62. Did Ignatius Coin the Phrase "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam"?

The ubiquitous acronym A.M.D.G., which means For the Greater Glory of God, did not originate from Ignatius of Loyola. A popular Christian motto during his time; it was fashionable to append it on one's writings or literary pieces. Probably, Ignatius came across it in his spiritual readings or from some monastery or church wall painted or carved with these initials. Ignatius used it very often in his letters and in the writing of his autobiography and spiritual diary, so he was thought to have originated the term. The world-renown classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach was said to have written the A.M.D.G. initials at the end of his compositions. The late Pope John Paul II used it many times in his writings and official letters.

The Society of Jesus was (and is) associated with the term because Ignatius wanted his men to be at the frontier of doing humble service for God's greater glory even if the task required great sacrifice, involved peril and knew little chance of success. It was Ignatius' vision to send Jesuits to all lands of all people, culture, races and religions to conquer hearts and souls for God. So Jesuits could be found doing all sorts of things for this purpose: there are Jesuits in media, in genetic research, astrophysics, economics, literature, music, politics and other fields of expertise.

When Ignatius dreamt of Jesuits being available instruments in the hands of God, he also desired they be the among if not the best instruments there are. This is what A.M.D.G. means.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if it wasn't Ignatius who was it? You said it was not him but offered no alternative nor evidence to the contrary! I'm here because I was wondering if there were any recorded uses of the phrase in Western Europe earlier than Ignatius. I was hoping for evidence that it may have been an archaic salutation or at least an uncommon one in and around the 1300 mark. As in 1300AD. Thanks,
A Scottish Catholic and 14thC Medieval Reenactor.

1:28 AM  

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