Deo Optimo Maximo , “to God, Supremely Good, Supremely Great”, is the third part of the motto on the Society of Ignatians logo.
This ancient phrase, already in use during the first centuries of the Church, for Ignatians means not only that all our thoughts, words, and actions are directed “to God, Supremely Good, Supremely Great” but also that we combat “with [our] utmost for the Supremely Good God”. The Society of Ignatians formulates this in English as “our utmost for His Highest”.
This phrase was originally coined by the Christian preacher, Oswald Chambers, commenting on the words of St. Paul, “my eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honor to Christ in my own person by fearless courage”. (Philippians 1:20)
“My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed.” We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says, “my determination is to be my utmost for His Highest.”
“To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An over-weening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean.
“Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—“My Utmost for His Highest.” I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone. My Undeterredness for His Holiness. “Whether that means life or death, no matter!” (Philippians 1:21).
“Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God’s order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide—for or against, and from that point the “Great Divide” begins. If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
It is a motto that flows from the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
A love born from standing on Calvary. For how indeed, after gazing on Christ Crucified, could we not give our utmost for His highest?