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ALL FOR THE GREATER
GLORY OF GOD

HEDWIG LEWIS SJ

St Ignatius Loyola was an ardent follower of Christ. His constant yearning was: “What ‘more’ can I do for Christ?” In all his striving beneath the banner of the Cross he always sought to do his utmost for the “greater glory of God and the more universal good”. This book touches on the essence of Ignatian spirituality – AMDG-MAGIS – which opens up infinite possibilities, and impels with creative fidelity, unto ever-widening horizons.

 

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FOREWORD
 

FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD, is a translation of the Latin phrase that St Ignatius used repeatedly: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, which is universally known through its acronym AMDG.

St Ignatius laid great stress on ‘maiorem’, or ‘greater', which is the comparative form of the Latin root-word ‘magnus’ ['great']. Another word closely associated with AMDG and Ignatian spirituality is MAGIS. Magis, is a Latin noun that has elided from the word 'maiorem'. Magis – in varied expressions and applications – is used all through the book of Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. Those schooled in the Spiritual Exercises, primarily the founding Fathers, and later members of the Society of Jesus [established 1540] to this day, have been captivated by the term MAGIS. With AMDG as their motto, the ‘magis’ inspired their vision and ventures. AMDG-MAGIS provides a multi-dimensional challenge.

AMDG-MAGIS is the essence of Ignatian spirituality. It calls for a total surrender of the self through a God-centred life. It does not allow for mediocrity: “neither hot nor cold” [Rev 3.16], but challenges one to complete commitment and total inclusivity: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself” [Lk 10:27]. It demands selfless generosity.

Jesus instructs us: “Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back” [Lk 6.38]. Jesus puts no limit to our generosity: it produces abundance; it brings fulfilment.

St Ignatius Loyola was an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. His constant yearning was: “What ‘more’ can I do for Christ?” In all his striving under the ‘banner of Christ’ he always sought to do “more” for the “greater glory of God and the more universal good” by:

loving and serving the Lord unconditionally;
giving without counting the cost;
fighting without heeding the wounds;
toiling without undue concern for leisure;
labouring without being preoccupied
about recompense or reward,
having only “God’s greater service and the more
universal good” in mind and at heart.

Those who are guided by the spirit of the MAGIS keep becoming a “life-force”: more ‘fully human and fully alive’. The MAGIS enhances their creativity: for Life is a never-ending process of evolution and growth. It enables them to use their imagination and resourcefulness to be proactive and productive. It fills them with energy and zest, dynamism and liveliness. It makes them ‘passionate’ – affected, concerned, involved – in every task they undertake, every responsibility that is entrusted to them. It motivates them to ‘care and share’, so that they keep growing as more generous, benevolent, and compassionate persons.  
The focus of this book is on the Ignatian AMDG-MAGIS!
 

INTRODUCTION
 
“In that world where faith and power clash,” wrote Malachi Martin on the dust jacket of his book, The Jesuits, “the Society of Jesus has been the most fabled and fabulous, the most admired and reviled, in the practice of both. From its first beginnings during a revolutionary time almost exactly like our own, and down the four and a half centuries of the Society's existence, Jesuits have been both a puzzle and a model for the rest of the world. Friends and enemies, Catholics and non-Catholics, have all tried to unravel ‘the power and the secret’ of these religiously trained and devoted men who stand as giants in every secular pursuit of mankind as well. In science and art, writing and exploration and teaching – and not least in world politics – Jesuits always aimed to be the best. And they were. They had a part to play in every major political alliance in Europe and America, in Asia and Africa. They became shapers not only of religious history, but also of world history. Even Nazi generals dreamed of such a cadre of men; and even Lenin envied them." [Martin Malachy, The Jesuits]
 
During this Jesuit Jubilee Year [2006], as part of a spiritual exercise, I have ventured into the field of ‘Ignatian concepts’, to revive those tiny ‘seeds for the mind and heart’ – monograms and phrases culled from the Spiritual Exercises and Constitutions – that had been sown and grown and harvested, time and time again, in season and out of season, from the novitiate on.
 
The Magis has been, and will not cease to be, the clarion call or the wounded cry of every zealous ‘foot soldier’ of Christ in the Society of Jesus. With the Magis on his lips and in his heart, this potential ‘giant’:
 
Cares more than others think is wise.
Risks more than others think is safe.
Dreams more than others think is practical.
Expects more than others think is possible!
   
For he is convinced that:
to give beyond reason,
to care beyond hope,
to love without limit,
to reach, stretch, and dream in spite of fear,
these are the hallmarks of divinity
– traits of the immortal –
our badges of honour,
and our ticket home.
     [ Mike Dooley, Notes From The Universe]

The following pages contain a reflection-research of the Ignatian Magis. I trust that the fruits of my labour will serve as nourishment for the minds and hearts of the readers as well as inspire them “to be the best”. May the Magis give you the ‘push’ when you need it!

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
Come to the edge.
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire

  

Perspectives

 

My dear Hedwig
Your book, "ALL FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD" is here in my hand.
Thank you for focusing on Ignatian-AMDG.

Hector D' Souza SJ, Provincial of South Asia

24 Jan 2007

All for the Greater Glory of God is the Ignatian ‘key’ to a deeper spiritual life. … The author develops systematically the essential aspects of the motto AMDG, tracing their origins, exploring their meanings, implications, influences and applications, to the spirituality of, not only the Jesuits but also of those who want to practice Ignatian spirituality. Since the book is the fruit of the author’s   research/reflection process, it will help greatly all types of readers, particularly the Jesuits.
Vina Dasan, SJ, JIVAN: News and Views of Jesuits in India, April 2007, and in The New Leader,
April 1-15, 2007

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