The Crown of Thorns
Jesus, we know that all crowns have metaphorical thorns, but upon your head was placed a crown of mockery, meant to further debase you in the cruel manner of bullies. For me, the mockery is an interior jeering and snarling at myself. As I seek out jobs that do not exist, or will not be offered to me, my ego is taking a beating; my confidence in my abilities is being shaken. All of my skills, all of my knowledge and experience — these aspects of myself by which I have been defined for so long — are being weighed by strangers who find them unremarkable. The indifference is painful, and in that pain I find my own excesses of pride; I see that I have built my life around what I do, rather than who I am. Now, faced with less doing and more being, I feel like a stranger to myself, a false monarch in a castle built on sand. Help me to recollect that I am more than my curriculum vitae, that I was loved into being. Remembering this, I beg you to help me see what I was born to be, and to pursue my being, in you for whom there are no strangers.
Confidence and pride, ego and attitude all manifest themselves in how we present ourselves to the world, and how we understand ourselves in response to lifelong feedback. A painful stripping off of these protective layers reveals our shared vulnerability. No matter how successful one is in the eyes of the world, or how humble, when stripped of our self-trappings, we are each alike in our need to be loved, protected and valued. Pope Benedict XVI has written, “If an individual is to accept himself, someone must say to him: ‘It is good that you exist’ — must say it, not with words, but with that act of the entire being that we call love.” Losing a job abruptly, or a prolonged experience of unemployment can make one feel unloved and irrelevant. But it is good that you exist. Others believe this. Christ knows this. You are meant to know it, too.