Lovely post I saw this morning and gladly sharing on my page. Good words to live by..... "Magis is generosity without a selfie." - Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ
I pray this takes root in the hearts of many. As it thrives in the hearts of volunteers and workers and foreign friends near and far for/in the Visayas. Thank you, Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ for this blessed piece... and to Mark Lopez for sharing.
Two Saturdays ago at the Richie Fernando Covered Courts, I was in a human chain with some young people whose faces were awfully familiar. We were unloading a truck of rice and we were laughing at how we struggled with the weight of those darn sacks. I couldn’t quite put names to their familiar faces, let alone remember where I had met them.
When we had fully unloaded the truck, Brother Mark walked up to me and said: “Fr. Arnel, I saw you in the chain with our Payatas boys.”
Well, there was my answer. I met these kids in Payatas when I said mass there in October. The picture now was complete…and very moving: boys living in a landfill and now happily uplifting the hungry and homeless of Yolanda: the “widow’s last coin” happening before my very eyes. It was magis in its truest sense of not counting the cost but still giving, of not heeding the wounds but still fighting, of not seeking any rest and reward, but still toiling and laboring…and even having fun while doing it. In other words—offering from what little you have, enriching others from your own poverty, giving from your dearth.
For many years, I’ve noticed how our students and alumni understand magis in quite a different sense (and I blame us, Jesuits, first of all for having let it go unchecked, surely we dropped the ball on this one.) They describe magis like this: soar higher, fly faster, achieve more, be smarter and hipper, not just 3-peat, go 4-peat, no, go 5-peat; more distinction, more fame, more glory to God, yes, but glory to us doesn’t hurt along the way!
Go back to Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and we realize that magis in the quintessential sense means—are you ready?—more humility, more simplicity, more self-outpouring, more poverty of spirit, and should God desire it, more material poverty, even. See, the Prayer for Generosity is the incarnation of the spirit of magis. Run the lines in your mind (give and not to count the cost, fight and not to heed the wounds, etc.) and you’ll realize that true magis is giving to others from our own dearth, building others from own homelessness, healing others in spite our woundedness. In other words, think of the Prayer for Generosity when you think of the true spirit of magis. For magis is generosity without a selfie.
See the difference, sisters and brothers? Magis is all about God, therefore, it is all about our neighbor, therefore, it is not all about us. This is the magis behind the widow’s last coin, behind the Payatas boys’ willing and joyful hands. Magis is to do both the great and the small for God, but without the selfie…because then it becomes all about us, really.
Incidentally, I was thinking, if I were to change a line in our alma mater song, I would probably replace the one that says, “Win or lose, it’s the school we choose.” I wonder if that line does not in fact belie the spirit of “down from the hill, down to the world go I.” I have a creepy feeling that the line is a selfie. And I’m sure you’ve noticed, dear sisters and brothers, that this thing we call “selfie”, it comes in a thousand different forms. But in all of those forms, the thing that comes between our eyes and the world that we should be looking at — is us looking at ourselves.
Dear Father Ignatius, help us remember the generous widow in our Lord’s story whenever we think of your magis. Amen.
*delivered at the ADMU College Chapel noontime mass, Nov 25, 2013
(I stumbled upon these beautiful posters (thanks to the internet) to further essay such beautiful thoughts.)