A motto is a word, phase or short sentence that expresses the ideal, principle or goal of a person, cause or institute. Mottos serve to identify and motivate a person, or group. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, or abbreviated A.M.D.G., (For the greater glory of God), is the motto of the Society of Jesus. However, it can be used by any faithful Christian. Ora et Labora, (Pray and labor), is the Benedictine motto. The Dominican Order has three mottos: Veritas, (Truth), Contemplare et contemplata allis tradere, (To contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation), and Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare, (To Praise, To Bless, To Preach). The Visitation nun’s motto is beautiful in its simplicity: Live Jesus. The pope, cardinals and bishops have their distinctive mottos. It would be a splendid idea if each one of us had a motto by which to live.
All for Jesus is worth pondering as a motto. Jesus is the gathering force of love and mercy, the center of all that is good. We are the distributors of his goodness. Our goodness is a reflection of His goodness!
However, we must always be watchful. Our goodness can be dimmed by evil’s divisive force. Insidious evil lurks everywhere, but it can be overcome by good. Conversely, good desires can result in bad situations. A man wants to be happy so drowns his sorrows in alcoholic beverages. A woman wants to ease pain so becomes addicted to opiates. A young adult strives for popularity by overindulging in consumer trends to the point of dangerous debt. Various addictions can be managed through rehabilitation programs, which illustrate how evil can create a greater good. Our good qualities and evil inclinations are clearer when we see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus.
Looking at ourselves through his eyes eliminates our need for masks, excuses, evasions, or false securities. The Lord will help us with our difficulties. Yes, we fall into sin, but we quickly get up. How does our behavior indicate Jesus is our daily companion? He helps us look at the positive benefits of that which annoys us. If we are cut off in traffic, we say a Hail Mary, instead of cursing the driver. We pray for someone who makes our blood boil and find it reduces our anger toward him or her. Our heads are up and our eyes are on Jesus in the unsavory characters we meet. We live in hope that people will become what God wants them to be.
Trust is our stronghold, especially when difficulties come between us and those we love. We remember that everything we say and do has eternal consequences. God gives us the gift of free will. We choose what is good or what is not so good. To be rooted in Jesus and abide in his love give stability to life’s unstable and changing journey. And this, in turn, will help us be a stable support to others. When our lives are ordered toward Jesus, we are more conscience of his teachings that help us realize sound choices require common sense, good will, grace, effort, and firm commitment.
What is our motto and how do we live it?