A.M.D.G.

“A spiritual person…is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other people. As scripture says: Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.”   1 Cor 2

This post will make most sense to readers in Aotearoa New Zealand where today, September 1st, is officially the first day of the season of spring.

Spring is visibly a time of new beginnings, new growth and opportunities emerging from what seemed to be life-less in nature.

Gerard Manley Hopkins begins his Spring poem: “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring,”  and Vivaldi‘s well known work expresses the lightness we feel with new hope after a long winter.

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.

Most stopped marking every page with this prayer when they left school and now the practice seems a bit old-fashioned and even quaint. I remember one teacher commenting that if an exam marker who was not Catholic 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 in the hope that God would not feel snubbed.  It’s interesting that a Google search of “AMDG NZ” today brings up as the first result, the Auckland Manakau Dressage Group.

It was Ignatius of Loyola who coined the prayer ‘for the greater glory of God’. This became the ‘motto’ for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

Today’s welcoming of spring offers a good 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 project however little 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 as you begin to live more abundantly with the mind of Christ, a mind that is able to see the seasons of our life as part of the rhythm of the divine plan for us. With this mind we know that the days that feel like the cold dead branch of winter, are simply the seasonal rhythm of our lives ready for the new growth of spring.

 

An Invitation:

  • At the end of winter the garden does not have a choice about whether or not to accept spring growth since the garden does not have free will. As an ultimate sign of love God gifts us humans with free will, just as the loving parents of adult children give their offspring freedom. Therefore we can choose whether or not to remain in winter, or to embrace a new era of growth. Take a moment now to make your choice for this new day and this new month.
  • As many of us continue these days as a retreat-in-daily-life, this simple morning and evening reflection might be helpful. Try it on waking in the morning before getting out of bed, or last thing at night after turning out the light.

 

  • Email john@fff.org.nz with your initials to join those taking these few days as a simple retreat-in-daily-life, and to invite others to keep you in prayer. Click the image to enlarge.

18 Responses to "A.M.D.G."
  1. Good morning Fr John, who doesn’t like spring? I loved writing AMDG on my work at school – All my work is done for God – (how I remember it), Thanku for your reflections. Bev

  2. Heavens above. I had all but forgotten about A.M.D.G. And certainly forgot the meaning. So thank you. I will be offering up that prayer in all I do from now on “For The Greater Glory of God”. It makes everything I do so sacred and worthwhile. Thank you for your inspiring writings. And I’m ready and willing for the new growth of Spring.

  3. A.M.D.G. Always Mindful of Divine Grace
    No teacher ever translated the mysterious Latin letters so I made up my own interpretation. The new page exercise also served as extra practice in perfecting four letters of the alphabet. Something about that repetitive effort too is interesting.

  4. AMDG was yet another of the ways that those weird kids taught by the Christian Brothers were different. Those of us taught by the Marist Brothers wrote JMJ in the top corner of each page (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) 🙂

  5. I loved AMDG and the sisters who taught me reminded us daily of the meaning. On the other side of our page we wrote JMJ to remind us of the Holy Family. Thank you John

  6. AMDG was always on every page and underlined neatly with red pen. I was taught by the ‘Brown Joes’ RNDM sisters at St Paul’s Dallington. The Church and Parish School were totally munted 10 years ago on a quite and early Saturday morning (04/09/2010) when the BIG earthquake heralded Ruamoko’s spring awakening. I always translated it as All My Deeds (work) for God.

  7. Initially when I saw the initial letters .I was in awe and wanting to read to find out the answer. I have not seen this before and it was very interesting and keen to know. On that note of wanting to know the depth and the meaning of it I looked at it the desire to know more of this mysterious and simply just letters. There is a meaningful answer in the very simplistic mystery of the Divine Presence , message and Voice when the heart is been touched by the Mystic of the Divine .

  8. Thank you John, A.M.D.G is lovely and it reminded me of how wonderful and peaceful this
    time at school was, and I’ve loved seeing this again. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.

  9. We also used JMJ Jesus Mary and Joseph and sometimes added JB for John the Baptist.

    The principle of dedicating our work to God is so compelling – thanks for reminder John.

    didn’t one of the great composers (Bach?) have AMDG on each page of his Music manuscripts?

  10. As a boy at school Yes, I put AMDG on every page. We also put SJB on the other side of the page for St John Baptist as I was in a De La Salle school. there wasn’t much room for us to have our work shown. That was the idea! Always knew what it meant.

  11. “First Day of Spring”
    ‘New Beginings’
    My mothers anniversary,apon passing,was saying,her life has a
    ‘New begining’,only peace
    And happiness filled my heart,
    Today,as I came home, looked at the cross of JESUS”
    Thanking HIM’,for showing us
    New life, through the giving of “HIS” life

  12. Thank You John – I had always thought AMDG stood for “All My Duty to God” – yet another variation on the many above – but hopefully all of similar intent.

    Thank you also for the encouraging words – the idea that spring growth will occur in areas of my life that are stuck in winter with simple choice and free will is most uplifting.

  13. AMDG , memories of my school days with the lovely Bridgidine Sisters. Something I will do whilst Sowing my spring seeds. Thankyou Fr John for reminding me of this

  14. Thank you for reminding me that I am doing this retreat for the Greater Glory of God. I sense a new desire to be more passionate and decisive about this retreat, prayer and all I do. Thank you John.

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