Lord, in spite of so many efforts, my
self-love and vanity cloud my intentions, reducing the merit of my labors for you. Therefore I come
before you empty-handed. Nevertheless, I'm confident in your forgiveness, knowing that you are
pleased to refresh and renew me as often as I turn back to you with hope. I love you ardently, good
Jesus, and long to love you ever more.
Lord, help me to practice
1. "He Must Increase; I Must Decrease":
This is the petition
that must burn in the heart of every authentic apostle and leader in the faith. Often we seek
ourselves in our vocation, in our apostolate, in our service to the Church. Some offer themselves
only when the work to be done brings them honor or enhances their self-importance. We claim to serve
Christ, but if we have our status compromised by criticism or see someone less capable moved ahead
of us in rank, our heart crumbles in discouragement and our commitment wanes. In moments when
humility is asked of us, may we pass the test that John passes in today's Gospel. Every day we must
look into our hearts to see if they are mirrors reflecting back only self-centered motivations, or
if they are windows to the heart of Christ in the world, centered only on humble service. Mirrors
weaken the mission; windows empower it.
2. "Rejoices Greatly at the Bridegroom's
Breaking the grip of self-love is eminently positive work. We can let go of a lesser
love only for a greater one. Everyday John's heart had set its aspiration and love on the Messiah to
come. All his ministerial action and spiritual ideals were centered on Christ. His solitude in the
desert permitted this love to grow without distraction, communicated as it was in prayer and
contemplation. As John states, all he has received he received from heaven from the supernatural
life given by contemplation and grace. Love for Christ was no overnight endeavor, but was the work
of years of prayer, self-conquest and fidelity to the life of conversion he was to preach.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I hear now what John heard: your beautiful
summoning union with your beloved, the Church. No
greater honor and love
can I have than to ensure this
union happens continuously, perfectly and selflessly.
May I learn to accept humiliation and forget myself a
thousand times over, so
that the needs of your Mystical
Body may be brokered over my humble service and
self-effacing manner. I pray that my ignoble need to
be praised and
appreciated apart from your glory
never becomes the reason to find you separated from
I will pray a litany of humility with great fervor
today before I go to bed.