Have you ever gone to a circus or carnival where they have a little house with rooms containing all sorts of mirrors? Some flatten you to the size of a pancake, others make you look like a squirrel, others invert the image and make you look as though you're standing upside down...
Now consider how you appear to the eyes of the world. To your parents, you may be a goody-two-shoes who is expected to get As in everything. Maybe your friends think of you as the class clown who never runs out of jokes to crack. But when you're alone, are you really the smiley, obedient person that you seem to be in the eyes of others? What do you really look like? Each of us must search for and find the answer to who we are in order to reach the fullness of life. But if there is a perfect mirror that reflects the truth of who each of us are, it's clear that it can't be the kind that hangs on the wall and tells us if we're the prettiest of all.
A little question: have you ever taken a look at yourself in the mirror of God's eyes?
His gaze restored the dignity of a prostitute, unceremoniously dragged before a scornful crowd. His gaze, burning with aggrieved anger, pierced the hearts of the Pharisees, who to avoid the feelings of guilt that arose hardened their hearts even further. Yet His gaze brought Peter to bitter tears, and then revived him from despair to repentance. His gaze, through the centuries, has given strength to countless saints to continue embracing their own crosses, to love the unlovable and do the impossible - and continues to do the same today. The same Jesus Christ whom we contemplate in every crucifix fixes the same indescribable, yet perfectly individual and unique, gaze upon each of us.
Something else that's amazing to think about is that our eyes are not only a symbolic mirror, but literally created by God to reflect what we see. In the image of our Lady of Guadalupe, Her eyes reflect the moment Juan Diego unfurled his tilma before the bishop. A scientist, Tonsmann, "magnified the iris of the Virgin's eyes 2,500 times and, through mathematical and optical procedures, was able to identify all the people imprinted in the eyes." We are all captured in Her gaze, each one of us, unique and distinct, and from Her eyes flow a virginal dew that restores the purity of all upon whom She gazes. Her love for us is a perfect reflection of God's infinite, individual love for us, and a source of constant hope for we who have fallen time and again into the quagmire of lukewarmness and mediocrity.
This Lent, let us fix our eyes on the eyes of the crucified Christ and His sorrowful Mother. Let their gaze penetrate into our heart and unmask the facades that we so often put on in order to avoid being vulnerable or in order to fulfil expectations imposed upon us by others. Then we will see who we truly are: a sinner, but utterly loved; one who deserves Hell, but has been raised in Christ to the heights of Heaven. Only then can we allow our own gaze to be transformed and identified with Their merciful gaze, so that others can find their true selves in our gaze.