Why this title and what does it mean?
The Litany of Loreto
The Litany of Loreto, also known as the Litany to the Blessed Virgin, is a popular prayer honoring Our Lady by praying to her many titles. Each of these titles is intended to honor Mary’s virtues, motherly spirit and holiness. The Litany was approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V.
Mirror of Justice
One of Mary’s titles in the Litany of Loreto is Mirror of Justice. We recently created a new rosary for our website. This rosary is dedicated to and symbolic of Mary’s title, Mirror of Justice. When we create a new rosary, its focus is primary. Each element must be, in some way, symbolic to the title of the rosary. They are created to honor Our Lady so of course, I want each to have a certain significance and integrity. Putting the elements together with the devotion involves research. I am always learning and often come upon something that is thought provoking and begins a new reflection for my own spirituality. Such was the case with our Mirror of Justice Rosary.
“. . . the heart of Mary became, as it were, a mirror of the Passion of the Son, in which might be seen, faithfully reflected, the spitting, the blows and wounds, and all that Jesus suffered.” ~Saint Lawrence Justinian~
Blessed John Henry Newman
Blessed John Henry Newman provided much food for thought in his own reflection on Mirror of Justice when he wrote,
“By “justice” we do not mean what is understood in ordinary English; instead we mean “all virtues at once, a perfect, virtuous state of soul—righteousness, or moral perfection; so that it answers very nearly to what is meant by sanctity.” And Mary reflects like a mirror the holiness of the one with whom she lived with for close to thirty years. Holy Mary, Mirror of Justice, you reflect Jesus even more beautifully than the moon reflects the rays of the sun, pray for us that we too may be a mirror of your Son.
Reflection ~ Are we Mirroring Justice?
Blessed John Henry Newman also wrote, “…..But what is meant by calling her a mirror? A mirror is a surface which reflects, such as still water, polished steel, or a looking glass. What did Mary reflect? She reflected our Lord—but He is infinite sanctity. She then, as far as a creature could, reflected His divine sanctity, and therefore she is the Mirror of Sanctity, or as the Litany says, of Justice.”
Of course, we do not possess Our Lady’s virtues but we work to mirror them and hopefully, become better with each day. As we grow in virtue, we are more apt to recognize darkness in the world and as our sensitivity becomes deeper, we are inclined to become saddened. I once read that because Our Lady was without original sin, she was totally pure and her virtues were greater than any human who ever has and ever will walk this earth. Because she was so pure, her senses were heightened to a great degree which resulted in her feeling pain more deeply than can be imagined. This meant that every suffering Jesus endured, she felt to an equal degree. Remember the term, “Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood?” This is the sharing of pain (and joy) that existed between Jesus and His mother. This is another way in which Our Lady mirrored her Son. Thinking on this, we reflect on our own mirroring and ask ourselves if and how we are reflecting Our Lord.
“If it were given to a man to see virtue’s reward in the next world, he would occupy his intellect, memory and will in nothing but good works, careless of danger or fatigue.” ~Saint Catherine of Genoa~
Darkness in our World Today
If you are at all like me, you probably find yourself troubled by the ways of today’s world. Mass shootings have become a common occurrence. War weapons have become a fashion accessory. People are killing law enforcement for sport. Homeless are in record numbers. Our streets are homes for poor and hungry. Catholic churches are being desecrated. Bigotry, racism and violence abound and the litany continues. Be clear. I am, in no way, attempting to make a political statement or express a political opinion. I am referring to a human level. The human level on which we should be mirroring Jesus. The level referred to as Social Justice.
“Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man.” ~Catechism of the Catholic Church~
“Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”
Are we Emulating Mary as a Mirror of Justice?
We surely cannot be all things to all people. Neither can we force a person who lacks compassion to become a volunteer for a homeless shelter. We answer only for ourselves and we pray for others. With Our Lady as our model, we have a perfect blueprint for self-examination. Are we charitable? Are we non-judgmental? Do we welcome strangers? Do we do our part to feed the hungry and clothe the naked? Are we peaceful in heart and soul? Are we forgiving? Do we love as Jesus taught? And then, there are things we just don’t make time for or the things we may not understand. Do we pray regularly? Do we attend Mass on Sunday? Are we detached from the material world? Where do our priorities lie? Are we mirroring Jesus in our everyday lives? I fall short. I suspect that we all fall short in one way or another. Admitting our spiritual shortcomings can be difficult. Changing them can be more difficult. But let’s be honest. This world is a mess! Who will change it? Who will make it better? Not the politicians or the activists who march in the streets yelling profanities. We must be the ones to make the change; one person at a time. We must become a mirror of justice. We must mirror Mary who, ultimately, teaches us how to mirror Our Precious Lord.
Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. ~ Saint Teresa of Avila~