“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.
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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.