Voices ever ancient, ever new. Christmas Weekday: Saturday after the Solemnity of Epiphany.

“He must increase; I must decrease." (John 3:30)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” What is this? He must be exalted, but I must be humbled. How is Jesus to increase? How is God to increase? The perfect does not increase. God neither increases nor decreases. For if he increases, he is not perfect; if he decreases, he is not God. And how can Jesus increase, being God? This is a great mystery! Before the Lord Jesus came, people were glorifying themselves; he came as a man to lessen human glory and to increase the glory of God. For this is what the apostle says, this is what holy Scripture says: “He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Will you glory in yourself? You will grow; but you will grow worse in your evil. For whoever grows worse is justly decreased. Let God, then, who is ever perfect, grow and grow in you. For the more you understand God and apprehend him, he seems to be growing in you; but in himself he does not grow, being always perfect. Do but examine the nature of humanity: a person is born and grows, he learns the customs of people. What does he know but earth and things of the earth? He speaks the things of people, knows the things of people and minds the things of people. Carnal, he judges carnally, conjectures carnally. Everything is about humanity! Let the grace of God come and enlighten his darkness, as it said, “You will lighten my candle, O Lord; my God, enlighten my darkness;” let it take the mind of humanity and turn it toward its own light. Immediately [John] begins to say, as the apostle says, “Yet not I, but the grace of God that is with me,” and “Now I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” That is to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease." (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 14)

Almighty ever-living God,
who through your Only Begotten Son
have made us a new creation for yourself,
grant, we pray,
that by your grace we may be found in the likeness of him,
in whom our nature is united to you.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!