The king­dom of mir­rors

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - FR. FRAN­CIS ONGKINGCO Vi­gnettes­[email protected]­al­

Avery vain King once de­clared that in his king­dom, only the king could have mir­rors. He took all the mir­rors in the king­dom and as­sessed each one. When his im­age was not well re­flected, he had the mir­ror de­stroyed. Any­one dis­cov­ered own­ing a mir­ror was pun­ished and ban­ished from the king­dom.

His ob­ses­sion for mir­rors did not stop there. He sought out the best and big­gest mir­rors the world over. He bought them and stored them in a spe­cial room in his cas­tle where only the King could en­ter. The King, in fact, was per­haps the only man in the world to own so many mir­rors in one place at one time.

One day, news reached the King about a mys­te­ri­ous mir­ror. It was never clear what it was like. Some said it was bluish in color, while some said it was green or red. Oth­ers said it was tall and wide as a house and some said it could be eas­ily pock­eted away. Trav­el­ers who boasted to have seen it, said it was owned by an­other King, while oth­ers said it was se­curely kept in­side a her­mit’s cave.

The King sent his sol­diers to search for the mir­ror. With days trick­led into weeks, weeks grew into months and months flow­ered into years, but his sol­diers did not have the slight­est clue where to find the mir­ror. The King was at the point of giv­ing up and even thought that ev­ery­thing said so far about the mir­ror were only tales.

A mer­chant from an un­known town one day ar­rived. News reached the King that the mer­chant had in­for­ma­tion about the mir­ror. He called the man and asked about the mir­ror. The mer­chant said that in­deed there was such a mir­ror and it be­longed to a her­mit liv­ing in a cave in the other side of the sea.

The king asked if that her­mit was will­ing to sell the mir­ror. The mer­chant replied that he wasn’t sure. It is said that any­one who peered into the mir­ror was able to per­ceive the se­crets to ei­ther great hap­pi­ness or mis­for­tune. Thus, it was called the heart mir­ror.

The King im­me­di­ately left with his troops for the other side of the sea.

He ar­rived and found the her­mit. He led the King to his cave where the mir­ror was. The cave was very deep and dark that the King had to feel his way in­side. Fi­nally, with his hand he felt some­thing cold and smooth. He knew it was the mir­ror!

The King asked the her­mit to light a torch for him to ex­am­ine the il­lu­sive mir­ror. The her­mit replied that light was not nec­es­sary to see one­self in this mir­ror. It was enough to de­sire to gaze upon it and one will see what he has to see.

The King, found this ridicu­lous but did as the her­mit had in­structed. As he tried to dis­cern the fa­mil­iar fea­tures of his face upon the mir­ror, he be­gan to see not his face but his greed, anger, van­ity, lust and un­just ways.

The King was aghast and cried as he be­came aware of who he re­ally was. But in­stead of giv­ing in to de­spair, he once again peered deeper into the “mir­ror of his sins.” Then he saw an­other mir­ror and he re­al­ized that it was the mir­ror he had been seek­ing ever since.

This was the “mir­ror of sor­row­ful love” that re­flected what else he could be. The King left the cave a wiser and hum­bler man. Although he saw his sin­ful re­flec­tion, he was de­ter­mined to do some­thing about it. He re­pented and made up for all his had lacked to­wards his peo­ple. Now he al­ways car­ried the mir­ror in his heart.


God, un­like the vain King, also sought a mir­ror. And God found it in Mary’s heart! It was the one heart on earth, forged without sin, whose hu­mil­ity only re­flected God’s Good­ness and Beauty.

...light was not nec­es­sary to see one­self in this mir­ror. It was enough to de­sire to gaze upon it and one will see what he has to see.

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