Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with Richard Rohr: Good Mirroring and Bad Mirroring

Monday of the Second Week of Lent | Readings: Daniel 9:4–10; Luke 6:36–38


It appears that humans can only know themselves through the gaze of others. We call it mirroring. A good parent, like God, naturally blesses the child through their receptive and affirming face. It is the eternal blessing to the children of Israel, “May Yahweh let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May Yahweh uncover her face to you and bring you peace!” (Numbers 6:25). Bad parents, that is to say, not like God, hand on their own self-rejection to their children.

In the First Reading from the book of Daniel, we see someone who is not being mirrored very well at all. The whole prayer appears to be guilt-based, fear-filled, self-hating, and self-rejecting. We are “shamefaced,” Daniel says twice, and he projects his sad eyes onto “all the people of the land” who now share in his apparent unworthiness.

But thank God for the Gospel! Here we have total positive mirroring perfectly described. Receive God’s compassion, and you will be able to be compassionate. Do not receive negative judgment from God, and you will not be judgmental yourself. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Give and it shall be given to you. Jesus describes a perfect reciprocity between what we have received or not received and how we will give or not give. It is all a matter of staying inside “the wondrous loop.” Once you know that you are inside Trinitarian Love, you are connected to an infinite Source, and one is never sure who is doing the giving and who is doing the receiving. It is all Flow and Outpouring. It is you and yet it is God. Thus Jesus ends this Gospel by a wonderful image of overflowing abundance.


“Full measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap, because the measure you measure out with will be measured back to you.” —Luke 6:38


“Humble God, make us like you. You do not lord it over us, but wait patiently for us to change. May we do the same with our brothers and sisters on the journey.” 

¡Haga clic aquí para ver la traducción en español!

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