Between Midnight and Dawn: Man Became Less


Christ must increase and I must decrease.
~John 3:30


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

3 thoughts on “Between Midnight and Dawn: Man Became Less

  1. Paradox indeed!
    Until we stop feeding our egos and listening to the false gods of self-sufficiency and ‘independence,’ we will never understand this paradox. Instead, we will experience the nothingness and emptiness of spiritual poverty — a death to the soul. We will never know the beauty and the wealth of the good things that our loving God desires to give us — in this life and in the next, for eternity.

    Your last paragraph sums this up beautifully, Emily.
    I would add that the more we empty ourselves through self-sacrifice tor those in need – whether that need be emotional, spiritual or material – the more that our God will fill us to overflowing with His Grace and Peace in ways that we never could have dreamed.


  2. After a second look at today’s posting, I kept returning to the photo. Cannot identify the subject but I do see several timely metaphors lurking there.


  3. I like your thought to accept the grace to not “seek more”. There is a difference between being given a first position and striving for it. Your thoughts remind me of Anne Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea that I am reading now. She speaks of simplifying by letting go of pride, intricate to our demand to be first.


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