A.M.D.G. - Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(Latin for "For the greater glory of God.") Motto of the Society of Jesus.
(Latin meaning "care for the [individual] person.") A hallmark of Ignatian spirituality (where in one-on-one spiritual guidance, the guide adapts the Spiritual Exercises to the unique individual making them) and therefore of Jesuit education (where the teacher establishes a personal relationship with students, listens to them in the process of teaching, and draws them toward personal initiative and responsibility for learning.
This attitude of respect for the dignity of each individual derives from the Judeo-Christian vision of human beings as unique creations of God, of God's embracing of humanity in the person of Jesus, and of human destiny as ultimate communion with God and all the saints in everlasting life.
Finding God in All Things
Ignatian spirituality is summed up in this phrase. It invites a person to search for and find God in every circumstance of life, not just in explicitly religious situations or activities such as prayer in church (e.g., the Mass) or in private. It implies that God is present everywhere and, though invisible, can be "found" in any and all of the creatures which God has made. They reveal at least a little of what their Maker is like—often by arousing wonder in those who are able to look with the "eyes of faith." After a long day of work, Ignatius used to open the French windows in his room, step out onto a little balcony, look up at the stars, and be carried out of himself into the greatness of God.
How does one grow in this ability to find God everywhere? Howard Gray draws the following paradigm from what Ignatius wrote about spiritual development in the Jesuit Constitutions: (1) practice attentiveness to what is really there. “Let that person or that poem or that social injustice or that scientific experiment become (for you) as genuinely itself as it can be.” (2) Then reverence what you see and hear and feel; appreciate it in its uniqueness. “Before you judge or assess or respond, give yourself time to esteem and accept what is there in the other.” (3) If you learn to be attentive and reverent, “then you will find devotion, the singularly moving way in which God works in that situation, revealing goodness and fragility, beauty and truth, pain and anguish, wisdom and ingenuity.”
(Latin for "more.") The "Continuous Quality Improvement" term traditionally used by Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits, suggesting the spirit of generous excellence in which ministry should be carried on.
Men and Women for Others
In 1973, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus at the time, gave an address to the International Congress of Jesuit Alumni at Valencia in Spain. The title of that address, "Men and Women for Others," has become the capsule formula for what alumni/ae of Jesuit schools propose to be. Fr. Arrupe wrote:
Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ—for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce ...
... Just as love of God, in the Christian view, fuses with love of neighbor, to the point that they cannot possibly be separated, so, too, charity and justice meet together and in practice are identical. How can you love someone and treat him or her unjustly? Take justice away from love and you destroy love. You do not have love if the beloved is not seen as a person whose dignity must be respected, with all that that implies. And even if you take the Roman notion of justice as giving to each his due, what is owing to him, Christians must say that we owe love to all people, enemies not excepted.
Just as we are never sure that we love God unless we love others, so we are never sure that we have love at all unless our love issues in works of justice ...
The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice
In 1975, Jesuits from around the world met in solemn assembly to assess their present state and to sketch plans for the future. Following the lead of a recent international assembly ("synod") of Catholic bishops, they came to see that the hallmark of any ministry deserving of the name Jesuit would be its "service of faith" of which the "promotion of justice" is an absolute requirement. In other words, Jesuit education should be noteworthy for the way it helps students—and for that matter, faculty, staff, and administrators—to move, in freedom, toward a mature and intellectually adult faith. This includes enabling them to develop a disciplined sensitivity toward the suffering of our world and a will to act for the transformation of unjust social structures that cause that suffering. The enormous challenge, to which none of us are entirely equal, nevertheless falls on all of us, not just on campus ministry and members of theology and philosophy departments.
George W. Traub, S.J. Do You Speak Ignatian?
©2006 by George W. Traub, S.J. All rights reserved
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A Spanish translation by Robert Dolan, S.J. is available electronically. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.