Day 17 – Whose Image?




In our previous reflection, we talked about how important it is to learn from Jesus to routinely retreat from work in order to spend time with God the Father in silence and in solitude. In silence, we begin to reflect on many things, especially on ourselves. It is like seeing our own reflection in a mirror. We need to face ourselves as we see more clearly our weaknesses and brokenness. That is why people do not like doing reflection, facing oneself in silence. It can be quite "threatening". It also explains why so many people are dreadful about going to confession because reflection is the important first step to prepare oneself for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We really need to ask God for courage as we begin this very first step.

No other virtue is more important at this stage than our humility. It helps to remind ourselves that we are from dust. We are nothing to begin with. Everything we have, who we have become, and what we can accomplish in life are all gifts from God our Creator, without whom we can do nothing. Unless we recognize this most important fact, reflection can be a torture. It can be extremely humbling or even defeating because it is like preparing oneself to face a judge. It breaks our hearts to see how fragile we are.

Even with this mindset, it is still difficult to accept how weak, how broken, and how sinful we are in our daily dealings with ourselves, with others, and with God. At that moment, submitting ourselves to the Holy Spirit who lives within us will help us find strength and regain peace.

It is important to know that how brave we are in facing ourselves determines how honest we are in recognizing our frailties and sinfulness, which in turn determines how thorough we are in preparing for confession and how determined we will be in repenting from our sins. And this determination to repent will give us the courage to persevere in returning to the Father's House to be reunited with God the Father. During this whole process, we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, as it is through this vulnerability that we can become strong. For God said,

'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.'

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

On the other hand, Satan does not like that! And it will try its best to shatter this process of true repentance. Being

“the accuser of our brothers”

(Revelation 12:10)

it attempts to first accuse us to make us incapable of facing ourselves. This blow can be fatal if Satan successfully makes us ashamed of ourselves instead of being shameful of our sins. Satan can also lure us in turning ourselves into the accuser's role, pointing fingers at others in order to find excuses for ourselves. Sometimes we catch ourselves saying, "It is him who first sinned against me. What I did was just a defensive move. What's wrong with that?" In either case, we are avoiding facing the truth which will lead us to true repentance and set us free.

As we reflect, and as we face ourselves "in the mirror", we need to be able to see God's divinity in us, instead of seeing the Devil's image and focusing on human frailties, which inevitably lead us to despair. Aren't we made in the image of God, and not Satan's?

If we firmly anchor ourselves as children of God, no matter how broken and sinful we are, we will then have the confidence to fight against those evil forces that act upon us on our journey back to our Father's House.


Are you afraid of facing yourself, especially your brokenness and sinfulness?

Have you ever fallen into the Devil’s trap in accusing yourselves or others? Are you determined to avoid falling into this same trap as you begin to make your way home to the Father's House?

How firmly do you believe that you are made in the image of God?


Dear Abba Father, thank you for reminding me that I was created in Your image and no one can take away from me my true identity. O send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain and to Your dwelling as I begin my journey of repentance. As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? (Psalm 42, 43)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Sincerely invite you to share the reflections that inspires you by this day's retreat.