John the Baptist is one of my favorite saints. Oftentimes, as I prepare to share God’s word, deliver a homily, or assist at Mass, I recite this simple prayer of St. John the Baptist . . .
“He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
John knew his place. He knew that he was part of a broader mission, much bigger than himself. The same holds true for all of us. How can we possibly make room in our hearts for Jesus? It starts with humility. This doesn’t mean thinking less of ourselves, it means thinking of ourselves less.
John the Baptist is referred to as the precursor, one who comes before someone else. We do not know much about John’s life from when he was a child through his adulthood. We do know that leading up to the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, John was preaching a message of repentance.
“He must increase, I must decrease.” It’s a prayer that’s simple to remember. For those of you who like shorthand, there’s also a way to make this prayer even shorter: HE>i.
“HE”, in capital letters refers to Jesus, “>” is the greater-than-sign, and the small letter “i” refers to us. When you read it from right to left, it becomes “i am less than HE”. Use it as a personal prayer reminder, and include it at the end of a text or email message. When someone asks you what it means, you just opened the door to evangelize!
Many blessings to you and your family.