A.M.D.G.

“Then every scribe
who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom

both the new and the old.”
(Today’s Gospel)

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 reflection bringing out from our Catholic treasury something old at the beginning of this new month.

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 new page with this prayer when they left school. I’m not sure why the practice has faded out. I was at school when the encouragement to continue the practice waned and 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 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 Catholic Christians do not continue to use the treasures we have received, then others will take them over and turn them to secular uses. It’s interesting that a Google search of “AMDG NZ” today brings up as the first result, the Auckland Manakau Dressage Group.

Today’s beginning of a new month 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.”

An Invitation

  • Take a few moment now to pray with the words: “For the Greater Glory of God.”
  • You might save an AMDG image as your screen saver or wallpaper on your phone as a regular reminder that we find life-giving perspective in life when we do everything “for the greater glory of God.”
3 Responses to "A.M.D.G."
  1. Thank you Fr. John, I don’t remember us ever using AMDG, but have wondered what it meant when Catholic friends use it in letters to me! Yes bring back our Catholic treasures and identity.

  2. Definitely food for thought. Thank you for reminding me of what I use to do. On the other side of the page I use to place JMJ for Jesus Mary and Joseph, as well as AMDG. God bless

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