anger, to practice meekness, and to imitate His patience and chastity. His obedience, His love of God and of His neighbor, and to be resigned to His holy will in all things: "For I have given you an example," says the divine Savior, "that as I have done to you, so you do also" (John xiii. 15).
It will be useful to relate here an episode in the life of the Reverend Father Hippolyte Galatinus, of Florence. This priest lived in Florence, in the neighborhood of a vain woman, whose godless life and shame he took very much to heart. To save her soul, he made use of the following stratagem. He had a picture painted, representing the divine Savior, scourged and crowned with thorns, streaming with blood. This picture, which from the back was made to look like a mirror, he hung, after the manner of women, at the window, and he stood frequently before it, arranging his hair, adjusting his cap, and so on. To the before-mentioned sinner, who lived opposite, it seemed strange to see this priest, who was so well known on account of his sanctity, standing so often before his mirror; and she remarked, jokingly, that he had better lend her his looking-glass for a while. This was a much-desired message for Hippolyte. He took the supposed mirror and showed her the picture. At this unexpected sight, the sinner was strangely moved, and touched, she looked again and again at the picture, and shortly afterward she forsook the world, entered a convent, and led a very edifying life until her death.
The philosopher Socrates desired that his scholars should frequently look at themselves in the mirror, so as to correct the carriage of their bodies, their manners, and their motions.
Christian soul! I know of a mirror, in which you can not only se everything which is immoral, defective, and objectionable, but in which you can improve yourself. This mirror is the most amiable Heart of Jesus, which the Church, with so much right, places before all Christians as a model for all their actions, morals, and virtues. Look diligently into this holy mirror, so that this model may be engraven upon your heart. "Thou hast, O Lord Jesus Christ," says Saint Drogo Hostiensis, "made Thy body into a mirror for my soul."
If you love your soul, take the Sacred Heart of Jesus for your mirror, place it before your spiritual eyes, look into it often, ask help of it in every temptation, so that it may be your salvation in that last struggle, which will open for you the gates of eternity. Amen.