This morning, among various St Ignatius tweets and posts, I saw a Twitter thread from some people recalling their Jesuit-inspired schooldays, and having to write AMDG at the top of each essay. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam - the motto and cornerstone which some of my Jesuit friends still type at the start of their emails, desiring that whatever they write - just like the rest of their lives - should only be To the greater glory of God.
the artist Stephen B Whatley, which I am using with his permission. The first thing I noticed was Ignatius' halo, and the fact that it is a reflection of the radiance surrounding the Eucharist. With my finger I traced an arc, from his halo, sweeping just above the image, and down into the identical outer rim of the monstrance's aureole. An identical radiance... a reflection... a continuation... of the glory of God...
And I thought of that wonder-inducing sentence from 2 Corinthians: And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another. (3.18). And I thought, too, of the final lines from Charles Wesley's hymn Love divine, all loves excelling:
Changed from glory into glory
till in heaven we take our place,
there to sing salvation's story
lost in wonder, love, and praise!
And in Shine, Jesus, Shine, too:
As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me
Gazing upon God's glory... reflecting God's image... being transformed, from glory into glory... A holiness whose completion lies elsewhere, in the far greater light and radiance of Christ. The daily call to allow Jesus to be mirrored not just to me, but in me, in us; and our lives therefore being a constant telling and re-telling of his story of inclusive and self-giving love. And in the process we are transformed, and change from focusing on our own glory to that of God... Just like Ignatius, who as a young soldier thought only of his own glory, until he was attracted and overwhelmed by the sheer, compelling love and immensity and glory of God... and found himself on a journey of transformation into an image of the One he sought only to reflect.
Happy feast to all my Ignatian friends... and may Ignatius' prayers help us all respond to this call to allow ourselves to be transformed from one degree of glory to another, and be utterly lost in wonder, love and praise.