AMDG

amdgToday is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. There are so many fine Ignatian websites and resources, that if you are not familiar with St. Ignatius or the Jesuits, you can easily learn more. That Pope Francis is himself a Jesuit, has created a lot more awareness of the order in general.

Ignatius has been close to me for so long, longer than I imagined. He was trailing me, an agent of God, but for many years I was oblivious . Now I smile as I think of the many times our paths have crossed over the years. I think of God weaving the fabric of life, strands coming together to create patterns and pieces that will later become a clearer image.

Speaking of pieces that become a clearer image, I would like to share a story about a mosaic of St. Ignatius. There is a very famous yoga and health retreat in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts called Kripalu. One cold February morning, I made my way there, about 1.5 hours from here, to meet up with a Facebook/blogging friend who would be teaching a course there. We would have time to hang out in the morning and have lunch before she began her work.

Kripalu began its life as a Jesuit seminary, built in 1957. By 1983, things had changed and the property was sold and became what it is today. There was said to be a large mosaic of St. Ignatius behind what was the altar of the now deconsecrated chapel, today covered by a heavy velvet drape. If you did not know it was there, you would not know it was there.

St. Ignatius Mosaic

St. Ignatius Mosaic

Not a religious person, my friend Karla was compelled, as I was, to see it. A Jesuit friend of mine had told me how to try to find it, but warned me that it would not be easy for a number of reasons. Karla and I stalked the chapel space, waiting for the session that was going on there to finish. When it did, we went in and found our way to the right spot. The drape was so large and so heavy, but we peeled it back a little. No – I never got a  photo of the entire image, that would have been impossible, but we saw elements of it and I was so happy. The Ignatian way of finding God in all things seemed to reverberate from behind the curtain; I liked that a lot. Deconsecrate away, God is still present, as is Ignatius!

amdg-2St Ignatius believed that we had to remember that God gets all the glory. The phrase Ad Majoram Dei Gloria was frequently intoned by the saint and means for the greater glory of God. It is often represented by writing or saying, AMDG.

IgnatiusOne of my favorite Jesuit prayers is St. Ignatius Suscipe, seen in the image to the right. Life is awash in the most remarkable gifts, and as I look back, I see them all over the place, even – especially – during times that I thought were unimaginably painful and horrible. That’s why as I plan my Camino de Santiago, and as I walk the pilgrimage of my life, I know that the good is everywhere. And for that I say thank you and AMDG!

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6 thoughts on “AMDG

  1. Lovely piece, Fran. I’m intrigued by the mosaic hidden behind the heavy velvet drape and grateful it was not removed or painted over (terrible to consider, but space planners often just do what they need to do). Joyous St. Iggy’s day to you!

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    • Susan, apparently it would have cost a small fortune to move as a whole or to take apart and reassemble. Fr. Jim Martin told me the story long ago, I can’t exactly recall. I think it might be on a weight bearing wall anyway, so it could not (AMDG) be knocked down. Anyway, so there it is, we only saw a little, but it was beautiful. God lurks everywhere! Happy Feast my Ignatian friend! ❤

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  2. Reblogged this on Griffins and Ginger Snaps and commented:
    On my first evening of my first Spring Enrichment, my class focused on the biography and the prayerfulness of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This workshop included music; it included a focus object – in this class’ case it was a shell that I still have; it used low light and closed eyes.

    It was my introduction to the Examen. Like learning about Lecto Divina in my RCIA class, the Examen was something I had already been doing on my own. It was a natural way of contemplation, discernment, and prayer for me. It didn’t have the name Examen, but the heart and soul of it was there.

    Not being a church nerd like my author friend here I was unaware of Pope Francis’ Jesuit roots. As I began my journey in the Catholic Church, he became Pope and I was immediately drawn to him. I discovered that he and I share a favorite icon, Mary, Untier of Knots, who shows up on my blog relatively often.

    The St. Ignatius Suscipe, pictured in this shared post is extremely familiar to me even though I am not in a place where I recognize the prayers a saint might be known for. It’s possible that the Suscipe is one of the hymns I sing wihtout knowing its origins, but that is one of the wonderful discoveries I’ve made: the interconnectedness of everything.

    In all things, G-d.

    Or is it In G-d, all things?

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  3. Thank you, Fran, for these thoughts. I, too, have become very interested in Ignatian Spirituality after reading a number of books by Jim Martin, SJ, and attending a retreat he directed. The Suscipe reminds me of a song by Christian singer, Aaron Shust. The lyrics include,
    “Can You take me by the hand? Can You use me as I am? Break me into who You want me to be.”
    When the time is finally right, will you open up my eyes, and show me everything You want me to see? This life is not my own.
    To God alone be the glory, To God alone be the praise…Everything I say and do, let it be all for You,
    The glory is Yours alone, Yours alone.”

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    • Anne, you went on a retreat with Fr Jim? How great, he is a wonderful person, I would love to be on retreat with him, but for now I am grateful to count him as a friend. He is like my Jesuit insider, telling me how to see the mosaic, and also how to find Teilhard de Chardin’s gravesite!

      There are many gifts to Ignatian spirituality that are so beautiful. And yes – the song is a great Ignatian prayer of its own.

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  4. I love this post. I had heard the story before and I want very much to go there! What really resonated with me was how you mentioned that St. Ignatius had been with you all along. Me too. My favorite song was this prayer by the St. Louis Jesuits. As a dorky 20 year old, I would listen to it on my walks. Though I also give thanks to the Benedictines and for all they taught/teach/give me, the Jesuits really do speak to who I am and who I am becoming. Loyola sealed the deal! 😀 So glad to be sisters in Christ!!

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