Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus otherwise known as the Jesuits, and what. a. guy.
There are a lot of spiritual giants that I look up to, St. Ignatius is among them. My devotion to him began during my first year as a missionary. As part of our formation we studied his “Rules of Discernment.” If you’re not familiar, please check them out! They’re not only good, practical tips for discerning God’s will in your life, but they’re also good for all around holiness. As we studied these 14 rules, I grew more and more impressed. This guy really knows what he’s talking about!
I learned a little more about Ignatius’s life as time went on. He was a little bit of a party-guy and was seeking fame and prestige in the army. When he was serving as a soldier, his leg was horribly injured, and he was forced to recuperate on bedrest. It was there that Ignatius encountered the Lord. He read the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. He was converted through these books and stories.
Another amazing gift that St. Ignatius gave the world is The Spiritual Exercises. They’re prayer exercises intended for a 30-day silent retreat. Something unique and important to The Spiritual Exercises and to Ignatius’s spirituality overall is the importance of holy imagination. Ignatius teaches us to let the Holy Spirit use our imaginations to put ourselves into the Scripture passages we’re reading. We pay attention to our senses. We take on the identity of a character. It’s a very powerful experience.
What has really been on my heart lately about St. Ignatius of Loyola is his famous motto,
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
All for the greater glory of God!
Ah. What an amazing phrase! Ignatius lived by these words. Everything he did, he did for the greater glory of God. He ate, drank, slept, conversed, travelled, read, joked, and more all for the greater glory of God.
Whenever we are most fully ourselves, we are fulfilling the will of God. God desires us to be joyful. God desires us to enjoy His creation. God desires us to submit to His plan for us. Every natural joy or suffering is an opportunity to glorify God. It necessitates that we keep Him at the forefront of our hearts and minds.
I ask you to consider today what Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG for short), looks like for you. How can you more intentionally live your life for God’s glory? That He be known, loved, and served by all?
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization