Sunday, December 11, 2011

Third Sunday of Advent - More God, Less Me

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.” – Jn 1:7

St Catherine of Siena gives solid spiritual counsel. She says that there are three basic lessons in the life of the spirit. First, that God exists. Second, that God loves you very much. Third, you’re not God! The more we allow life to teach us these lessons, the more our life will be built on a firm foundation.

John the Baptist is an excellent model and teacher of this foundation building. In today’s Gospel, we come to know that he is not the light, nor the long-awaited Messiah, nor a Moses-like prophet. He humbly admits that he does not come close to such great figures. He acknowledges that he is not God, but one who came to “testify to the light” to “make straight the way of the Lord.” Later in John’s Gospel, he sums up his role succinctly, “[Jesus-God] must increase, I must decrease” (3:30).

It is easy for me to miss this fundamental truth that the spiritual life is about subtraction, not addition. In these busy days filled with Christmas preparations, parties, and buying gifts, I can easily get caught up having to do more and to acquire more. Thinking that I need to add-on brings increased self-pressure and self-preoccupation. How can I balance my time, fit everything in, make it happen? Thinking this way and hosting such attitude born choices that elevates my self-importance. I am again tempted to self-sufficiency, to earn love, to buy love, or at least make myself loveable. More me, less God.

John’s call to subtract and let-go wakes me up. I am not the One, but an echoing voice. I am not the Way, but one who clears path. I am not the Light, but a mirror that reflects. I don’t need to make it happen, just to let it happen. More God, less me. Such realization brings more than just relief.  It gradually ushers greater freedom and joy. I don’t have to be God. I can allow myself to be loved, in my foolishness and selfishness. In doing so, I can testify beyond words that God loves all of us very much!

“Lord, help me to let go of self-pressure or craving to be self-sufficient. Help me to place more trust in you and less in myself. Empower me to help others experience more of you and less of me.”

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