Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. All my education was at Jesuit institutions – St. Britto’s High School (Goa), St. Xavier’s College (Bombay) and Xavier Institute of Engineering (Bombay). Every year, 31 July was celebrated with a lot of festivities and we kept hearing about the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in the Basque country of northern Spain. He was devoted to chivalry and suffered a severe leg wound in battle. During an extended recovery period, he experienced a profound conversion, and devoted the rest of his life to serving God. Ignatius died in 1556 and was canonized a saint in 1622.

All of us who have studied in Jesuit institutions will find some, if not all, of the following characteristics very familiar

source: Creighton University website

The one that inspired me the most is Magis which translates to “more.” By rising above expectations and striving for “more,” for others and for God, we can serve as a lasting part of something greater than ourselves. The key part is that Magis is not for self but for others. So it is not doing more or all you can to get the highest paying job in your batch or to get that promotion that you and your team are aspiring for. It doesn’t mean simply quantity, but quality, how effective or transformative our actions and words are. It isn’t striving to be the best and greatest. These kinds of superlatives can paralyze us, because who can tell or judge what the “best and greatest”?

Chris Lowney in his book Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World, exposes the key to successful leadership based in the Jesuit magis

Magis-driven leadership inevitably leads to heroism. Heroism begins with each person considering, internalizing, and shaping his or her mission. Whether one works within a large organization or alone, no mission is motivating until it is personal. And it is sustainable only when one makes the search for magis a reflexive, daily habit. A magis-driven leader is not content to go through the motions or settle for the status quo but is restlessly inclined to look for something more, something greater. Instead of wishing circumstances were different, magis-driven leaders either make them different or make the most of them. Instead of waiting for golden opportunities, they find the gold in the opportunities at hand.

Here’s Fr. Roy singing “Noble Knight” also known as the “March of St. Ignatius” which is always sung on 31st July, the Feast Day of St. Ignatius either as the Final hymn at Mass or as part of the Cultural Program held at various Jesuit Schools and Universities across the world.

Wishing you all a Happy Feast! 🙂

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