When I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12, 10)
Jesus came to his own people, but they did not accept him. Is he not a stranger to us who claim to be his own?
God reveals to the childlike things he hides from the wise and the learned. Hence, there is the demand that our sentiments be those which are expressed in Psalm 131.
Such sentiments of humility and simplicity have nothing to do with low self-esteem. They are based on a trusting faith in a great God who deigns to look upon our littleness. Assured that his grace is sufficient for us, we remain joyful in our Savior and satisfied with our assessment and acceptance of ourselves as quite limited human beings.
Those with low self-esteem, on the other hand, hardly accept themselves. Perhaps they are not comfortable in their own skin due to the mockery and scorn that are heaped upon them by both powerful invaders and by their own countrymen who ask, “Can anything good come from your town?” or say, “Look and see that no prophet arises from your region.”
Whether this explanation is on target or not, what is certain is that low self-esteem can lead to inner conflict. This happened, I think, to Jesus’ fellow townspeople.
The people of Jesus’ native place recognized readily and with astonishment his wise teaching and his mighty deeds. What they found difficult was how to explain it all. In the end, it became impossible for them to find an explanation and they rejected him, giving away thereby their unconscious self-disdain. They did not get to accept him because they could not accept themselves.
How could we possibly receive worthily Christ’s body and blood that he took from us if we do not feel comfortable with our own body and blood? How could I welcome Jesus who is poor and weak if I cannot accept weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ or as consequences of bad decisions?
Personal experience of suffering led St. Vincent de Paul—according to Hugh O’Donnell, C.M., in Francis Ryan, D.C. and John E. Rybolt, C.M. (eds.), Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac—to recognize both his utter poverty and the abundance of divine mercy. No longer refusing obstinately to accept himself, his poverty, insecurity, St. Vincent de Paul got to welcome Christ in strangers and aliens, in the poor, and subsequently found the hidden treasure, true security.
Lord Jesus, grant that we gladly accept our weaknesses and so receive you, our strength.