Magis (pronounced "màh-gis") is a Latin word that means "more" or "greater".[1] It is related to ad majorem Dei gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning "for the greater glory of God", the motto of the Society of Jesus.[2] Magis refers to the philosophy of doing more for Christ, and therefore doing more for others. It is an expression of an aspiration and inspiration. It relates to forming the ideal society centered on Jesus Christ.

From Ignatian retreat

Modern use of the word is often traced to St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises or retreat, where he would have the exercitant ask: "What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? and What ought I to do for Christ?"[3]:53 The more intimately the person comes to know Christ, according to St. Ignatius, the more the person will love him and the more closely the person will follow him.[3]:104 Throughout the Exercises, a grace the person asks for is to follow Christ more closely[3]:109,130 or to do what is more pleasing to God.[3]:151f This is frequently mentioned in the "points" for contemplating Christ's life which Ignatius proposes.[3]:95,97,168,179f Ignatius calls it the highest degree of humility for people to always want to be more like Christ in matters of poverty and worldly honors.[3]:167 Also, in what Ignatius calls the First Principle and Foundation of the Christian life, he concludes with the admonition: "Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created."[3]:23 This concept of doing "more" occurs frequently throughout the Ignatian Exercises.[4]

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:[citation needed]

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.


Contemporary uses of magis often have Ignatian roots. Beginning in 1997 Jesuits have invited students to a "Magis" gathering, as before World Youth Day celebrations, to share the ideals which they learned in the Jesuit tradition.[5] Also, the name Magis has been used for a Jesuit journal[6] and newspaper[7] and on banners heralding Jesuit education.[8] The term is frequently central to the mission statement of Jesuit schools[9][10] and can serve as a name for a voluntary service program[11][12] or for an educational enhancement program for needy students.[13][14][15] A video produced by Jesuits points out that the "more" is a matter of depth and quality, rather than of quantity.[16]

Usage in Jesuit higher education

The concept of Magis as an ideal of life is emphasized in many of the Jesuit universities across the globe. One of the 10 service organizations on campus at Loyola Marymount University uses Magis as its name.[17] The organization stands to allow students to be leaders and contribute in the greater Los Angeles Community in the areas of Homelessness and Education, citing their three pillars of Service, Diversity, and Spirituality on the strive for "The more" that is emphasized in the contemporary definition of the term.[18]


  1. "magis - Wiktionary". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  2. "Dictionary : TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  3. "Louis J. Puhl, SJ Translation - The Spiritual Exercises | St. Ignatius of Loyola". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  4. E.g.: 13f,19,20,33,39,44,50,83-5,95,97,168f,
  5. "Magis Central Europe 2017". Magis Central Europe 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  6. University, Seattle. "Magis Student Development Journal - Student Resources - Student Development Administration - College of Education - Seattle University". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  7. "MAGIS". MAGIS. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  8. "What is Magis? | Saint Joseph's University". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  9. "Magis - University of Detroit Jesuit High School". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  10. "Living the Magis". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  11. "Jamaica Magis - Campus Ministry - Boston College". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  12. "JVC Magis: Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education: Loyola University Chicago". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  13. "Magis Program| Undergraduate Admissions | Loyola University New Orleans". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  14. "St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco, CA: Magis". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  15. "REACHing MAGIS". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  16. lpignatian. "Magis Video". Ignatian Spirituality. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  17. "Service Organization Options - Loyola Marymount University". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  18. "MAGIS Service Organization". MAGIS Service Organization. Retrieved 2019-03-18.