white rabbits

Jul 31, 2013

It is the first day of a new month, and I thought that yesterday’s feast of St Ignatius of Loyola might provide a helpful “white rabbits” reflection.

Many of us remember beginning every new page of school work with the heading A.M.D.G. A good number of us also recall that the letters stood for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, (For the Greater Glory of God).


I imagine that many Catholics stopped the practice of marking every page with this prayer when they left school. I’m not sure why the practice has faded out of Catholic school. I was at a Catholic school when the encouragement to continue the practice waned. I remember one teacher commenting that if a non-catholic exam marker saw this s/he could be annoyed and grade me harder. I needed every mark I could get and so was not prepared to take the risk!


It was Ignatius of Loyola who coined the prayer ‘for the greater glory of God’. This became the ‘motto’ for the Jesuit Religious Order he founded, the Society of Jesus.


An interesting aside, The Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton (d.1981) used to begin the cricket books he wrote with the letters AMDG. (ref wikipedia)


If Catholics do not continue to use the treasures we have received, then others will take them over and turn them to secular uses. This has happened with architecture. Consider the Christchurch visit this week of Denis McNamara who is reminding us that a Catholic church is built and used primarily “for the greater glory of God.”

It is a significant that a Google search of “AMDG NZ” today brings up as the first result, the Auckland Manakau Dressage Group.

Today’s feast gives us a useful reminder that our health and happiness is not our own achievement or creation. Instead these gifts are the fruit of acknowledging that every good thing is a gift of God, and that we find the happiness and health we seek when we live in right relationship with God, that is, when everything we do is done not to satisfy our own needs, but instead, “for the greater glory of God.”

This month I might not begin every page I write or letter I send with the title AMDG, but I do intend to begin every little project (letter, task etc) with the two second prayer: “for the greater glory of God.”  You might like to join me in this. I wonder if you, like me, will immediately notice a positive difference in the way you live…


Video news clip:  Pope Francis earlier today at the Jesuit “Gesu” church in Rome.




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