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  • Luigi Gioia

The Only Truthful Mirror

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Among the most captivating images of mature relationship with God, the book of Psalms cherishes thirst:

O God you are my God, I shall seek you earnestly. My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63.1) and I thirst for you like a parched land (Psalm 143.6).

Thirst can be very uncomfortable and yet it has a pleasant side in that it heightens the sense of relief we feel when we finally reach water.

In the same way, there is a joy in seeking to see the face of God: My heart says of you ‘Seek his face!’. Your face, Lord, I seek. Do not hide your face from me (Psalm 27.8f) and Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice (Psalm 105.3).

Why such a thirst, a need to see the face of God?

The short answer is: because he is the only truthful mirror.

In our homes, our elevators or just by taking a selfie with our smart phones we can see what our face looks like any time of the day. And we often dislike or are not very pleased with what we see because we pay attention only to our physical features, our tiny imperfections, those bags under our eyes, those wrinkles, our hair…

It’s not just vanity.

Deep down, there is a part of ourselves always afraid to lose validation and recognition from others, depending on how we are perceived, on how we look. We might have had plenty of recognition in the past, or up to know, and yet we are always anxious about whether we will keep receiving it in the future.

Think how differently we are seen by those who love us. They see the same features, but find them attractive, are pleased by them – because this is what love does: it creates beauty.

How deeply our self-image changes when we look at ourselves through the eyes of those who love us, think highly of us, care for us.

The only truthful mirror are the eyes of those who truly love us.

This is why the Psalmist thirsts for God, yearns to see the face of God, because she wants to see herself as God sees her and be progressively healed from her low self-esteem, insecurity, and guilt.

For the Psalmist, this thirst, this desire, are therapeutic in themselves.

Desire helps us to overcome our negative feelings about ourselves by diverting our attention from us to something, or better someone, who will only and always validate, encourage, and comfort us.

And hopefully, it will teach us to do the same with each other, make each and everyone of us a truthful mirror, a mirror truly capable of giving beauty.




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