MISSION MATTERS: Re-gifting
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.
— Sirach 35:12
In the fleur-de-lis logo of Saint Louis University we find the phrase, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.), all for the Greater Glory of God. During this end-of-the-year time of review, it is good for us to reflect on the meaning of this often seen, but perhaps often-overlooked phrase at the heart of our logo and our University Mission. This is the Higher Purpose we find in our recent marketing campaign and the prime motivation for all our efforts to search for the truth, at the heart of our Mission. The Greater Glory of God is one of the criteria we should use — as St. Ignatius did — to evaluate our past efforts and prepare for the new academic year.
In our readings today, and throughout the writings of St. Ignatius, we are reminded that we give the greatest glory to God when we give the best we have to give ... the best of who we are. These gifts are, most of the time, those parts of us we may have worked hard to develop but which are primarily facets of ourselves we have received as gifts from God. We know that those things most valued by others and ourselves are not the things found in catalogues or online, but the gifts which are part of the person giving them. Though re-gifting may be frowned on by many, those gifts of ourselves may cost us the most but also have the most value. Our true gifts to others are the gifts we have been given.
So, as we reflect on the work of the past year and begin to prepare for the coming year, we need to look not only at the things that make our work possible, but the true tools — the gifts — we use. In this review, we will find that the transformational goals we strive to give our students, patients or clients come from the combined gifts of our community. The things which make the differences in the people we strive to develop and change come from the way we share with them the blessings we first were given. The most important lessons — the greatest gifts — we can give others, is a growing realization of their own giftedness and that all the gifts we receive are given to us, for others. Individually, we may not have the gifts to work effectively toward a Greater Good, but combined with all the gifts of others at Saint Louis University, we can strive confidently toward our high goal.
Our evaluation of our past year's activity and our preparation for the future may need to include our awareness of our own gifts and the gifts of those with whom we work. How often have we worked to develop these blessings in ourselves, so they are even more valued by ourselves and others? How often have we celebrated the gifts others offer us, our students, our patients our clients?
The Greater Glory of God is realized only if we give the greatest gifts we have been given. We can give of these gifts only if we try to live the mystery founded in the knowledge that only by giving these gifts away, do we receive them more fully.
In re-gifting our blessings, we retain them and increase them. The more valuable the gifts we give away, the more precious the gifts we all receive.
Have a blessed summer!
A. M. D. G.
D. Highberger, S.J.
P. Stark, S.J.