Following in the footsteps of St. Ignatius Loyola, Ignatians have no preferred pastoral project, only a preferred motive: To the Greater Glory of God. Ad majorem Dei gloriam [To the Greater Glory of God]. To the Greater Glory of God is the cri-de-coeur, the shout from the heart, the battle cry of St. Ignatius Loyola and of all the Ignatians who have followed in his footsteps.
Ignatius of Loyola’s awareness of the love of Christ crucified is the explanation for his motto ad majorem Dei gloriam [to the greater glory of God]. It springs from a heart that has experienced the Love of Christ Crucified, the love of the Father and the Holy Spirit: the Love of the Most Holy Trinity. From this love that overwhelms the heart overflows an ardent desire and determination to give glory to God with every breath, heart beat of one’s life. This is to be achieved by seeking what God wants above all: the eternal salvation of souls.
Greater! That word resounded and resounded in his soul as he lay on his sickbed in the castle and it would echo throughout the lifestyle he adopted and the constitutions and lifestyle of the Compania he founded. He had discovered the love of the Divine Lover, as countless saints before him, as Ignatius of Antioch, Benedict, Francis, Dominic, and it provoked a raging fire within him that he channeled into the “more” in the service of the Lover.
“Greater” because the Honor and Glory of God and the mission to prolong Christ’s salvific mission urge Ignatians always to the greater: to a love whose ardor aspires ever higher urged on by the vision of the truth and boundless love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Purpose-driven, Ignatians will strive to be frontliners and entrepreneurs for Christ by being bold and innovative in project-creation. They will strive to live out St. Ignatius Loyola’s vision for his spiritual sons: to be the Church’s first line of defense against all that would harm her mission for the eternal salvation of souls. Bold, Creative: With the enterprising spirit of our Ignatian forefathers, Francis Xavier, Mateo Ricci.
The Ignatian commits himself utterly to this mission by striving no matter where he is or what he is doing to bring about the salvation of souls in the most effective way possible. He does not just sit around wistfully wishing the world were a better place: he commits his whole being to doing it. Ceaselessly, he allows himself to dream big dreams of how things could be different. He pushes his intellect to its limits to empower it to be enterprising, full of initiative and resourceful.
Fearlessly he is innovative, daring, thinking outside of the box of methods that have become dull and antiquated. Not for him the stagnant methods of yesteryear. Not for him institutions that have been washed ashore on the sands of uselessness. He pushes his willpower to its limits, abhorring all forms of laziness, sensuality, especially the more subtle forms that hide behind mere criticism, fault-finding, empty rhetoric.
To empower his will he ceaselessly lives a disciplined lifestyle, rejecting whatever is not necessary for him to attain his mission. With urgency he lives, with his heart fixed on Christ Crucified, his eyes on the mission, his feet firmly on the ground of contemporary society.
However, since the mission of the Society of Ignatians is a participation in the mission of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, its projects will always be for the building up of the Church by spreading the Faith to non-Catholics and by strengthening the Faith among Catholics.
Thus the characteristic mission of the Ignatians – to create creative minorities, entrepreneurs of evangelizing projects – is not a limitation on the “to the greater glory of God” since it is at the very heart of why the Church exists. We want to help create a mentality among Catholics that was present among the first Christians in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome: to be enterprising in discovering or rediscovering ways to propose the Faith in all its Truth, Goodness and Beauty to non-Catholics;
Ignatians wherever they are will always seek to inspire, urge, encourage, direct, channel, aid all Catholics with whom they are in contact to bring the Truth and Love of Christ to more and more people in deeper and deeper ways. This is the Ignatian seal, whether we are in universities, schools, parishes, mass media; whether with high-school students, university post-graduates, workers, intellectuals, politicians; whether with the foundation of all culture and of all society – mothers and fathers; or with the future pastors of the Church in the frontlines of the Church’s action: diocesan seminarians.
And since a man always fights for what he loves, we will fight the forces hostile to the Faith wherever we find them. It will be the Ignatian mission to courageously face down the greatest dangers to the eternal salvation of souls which, in our times, is the denial of Truth. To deny Truth is to attack the guardian of Love and of Eternal Salvation. Every Ignatian therefore is ready to stand at Hell’s gateway to prevent the destruction of souls.
In order to be prepared to face down the threats to the faith of Catholics Ignatians will forge themselve in a long and rugged training where they will equip themselves intellectually, spiritually, and with a warrior mindset of courage and resolve capable of responding quickly and decisively just as St. Ignatius of Loyola intended his spiritual sons to be and just as his hero, St. Ignatius of Antioch, lived.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam [To the greater glory of God] obliges the Society of Ignatians and the individual Ignatian freedom to choose whatever project will most effectively contribute to building up the Church and individual souls at any moment. It places on Ignatian superiors the grave, very grave, obligation to scrupulously ensure that every member of the Society is assigned to the position where his talents will be enabled to multiply a hundred-fold. With veneration for the talents that God has endowed each vocation to the priesthood, the Society of Ignatians will seek to do everything possible to educate, encourage and form each one in his uniqueness in order that he may fulfill the Gospel teaching of the Parable of the talents.
Each Ignatian will be assigned to that project and type of work which is best suited to him: no square pegs in round holes. Within the willingness of Ignatian obedience. And, naturally, in the years of foundation, the first task of all those who enter is to co-found the Society and this may well require possibly great self-sacrifice of personal aspirations. But it will be a self-sacrifice that will enable others in the future to realize one’s Christlike dreams.