HEDWIG LEWIS SJ
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There is a poignant story by the British writer Max Beerbohm, called The Happy Hypocrite. A lord, who is as wealthy as he is wily, vicious and vain, once attends a Ballet and falls in love with a ballerina. After the performance, he rushes backstage, finds her, and on his knees begs her to marry him.
She gazes at him intently for a while, then with sincerity in her voice, says, "Your face, my lord, mirrors, it may be, true love for me, but it is even as a mirror long tarnished by the reflection of this world's vanity."
Not one to give up easily, the lord decides to win her over by deceitful means. From a mask-maker he obtains the mask of a saintly face that fits him perfectly. Then, under a false name, he arranges for her to meet him by a lake one evening. While he waits for her, with his mask on, of course, he sees his reflection in the river. He is so impressed by his ‘new’ face that he decides to reform his life and manners to match his changed appearance.
The ballerina is attracted to him, falls in love, and eventually marries him. One day she tells him that though she finds his face very appealing, she has been wondering why it has such a frozen look.
The lord decides to call off the bluff. He peels off his mask and stands before her, feeling terribly ashamed, and expecting her to be appalled by the sight and flee. Instead, she embraces him lovingly.
Without his realizing it, from the moment he reformed his ways, his face began to change, and it now had the appearance of a saint!
This piece of fiction is not far from fact. In life, too, we know that a person's face mirrors his or her character; a person’s actions and reactions are revealed in facial expressions. Except for "happy hypocrites", however, who conceal their real personalities behind cleverly designed masks.
This book presents Images In Mirrors
– a large variety of people with and without masks. There are hundreds of
anecdotes and stories, each like tiny mirrors that reflecting the ‘human’
aspects of life.
In other words, most of them are meant to be projections of our self-images, in varying shades, to enable us to ‘see’ our reflections and to evoke a personal response. A brief exposure, like a flash of sunlight from a ‘mirror’, will light up our senses, increase our awareness, and motivate us to action. There are contorted mirrors, too, to amuse - and instruct. Obviously, this will entail a lot of ‘reflection’ on the ‘images’ in the mirror.
The stories and anecdotes in this book have been reproduced, adapted, or abridged from multiple sources of varied descriptions – life-experiences, books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, calendars, posters, films....
Images In Mirrors provides interesting material for writers and speakers, teachers and preachers. The stories can be used for meditation and prayer-services, as well as for general instruction, entertainment and in conversation....
You, dear reader, now have these ‘mirrors’ in your hand. Create your own images -- your ‘saintly’ personalities, if you please. Let your appearance and your behaviour match!
Images in Mirrors is not a
Novel to be read in one sitting.
C. CHARACTER TRAITS
The driver, who happened to be a high-ranking officer in the Police Department, flashed his credentials. The traffic cop glanced at it, then continued making the entry.
Visibly annoyed, the officer said sternly: "Remember, lad, that one day when your name comes up for a promotion, I may be the one in charge of approving it."
Without the slightest hesitation, the policeman offered the senior officer his ticket, and said with a smile: "When it comes to that, Sir, please remember that you have one honest policeman in your employ."
He was given strict instructions not to allow any vehicle in unless it had a special tag. He once stopped an unidentified car which carried a high-ranking official. The officer promptly told the driver to disregard the sentry and drive on.
The guard stepped forward and in a calm voice said, "I'm sorry, but I’m new at this, sir; whom do I shoot? You, sir, or the driver?"
When mother and daughter returned Gandhi took the girl aside and spoke to her about giving up the habit. The mother was grateful for the advice, but before leaving she asked, "Bapuji, why didn't you speak to my daughter when we last visited you."
"There’s a simple reason,"
explained Gandhi. "Three weeks ago I myself was addicted to eating
The lad asked his mother for her opinion. After a moment's silence, she replied: "Son, you know when I come to wake you in the morning I shake you hard and you don't stir. And I shake you even harder and you give a little moan. And finally I shake you as hard as I can and you open one sleepy eye. I'd hate to come in morning after morning and find you awake."
He turned the job down and has been sleeping soundly since.
Character cannot be purchased,
The hundreds of stories in this book are like little ‘mirrors’ that reflect the ‘images’ of people around you. You will see them as they are, but often your own ‘image’ will blend with the reflections; you will see a part of you in them. And this can be a very learning experience.
Images in Mirrors can be used for personal reflection, or as a source of inspiration by speakers, preachers, teachers, and pray-ers! The stories have universal appeal, to young and old, everywhere.