Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

John 3:22-30 He Must Increase; I Must Decrease

Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John (the Baptist) and a Jew about ceremonial washings.  So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”  John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.  You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ…The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice…He must increase; I must decrease.”
 “He came from such humble beginnings”.  I have often heard this said, especially at funerals, but I never really reflected on it much.  Now that I have, I have something to say about it.
What we say is not always what we want to say.  When we say that someone came from humble beginnings, what we are really saying is that they started off with nothing or that they came from very modest beginnings.  That makes a lot more sense to me, especially when someone is talking about a rags-to-riches story.  For when it comes to humility, there are no guarantees that a poor man is a humble man or that a rich man is no longer a humble man.    
Humility has little to do with our condition in life; it has much to do with our attitude towards life. 
People of faith have an easier time at being humble than people of little or no faith.  It’s not that the humble are humble because they think they are wrong (you can’t be humble if you are wrong.  You can only be honest); rather, the humble are humble because they know they are right.  They are right in being grateful.  They are right in being generous.  They are right in being honest.
Humble people know how grateful they should be to a hidden God.  They should be as grateful as the recipient of an unknown organ donor; as grateful as the recipient of an anonymous donor; as grateful as the recipient of an unknown prayer.
Humble people are humble because they are commonsensical.  Humility does not come from scraping at the bottom of a barrel; it comes from turning the barrel upside down and opening it.  
God is not humble because He is small; God is humble because He makes himself small.  He is not humble because He is man’s servant.  He is humble because He makes himself man’s servant.   John the Baptist was not humble because he was insignificant.  He was humble because he made himself insignificant.  He must increase; I must decrease.”
Humility has little to do with our state of life; it has everything to do with the way we posture ourselves in this life.
St. John the Baptist positioned himself perfectly the moment he pointed to the Lord and said that which would be hard for any of us to say:  He must increase; I must decrease.”  He is the one.  I am not. 
To be humble means to submit oneself to reality (“You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ”).  To be humble means to know the difference between being the “groom” and the “best man”.  To be humble means to posture yourself properly before the great One (“I stand and listen to him”). 
To be humble means to adore no one - not myself or others – but the Lord. 
“Beloved:  We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1Jn 5:14).  When we pray, we often pray for one thing:  happiness.  And when we pray for happiness, we often attach it to something.  But happiness, like holiness, is not attached to something; it is attached to Someone:  Jesus Christ.  With Jesus we find holiness; with holiness we find our happiness.  Happiness and holiness go hand in hand, just like sacrifice and love, just like the Lord and I.  In order for us to be holy and happy, we must be humble:  So this joy of mine has been made complete.  He must increase; I must decrease.

10 comments:

  1. OK Father. I have to start again!
    I completely erase all my nasty comments/actions that I have made to persons these last weeks knowing that I have hurt them. And even if I did not hurt them, I hurt myself -knowing who I want to be & not doing such a great job at it. I can’t undo the damage I have already done, but as St Teresa of Avila said to each of her nuns going out of the confessional, “Let’s all start again!”
    Thanks for such a great reflection today!

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  2. Father Alfonse (or anyone who can answer),
    As usual, I love this meditation , but there is one comment I dont "get"...

    "Humility does not come from scraping at the bottom of a barrel; it comes from turning the barrel upside down and opening it".

    Can you help me on this one?

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    1. I'm lost on that one too! It's like a fish in a barrell!

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  3. sorry. My poetry. The humble have a tendency to make things less complicated. I remembered a scene from Captain America, where the drill instructor gave his men a challenge: to grap a flag on the top of a pole. Well, no one was able to climb that high. But the thin and highly unmuscular "Captain America" managed to do it by pulling the flag pole down. Humble people have a tendency to use a lot of common sense and make it comical (commonsensical)

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    1. yes Father Alfonse your Poetry! :)very humble and beautiful:)

      I believe I understood your Meditation very well:)


      God bless you My humble Father

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  4. He must increase; I must decrease.”

    How beautiful are these words from John. I think he spoke for all of us when he said this. Because I think that this profound statement echos in all our hearts; whether we know it or not, or believe it or not. Once I acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, I have just stepped down from myself, from crowning myself a god. But that alone is not enough. I then must act on what that means, just as Saint John did so beautifully. I must breathe in, and breathe out what and who I believe in. Am I constantly increasing Christ in the world by bringing Him into my heart and carrying him out to the people I meet, the places I go, and the deeds that I do? If not, I am only increasing myself, and that is a very lonely way to live. JOhn got it right! For us to decrease, we need to die to ourselves and to our will, to surrender it all and allow Jesus to finally take complete control. Let us follow John's example.

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  5. "To be humble means to adore no one - not myself or others – but the Lord "

    Sort of not understand this portion :
    to adore no one or other - means I can not adore, my child or mother,father or a special man. The person I love or adore

    a little confused, help me Father Alfonse :)

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    1. Christina, I think Father Alfonse is trying to say that people that are commonsensical would turn a barrel over to get at what is at the bottom, rather then struggle digging it out from the top. In other words make a new top, as we do when we are born again and become new, start over as a child of God. I am grateful our Lord forgives over and over again, and expects us to improve as we travel down life's journey, then and only then can we apply humility in all that we do, once we have experienced the bottom of the barrel and God has turned us over and started new with us through his forgiveness and love, mercy and understanding. He wants us to turn over our own barrel and spread his word, his love, his patience, his understanding his love. For his is our great teacher.....

      It's what I got out of it. By the way, I love reading your replies to Father Alfonse's meditations, you have a loving heart and it shows. God Bless You.....

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  6. Christina H ! Thank you for clarifying that for me


    God Bless you !

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