Armodoxy for Today: Mask Removal
After trick-or-treating the neighborhood and snapping enough pictures to keep the memories going beyond the evening and season, the custom of opening the bag, inspecting, and sampling the treasure takes place. The first step, though, is removing the mask off your face, to better enjoy the goodies.
The masks we wear in life come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The masks we wear at Halloween are celebratory, they are part of the fun and excitement of the evening. The most beautiful young face can be distorted into something so old and hideous, and vice versa. The masks we wear after Halloween are the ones that we need to examine, for they are easy hiding places for our true nature. We wear one mask at home and another at work. The mask we wear as a spouse might be different from the mask of a friend. The one we wear as parents speaking with our children might be different than the mask we wear speaking with our parents. One mask may be that of the boss and the other of the faithful employee. We wear masks to fit the occasion.
At the end of the day, we remove our masks, and usually do so in front of a mirror. What we see is the maskless self – the one that looks back at us and the one whose stare we cannot escape.
When we talk about an all-knowing and all-seeing God, we understand He has the unique vantage point of seeing through our masks, no matter how many and how layered they may be. In this sense, it is like a mirror-stare, in that we cannot escape His view. To open the bag of “goodies of life” and enjoy the treats within, that view – unhindered, unobscured, is the God view that is the same view from a clean and receptive heart.
The prayer of St. Nersess says (#9) “Lord, Protector of all, instill Your holy fear in me that my eyes may not look lustfully, that my ears may not delight in hearing evil, that my mouth may not speak lies, that my heart may not think evil, that my hands may not do injustice, that my feet may not walk in the paths of iniquity. But direct all my actions that I do your will in everything. Amen.”
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