I met up with someone I knew back then yesterday. And we talked about how things have changed over the past year. She asked how I was doing with work, life, and all the other things I am into. And then she asked me: How are you able to cope with the expectations of people around you and how much effort do you try to put in just so you could meet their expectations?
And then I told her that there was this word which we were constantly bombarded with in the Ateneo. And the Jesuits ingrained that word into our heads eversince I was six up to the day I left law school. And that word was Magis.
Magis is a word which means more. Taken from the Jesuit motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, meaning For the Greater Glory of God, the word is a challenge to all Ateneans or individuals who have been educated in the Jesuit tradition, to do more than what is required or expected of one’s self. And in the context of the Roman Catholic Church, we are expected to do more in what occupies us not for personal credit or gain for the praise and greater glory of the Almighty.
In the secular context, Magis can be expressed in how one accomplishes actions which are required of one’s self by his/her superiors, fellow workers, and even family members. When given an obligation which would contribute to the betterment of an office, an organization, or even the family, one should learn to approach the task with the idea of doing more than what is expected by the co-workers, the peers, and even the family members. The concept of doing more would also not only be an expression of the fulfilment of one’s duty but more importantly, a manifestation of one’s willingness to go the extra mile for the company, the group, or the family.
To do more is also to go beyond mediocrity. In a society like ours in the Philippines where much of politics and the public sphere is dominated by concepts of “pwede na yan” or “okay na yan,” much of the quality of services, goods, and even academic work in the country has deteriorated over the past few years. While the lowered standards in society may mean lesser effort for most of us, it also translates to expecting products which are substandard, services which are unsatisfactory, and a government which is unable to address the needs of the people.
We need to challenge ourselves. We need to do more than what people expect of us. We need to make people see that there is more to us than just the low estimation they have of our person. If we demand much from our government, our private corporations, and even our schools, then it is should also be incumbent upon us to demand more from ourselves and not only from those around us.
Magis – a word which back then I always found corny and sickening since we always had to write formal compositions and essays about how it can applied in our lives. Of course back then, I didn’t know much. I was just a student. But after leaving the Ateneo for almost a decade now and trying to find my place in the greater scheme of things, I realize that Magis, along with other Atenean and Jesuit traditions, have been helpful as guiding lights in the confusing realities in the vibrant society we have in this country.
I am not your most devout Filipino Roman Catholic, nor do I wave my religion in the face of every person I meet, but I try to silently abide my life with certain principles which I have learned from those who belong to Ignatius’ Compania. There have been times when I have disagreed with some of them and I have been indebted to their kindness and consideration, but I have never strayed far from pursuing all that I can in the service of the people and for the Greater Glory of God. Thank you Inigo! You and your brethren have taught me much. And I shall continue living a life in the tradition of Magis!