March 30, 2012

Inverted in Many Ways

The other day I was paging up a breviary and I came across the holy card from this post, and Fr. Venantius's reflection on a priest seeing his reflection in the chalice during the consecration. (I have three sets of breviaries going right now: Latin, English, and Italian.)

I was just thinking about how, most of the time, the reflection one sees in the chalice is inverted. It's like when you see yourself in a spoon; the concave surface refracts such that your reflection is upside-down.
Thinking on this, I'm reminded that the person I think I know as myself is not the same person known by the Creator. My distraction and sin distorts my self-knowledge. Coming to know myself as God sees me is the substance of the spiritual journey. So it turns out that you really should take the advice of your kindergarten teacher when she said to 'be yourself.' Trouble is, it's not something you can just do, but a long and sometimes terrifying work of the spirit.

Perhaps it's a trite reflection, and if it is I apologize, but maybe when I see my inverted reflection in the chalice I can be reminded that Jesus Christ died and rose into the Eucharist and the other sacraments precisely that I might be 'reverted'. That I, one who finds himself as a homo incurvatus in se, a human being bent over and turned back in on himself, might learn to stand up and be the flourishing creature willed by God. This new person, as he emerges in the course of my journey of prayer, might appear upside-down and foreign because of my confusion and my attachment to false selves, but this is an optical illusion of the spiritual vision. The image that appears to be upside-down only looks funny because my confusions and disordered affections have distorted my perspective; in the end it is he who will turn out to be the real me.


Greg said...

Magnificent essay on how we approach life looking through a dark glass, rippled with distortion.

In conflict resolution, per the legacy of St. Francis taming the wolf, an important step is addressing the perceptual distortion that blocks reconciliation.

We move from false self to divine self and then past the false self of the other to the divine in the other. It is a move I capture in Friar Murray Bodo's phrase, the Face of a Franciscan.

Celeste said...

This post is beautiful. The idea of true identity in Christ is something I have recently posted on also. Thank you for sharing these wonderful is a message that needs to be shared

Eve said...

Peter had himself crucified upside down (inverted), because he saw himself as not worthy.