He must increase; I must decrease

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“The truly humble reject all praise for themselves and refer it all to God.” -St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

In today’s readings, we receive a lesson about humility. In 1 John we are told that we must have confidence in God and His grace. We should not fall into thinking that our sin is too great for God to forgive. Rather, we must submit ourselves to His love and to His power for “we are in the one that is true”. Although the “whole world is under the power of the Evil One”, we belong to God and God is within us, therefore we have the capacity to guard ourselves against the Evil One and live our lives humbly with Christ and His Church. Our confidence is rooted in Christ and His plan for our salvation.

In the Gospel, we once again encounter John the Baptist and he delivers perhaps his most famous line: “He must increase; I must decrease”. When one of John’s disciples approaches him asking about Jesus and his disciplines baptizing people, John’s response, without fear or hesitation, is to praise Jesus. He does so in three ways. First, he tells his disciple that “No one can receive anything unless it is from Heaven” thereby telling the disciple that Jesus’ gifts come from Heaven and are Good. Second, he reminds the disciple that he (John) is not the Christ but that his role is as the precursor to the Christ. Third, he calls Jesus the bridegroom communicating the relationship between Christ and His people with Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. John the Baptist fulfills His role as the precursor to Christ in teaching us to turn all praise we are given toward the One who made us.

“He must increase; I must decrease” — one of the most important messages of the Gospel summed up in only 6 words. John humbles himself before Christ so that Christ may be exalted before all mankind. May we do the same in our every day lives.


Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO, is studying for her Master’s in Spanish, and loves her job as an elementary school librarian. She is engaged to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.