After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized—John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.
Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 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 all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
He must increase while I must decrease. [John 3: 20]
If we really want to live the humility of Jesus we must recognize who we truly are, whose we are, and what our place is in the larger scheme of things. Such humility is essential if we want to live authentic lives as disciples. John the Baptist got it right: he is not the Christ, but the precursor. He is not the groom, but the best man.
John’s role will end shortly, but that of Jesus the Christ will expand and move to its final conclusion—the salvation of the world. To experience all this from afar will be John’s great joy. We are invited to live our lives in a similar way. For that we need humility. To grow in this grace, St. Ignatius offers these three questions for reflection and prayer: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola