Titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto

Mirror of Justice

Mirror of Justice

A mirror is a shining surface which reflects an object placed before it. What image was reflected in Mary?  Why is She called a mirror?  We need hardly ask, for we know that it was God in His glorious perfections, that is Jesus, Who was reflected in Mary.

The more perfect, the more smooth and spotless the mirror, the more perfect will be the likeness of the object reflected.  To Her are applied the words of Sacred Scripture: "An unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of His goodness."  Her soul was clear, calm, unruffled, spotless, and in Her the perfect image of Jesus is always seen.  She is, as it were, His echo.

Then, to be adequately reflected, the object must be placed close to the mirror.  No one was ever so close to Jesus as His Mother, no one ever had such opportunities of studying Him, of modeling Herself on His virtues, on His character.

Why is She called "Mirror of Justice" and not—"Mirror of Jesus?"

Justice, in the language of Scripture, means not only that great moral or cardinal virtue which gives everyone his due, but it represents a perfect state of soul, the perfection, the completion of all virtues.

Mary was a perfect copy of the virtues of Jesus, of His humility, His love, His patience, His charity, His mercy.  She lived with Him in the closest intimacy for thirty years.  For all that time She had Him all to Herself.   When one lives with a person, without even reflecting upon it, views, ideas, and ways are adopted unconsciously, until the two who love one another seem almost one, so alike are they in everything.  They love the same things, their dislikes are identical, they desire and work for the same ends.  Mary, loving Jesus so uniquely, so intensely, grew daily, hourly, more and more like Him.

How much do the members of a family, generally speaking, resemble one another!  As the proverb runs, "Love either finds or makes its like."

A mirror, again, is used to view ourselves in, to see if there is anything disorderly or out of place in our attire or appearance, so that we may put it right.  Sometimes we may put our looking-glass to a wrong use, by looking in it out of sheer vanity, in order to admire ourselves and take pleasure in our supposed good looks.  This danger will never be ours when we look into our "Mirror of Justice"—Mary. We may admire Her beauty our whole life long, and never come close to realizing all there is in Her that is lovely and worthy of our praise and admiration.  Again, we may compare ourselves in that mirror, and see what is wrong and faulty in ourselves, in our spiritual attire; how unlike we are to Mary, our model, and what we have to do to better reflect Her virtues.

Our fallen human nature is constantly tempted to fix its gaze upon ourselves, to admire our own good qualities, our achievements, just as vanity tempts us to admire ourselves in a mirror. Spiritually, there are two dangers in looking at ourselves.  If we keep our eyes fixed on our own good points, we become proud, vain, and self-satisfied.  There is also the opposite danger, for if we look only at our own faults, constantly dwelling on our miseries and shortcomings, we may grow faint-hearted, discouraged, and fall into despair.

It is always better to aim at a positive good than a negative one.  To aim at doing what is good will keep us from evil far more effectively than merely turning away from evil.  For example, it is good and necessary to avoid the occasions of sin, but it is better and more effective to strive to always be mindful of the presence of God.  It is good to fear God, but better to love Him.

So Our Lord has given us this lovely, spotless Mirror of Our Mother's life and virtues to contemplate, to gaze lovingly and thoughtfully upon.  How much easier it is to do a thing well if we have a perfect and beautiful model of what we have to do before us!  We keep looking at the beautiful ideal or example, and the very act of looking impresses the image on our soul; and insensibly, without consciously reflecting on the process, we begin to love the beauty held up to us, until it almost seems to pass into us and become part of our being.

Motto: "She is the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of His goodness." (Wisd. 7:26)

Practice: Make it a habit of saying: Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me.


Holy House of Loreto

It was above all by living so many years in close intimacy with Jesus that Mary became the wonderful Mirror of Justice.  The very house in which the Holy Family lived became a sanctuary of holiness, and is worthy of veneration by the faithful.

The following story is found among the traditions of the Holy House of Loreto.  At some distance from that city, a little girl of seven was keeping her sheep.  Her parents had imbued her with special devotion to Our Lady.   Nothing gave her such delight as the invocation of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  One day this little girl kept her flocks as usual, while engaged in prayer.   She suddenly saw a beautiful Lady approaching her.  She was at first alarmed, but the Lady took away all her fear, and bade the child come with Her to a certain place She wished to show her, bidding her to trust her sheep to Her care in her absence.

It seemed to her that Our Lady took her to a most beautiful chapel, all decorated with jewels, and splendidly illuminated.  The child was rapt in happy prayer, and offered herself entirely to Mary before a beautiful statue which the Lady showed her.  After a short walk, she again found herself among her sheep.

On her return home she told her parents of her experience and entreated them to bring her once more to the grand chapel.  They knew of no such place, but after a time, they took her on a pilgrimage to Loreto.  On entering the chapel, the child at once recognized it as that of her vision; there was the same altar, the same statue, the same Infant Jesus.  The child joyfully consecrated herself anew to Mary, and later on became a religious.  Every year she visited this holy shrine.

Tradition tells us that the Holy House of Nazareth was transported by Angels to a wooded place belonging to a pious lady of the name Lauretta—hence the place and the Holy House itself were afterwards known by the name, Loreto.  It was in this holy dwelling that Mary grew to be the "Mirror of Justice," from Her constant reflection on the virtues of Jesus.

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