Follow Your Magis

by Jill Klusendorf, Director of Community Life

Earlier this month, one of my daughter's former classmates remarked that it was the six month anniversary of their graduation from Georgetown. Naturally, it sent me down memory lane, where for four years the Hilltop was the best home a mother could ask for to embrace, educate and let loose onto the world her first born and only daughter.
Although initially hard to focus on, The Baccalaureate Mass was especially moving for me. It was hotter than blazes in the Yates Fieldhouse that May morning and the gentleman in the row below us blabbed on his cell phone for most of the service. As the heat soared and my eyelids fluttered, I was reawakened by these three words: "Follow Your Magis." When I say reawakened, I mean it in every sense of the word.
For those of you who are not familiar with Magis, here is what our friends at Wikipedia have to say: Magis (pronounced "màh-gis") is a Latin word that means "the more." It is taken from Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning "for the greater glory of God." Magis refers to the philosophy of doing more, for Christ, and therefore for others. (Magis is different from Magi, the Wisemen who visited the infant Christ.) It relates to forming the ideal society centered around Jesus Christ. The roots of the phrase are ascribed to St. Ignatius' exercise of doing more for God. He would encourage people around him during his time by asking: "What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? And what MORE can I do for Him?"

While the Jesuits can claim to have first coined the term or embraced the concept, I believe it is both a universal inspiration and aspiration. Magis embodies "the act of discerning the best choice in a given situation to better glorify or serve God. Magis does not mean to always do or give "more" to the point of exhaustion. Magis is the value of striving for the better, striving for excellence."
Having attended a Jesuit university myself, I couldn't recall ever hearing the word. But I do know that regardless of when I first heard it, learned it, practiced it or incorporated it into my life, the word, the concept, the very essence of it had long been there. It was as if a spiritual light bulb went off! And it had a name!

Magis is exactly what CHC has got going on! The response to the Thanksgiving Outreach for The Primo Center was overwhelming. As I walked in to the parlor every day, the number of donations made by parishioners and the All Things Bright and Beautiful families made my heart burst. Currently, we have close to 30 volunteers to help bring holiday cheer to the residents of Good News Partners at their inaugural Christmas Store. With your help, the Jesse Tree Outreach promises to be an equally wonderful example of Magis in action.
I relate Magis to the season of Christmas in ways. Phonetically, it sounds like magic, and this is certainly a season of that too. It is also the season of "the more," not in the excess of material goods, but in the opportunity to be more, give more, and be more open to God and the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. I wish you and yours the most blessed of seasons. Follow Your Magis.