As I was meditating on the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, I found myself thinking of the song "Bled for Days" by the industrial metal band Static-X. Instead of a reciting a Hail Mary, I was quoting Wayne Static: "Meaningless / It's meaningless."

Yet, there was meaning I gleaned from the mystery today: all the things we pride ourselves in, our titles, our achievements, our awards--our crowns, if you will--are ultimately meaningless. Yet how often do I find myself chasing after them? How often do I let the things I have done convince me that's who I am?

Jesus' humiliation when he is crowned with thorns is a reminder for me not to trust my achievements and accomplishments. Such "crowns" mean nothing. They are meaningless. And if I hold onto them, I hold onto nothing. The person defined by such things is an illusion, a lie. It is incapable of compassion, simply because it is not real. 

Seeing through such illusions can be humiliating because I have used those illusions to hide the parts of myself I am ashamed of and make me feel unworthy. But if I am going to show compassion to others, I need to start with myself. I need to  hold my own suffering with skill, that is, with gentleness, understanding, and love.

Naturally, that will require me to nail my false, illusory self to the cross. But, having bled for days, I will be able to see through the cravings and delusions that separate me from love.