It seems that lots of people avoid having their picture taken, in either formal or informal settings. They’ll do almost anything to avoid posing, even with family and friends – feign illness, sneak out of the room, or pretend to be busy. And even when forced into a group photo, they’ll stand in the back row and slouch.
This photo-phobia seems to be an especially acute disease among teenagers. You should see the look on their faces and their pained reaction when parents and grandparents force them to get in line for a Confirmation picture with the Bishop. And their siblings.
In explaining why they hate pictures, people often say something like, “I don’t like the way I look.” Perhaps they’re embarrassed by their clothes, or they think they’re overweight, or too tall or too short, or that they have too many wrinkles or pimples. Lots of reasons, I suppose, but it always comes down to this: “I don’t like the way I look.”
I guess it’s why Hollywood celebs and TV news anchors get makeovers and facelifts, are always perfectly tanned, and never, ever appear in public without being fully made-up and perfectly coiffed.
“I don’t like the way I look.” Now if that’s a reality of our secular, social lives, I wonder if it’s true also in our spiritual lives. When you look at yourself in the spiritual mirror, that is, when you do an honest examination of conscience, what do you see? Do you like the way you look? Are you on good, speaking terms with God? Are there bad habits that embarrass you? Sins that shame you? Personal relationships you know are inappropriate? Material attachments that consume you? Past grievances you’re unwilling to forgive?
Perhaps you need a spiritual makeover. You need to shape up, lose the weight of sin and shame, and grow in holiness and virtue. And a spiritual makeover is what our lives of faith are all about. Through the faithful reception of the sacraments, especially Confession, through personal prayer and devotion, by keeping the Commandments, practicing charity, and imitating the saints, especially our Blessed Mother, you can become a picture of spiritual health and wholeness you’ll never be ashamed of. And that’s important, for at the end of our lives that’s the photo ID we’ll present to God as we pass through security and seek to enter heaven.
Something to think about: Do you like the way you look, spiritually?