Christ must increase and I must decrease.
By craving to be more, man became less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him.
~Augustine of Hippo, The City of God
Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.
~St. Francis of Assisi
Humans don’t come by selflessness naturally. We are survival-programmed to seek what we need from others from the very get-go, whether it is filling up our hunger, having a wet diaper changed, or cuddling for comfort.
And for some, that demand to be first in our tiny universe never changes. Certain presidential candidates seem to suffer from this affliction more than others.
How do we reconcile the paradox of first becomes last and the least becomes first? We accept the gift of grace from Christ to become less rather than seek more, to give up the all-important self to sacrifice for the life and well-being of the other.
We are overcome.
During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn