The world is charged with the grandeur of God. (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
I ran across the initials A.M.D.G. the other morning. I knew they were Latin for something by the context. A quick Internet search found Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “For the greater glory of God”.
As the day wore on, I found myself more and more irritated with this phrase. It is the word “greater” that bothers me. It seems so arrogant and prideful to say that I, or anyone else, could add to the glory of God. All is gift. Everything is from God. Everything reflects God’s glory already, albeit some things and some people are better at it then others. But that happens because of God’s grace and the willingness of those people to be open to God, not because they add to it.
The best I can do is get out of God’s way. Or maybe I should say that I need to polish more my mirror with the help of His grace so that I can better reflect Him to others around me. The old but true cliché comes to mind, “Let go, let God”. Which in turn brings to mind Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
There is nothing that I can do to add or increase the glory of God. God is already doing it all. He is just using me, or someone else, to reflect and shine through. And I should be so lucky and grateful for the opportunity.
The initials A.M.D.G. are usually connected with writing or producing something. I know that most people who use them are humbly attributing their work to God (like St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pope John Paul II, and many other great people). They have definitely let the glory of God shine through them, but did they add to God’s glory? Am I seeing this word “greater” in the wrong way? These individuals did bring our focus and attention to specific aspect sof God’s glory. In a way, they do add light to a dark world. But then again, not really. God did. Are they asking for God to shine brighter through them?
Upon further reflection, I wonder why the word “greater” bothers me so much. This irritation surely points to something deeper, something under the surface. It is probably a symptom of a disordered desire, an attachment that I am not willing to face. The clue lies in the words I used above—arrogant and prideful. This irritation points to my own arrogance and pride. Ouch! Is it uncovering a false sense of humility in myself too? I don’t know. Irritation at other people’s sins is usually a mirror reflecting your own sins. I don’t know. The only thing to do is lay it on the table of my heart in prayer for God to handle. Let go, let God.
I found another Latin phrase. I like it better. It is Dei Gratia, “By the Grace of God”. All is gift. All glory comes and returns to God through creation. We are only the wire through which the electricity of God flows. I should be so lucky.