rejoicing and decreasing
"He must increase, while I must decrease." —John 3:30
As we come to the last two days of the Christmas season, we are filled with joy. During Advent, we have waited, listening for the Lord (Jn 3:29). In the Christmas season, we have been "overjoyed to hear His voice" (Jn 3:29). With John the Baptizer, we can say: "That is my joy, and it is complete" (Jn 3:29). John's joy at hearing Jesus' voice led him to make the resolution: "He [Jesus] must increase, while I must decrease" (Jn 3:30).
We should make the same resolution. After being filled with joy this Christmas season, we should decrease and resolve to devote this year and this life to increase Jesus in our world. If we decrease in wealth and power, all that matters is that Jesus increase as His body the Church increases in holiness, numbers, and outreach. If we decrease in popularity, we rejoice as long as Jesus is praised. If we decrease in strength by spending ourselves in God's service, we're happy to be able to help increase Christ's kingdom.
Eventually Jesus will increase so much that He with the Father and the Spirit will "be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28), and we will decrease and become "like a little child" (Mk 10:15). Then we'll be small enough to come into God's kingdom through the narrow door (see Lk 13:24).
Prayer: Father, may I joyfully die to myself (see Lk 9:23).
Promise: "We have this confidence in God: that He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will." —1 Jn 5:14
Praise: Martin prayed to be free of the bonds of what others thought or said of him and he thereby allowed Jesus to be magnified in his life.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Meeting the Risen Christ on audio AV 4A-1 or video V-4A.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008
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