St. Luke's words for us today recall what all of us have heard time and again since the days of our Confirmation. It is the reminder that, like the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ, we are challenged to proclaim the gospels. While our world knows well of Christianity and Roman Catholicism, ours is a challenge to make what we believe a reality in the eyes of our sisters and brothers as well as in those who may not profess the same religious practices. Indeed these same people may have a genuine faith in their hearts and lives. However, they look to us to know have real the Catholic Church is in our time.
Pope Francis has become a unique point of interest in in the lives of Catholics, ex-Catholics and our brethren of other religions. What is it that draws so much interest? Some will point to his simplicity? Others are captivated by his desire to do away with papal pomp and circumstance. But this is the question in this blogger's mind? Isn't there more to him? My 26 years as a Jesuit will never leave me. Formed in the ways of Ignatian spirituality, a Jesuit or ex-Jesuit will never forget how we were formed by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. As I watch Pope Francis as his adjusts to such a dramatic change to his life in these later years of his time on this earth, I think I know what is beneath all that he is doing and seeks to do. The Jesuit is trained to know the fullest meaning of these four words: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG). Yes, good old Jesuit Latin!!! It's meaning? We do all things For the Greater Glory of God. The greater glory of God: isn't this the key to Pope Francis' treasure house? His prayer, his simplicity, his ability to reach out to EVERYONE regardless of status or stature. Especially he reaches out to the poor. Why? Because Jesus taught time and time again that is the challenge for all of his followers.
Imagine what our world would be like if this Ignatian charge AMDG was the modus operandi (way of acting) characterized the lives of all those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. Today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles is a reminder to us to examine our own lives. It is a call to ask ourselves do I do all that I do or at least half of what I do AMDG? With the example of Pope Francis let us try today, just for one half of this day to do all things for the greater glory of God. Try it! This is my challenge to you and myself today.