For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 23-27)

St. James warns us against observing ourselves only physically, whenever we happen to look in a mirror. It’s not enough, because a mirror doesn’t give us enough information about ourselves, as does “the law of liberty,” that, is, the Word of God. We are to “look into” this perfect icon of our humanity, the Word of God, Who is Jesus Christ, in order to receive the full, grace-filled “message” of how and where we need to change our ways. He should be The Man in our mirror, together with our own reflection, contrasting with His. Perhaps this Scripture-passage inspires the lyrics of the Michael Jackson song (not written by him): “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, / I’m asking him to change his ways, / And no message could have been any clearer, / If you want to make the world a better place, / Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

Today let me look to the holy icon of our Lord Jesus Christ, and see The Man in the Mirror, of the self I am called to become, according to Christ’s call to me, to learn from Him and follow Him: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me,” He says, “for I am meek and humble in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11: 29-30)