The prophet Malachi spoke of “a refiner and a purifier of silver.” It was the Messiah to whom he was referring. “He shall sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.” [Malachi 3:3]
The refiner of silver worked like this: he would sit before the furnace and hold a crucible above the fire, containing the impure mixture of silver and lead. Then, as the crucible was heated, the lead would crumble away, until the pure silver would begin to shine. And when the refiner could see his own reflection shining clearly in the silver, then he would know that the metal was pure, and needed no further refining.
When our Lord Jesus was born and when He looked at His mother’s face, the first recollection of His earthly life would have been His own face, shining, reflected in His Mother’s eyes, as the refiner of silver could see himself in the purity of the metal before him.
That’s what Jesus saw in Mary. He saw His own image, the image of God, shining and reflecting in her soul. He saw the reflection of His own love and holiness in her.
That’s what He looks for in us. Our sins are to be purged away. Our selfishness and our worldliness are to be refined away, as the lead is from silver, in the furnace of our contrition, until Christ sees His own face reflected in our hearts. He has promised that He will purify us, if we come to Him.
What Jesus saw in Mary, He looks for mystically in us, and He has made it possible through His saving work of redemption. As Mary bore the Incarnate Word within her, so we are afforded the privilege of bearing Christ within us. He was planted within us at baptism, and each time we receive Holy Communion, we bear Him within us in a marvelous way as we become living tabernacles for His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.