The Jesuits-Spiritual Sons of St. Ignatius
The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is a religious order founded in the 16th century by Ignatius of Loyola, a Basque soldier who was later to become a mystic. St. Ignatius developed an intimate relationship with God and sought ways to help others discover the same kind of relationship. This is how his famous Spiritual Exercise emerged. They are the heart of Ignatian spirituality. In less than 500 years of the order’s existence, over 300 Jesuits have become saints and blessed. The motto of St. Ignatius’ spiritual sons is: For The Greater Glory of God (Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam).
Nowadays the Society of Jesus includes over 16,000 members and is one of the largest male religious orders in the Catholic Church. Among Jesuit fathers, brothers, and men in formation are professors, gardeners, filmmakers, physicians, IT specialists, musicians, and representatives of other professions who do various kinds of work in the Church and the world. In addition to the three religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, members of the Society of Jesus take an additional fourth vow- a vow special obedience to the Pope. In this way, they express their willingness to accept every mission entrusted them by the Vicar of Christ. In March 2013, for the first time in history, a Jesuit became the head of the whole Church. Before his election as he successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis, formerly Fr. Jorge Bergoglio SJ, was the bishop of Buenos Aires.
Ignatian Spirituality- Being Magis
Ignatian spirituality is not reserved for Jesuits only. Ignatius himself gave Spiritual Exercises to various people: men and women, religious and lay. Also, nowadays a lot of people who want to live their Christianity in a deeper way find help in Ignatian Spirituality. One of the key words of this Spirituality is the Latin term magis, which means more, better, beyond. St. Ignatius encountered Jesus, who submitted himself totally to God’s will. Ignatius was fascinated by Jesus, and he called the desire to follow him better and better magis. Drawing inspiration and strength from Jesus we can always love him more, serve him better, and fulfill the will of God more effectively. In Ignatian Spirituality, this dynamism which we can see in people who live their lives authentically in friendship with Christ is called being magis!
World Youth Day
During the first World Youth Day (WYD) in 1985 around 300,000 people arrived in Rome at the invitation of John Paul II. Subsequent meetings took place every 2 or 3 years in different parts of the world. During the last WYD in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis met with 3 million young people. WYD is an opportunity for the youth to celebrate the joy they draw from their faith in Jesus Christ with their peers from all over the world. By participating in this universality of the Church and bear witness to the hope and love which stem from friendship with God. The WYD’s program includes: Youth Festival, catechesis given by bishops in various languages, the chances to join Pope Francis in making the Way of the Cross, participating in Prayer Vigils, and celebrating the Eucharist.
Brief Story of Magis Program
Whilst returning after one of the celebrations of World Youth Day, some Jesuits together with pupils from their school, thought of how they might use this opportunity to do something more. In 1997, during WYD in Paris, the French Jesuits organized a few days’ pilgrimage for Ignatian youth from different countries. Three years later, in the jubilee year of 2000, Ignatian pilgrims from various nations headed to Rome.
At WYD in Cologne in 2005 the Jesuit program was named MAGIS, taking the form of a few days of Ignatian Experiments followed by a Festival. Jesuits from Australia (Sydney, 2008), Spain (Madrid, 2011) and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, 2013) continued adapting the MAGIS program to their own local circumstances. When Pope Francis announced that Crascow would be the next host city of World Youth Day, the task of organizing MAGIS 2016 fell to the Polish Jesuits. It is also worth mentioning that for the last couple of years local MAGIS programs have been organized independently of WYD in various parts of the world, sometimes involving up to several Jesuit provinces. A few events which have recently taken place are MAGIS Central Europe in Budapest, MAGIS Ireland and MAGIS Africa in Zimbabwe and Zambia, MAGIS Swieta Lipka and MAGIS Asia Pacific.
MAG+S – The Name of the Program
The name of our program is the word magis with a plus sign (+) in it. It indicates that the program is for people who want something more (+) from their lives. At the same time, the (+) directs our attention to Christ’s cross, where His love unto the end was revealed in its entirely. The contemplation of Jesus Christ- listening to His Words, observing His gestures- as passed down through the Gospels, leads us to become fascinated by His way of living. After all, it is hard to resist pure love incarnated. In this way, the yearning to be, to live, and to love in a Christ-like way is born. Saint Ignatius grasped this dynamism in the words: to know- to love- to follow. The MAGIS program is about creating circumstances in which we could become acquainted with the taste of Christianity experienced as being magis.