The Society of Ignatians seeks first to uphold the honor of God and then to pursue the glory of God
To frame the Ignatian ethos as a life lived primarily for the honor of God rather than the glory of God is to emphasize certain dimensions rather than others in the Christian’s relations with God.
The glory of God is the faint revelation in creation and history of His sublime and inaccessible majesty, the “radiance of His majesty” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2809). God, motivated by sheer love, has, in a certain sense, enabled man to give Him glory by making him capable of using his freedom to obey the divine plan over his existence and so attain the Beatific Vision, thus bringing God’s creative and redemptive designs to fulfillment.
Hence, while to glorify God highlights the fulfillment of God’s plan over mankind, to honor God lays the stress on seeking to uphold God’s personal dignity. It is a concern more for the three divine persons as persons rather than for their action in history. It seeks to evoke a sensitivity to the Persons of the Father, the Eternal Word and the Holy Spirit, to who they are rather than to what they do.
It shows in the Ignatian’s care for the divine indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in his body as a result of baptism. In a particular way it seeks to cultivate a thoughtfulness and sensitivity to the honor of the Eternal Word in his sacred humanity. The devotion to the honor of Christ will be the focus through which the Ignatian expresses his care for the honor of the three divine persons.
Thus the devotion to the honor of Christ is intimately bonded to the devotion to the heroic Heart of Christ, traditional devotion of the followers of St. Ignatius over the centuries.
To honor the person of Christ really present in His Mystical Body will be the atmosphere in which the Ignatian supernaturally naturally lives. The Ignatian will not forget the words that Saul heard on the way to Damascus: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” The awareness that Christ is intimately bonded to the members of His Church will be for him, as for St. Paul, the leit-motif of his existence. He will feel the wounds delivered to his beloved Lord in and through His Mystical Body “in agony until the end of time” (Pascal). The Ignatian will recognize that the greatest way a man can spend his existence will be by kneeling beside the God-Man in Gethsemane, and standing beside him on Golgotha.
The decision to live to honor Christ will make the Ignatian sensitive to sin. All his virile energies will be channeled in a hatred for sin and all that causes sin for sin is the ultimate reason for the suffering of his Lord and Redeemer.
Such an ethos will be in stark opposition to the anti-Christian society in which we move. But we should recall that society was not always this way, that once upon a time men and women upheld the honor of Christ as that which was more dear to them than all else.
By living out the ethos of the Society’s motto ‒ the Honor of God, Salvation of Souls, Our Utmost for His Highest ‒ the Ignatian will thus ever pursue the greater glory of God (ad majorem Dei gloriam) – without compromises.