Living the Magis

Living the Magis

BY SHELBY SMYTH | September 4, 2023
Sunday’s Readings

Recently, I was given a chapter of Kevin O’Brien’s book, Seeing with the Heart, which focuses on living out your desires through the magis. In the introduction of the chapter, O’Brien talks about how sometimes following our desired path can seem like the “courageous option” or the “road less traveled.” I know I certainly found myself feeling this way when I chose to do a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 2019. It was the bold choice, as opposed to going straight to graduate school like I had originally planned. However, the more I have reflected on that choice, it was the obvious decision. Through my undergraduate journey, I found myself attracted to service opportunities, became involved in campus ministry, and took classes dedicated to social justice. While this decision may have seemed to be a spontaneous choice, I think something was stirring in my heart all throughout my college experience. Pay attention to the patterns and things you keep returning to.

Living the Magis

In the second part of the Gospel reading from yesterday, Jesus asks his disciples to follow Him and His mission: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny themself, take up their cross, and follow me.” Is Jesus asking us to sacrifice everything to follow Him? When I talk with students going through the immersion program at John Carroll, I tell them that while this immersion might not change what they do after graduation, it will definitely change how they do it. 

While everyone can’t drop their day job to completely dedicate their life to God, what would it look like to maybe dedicate your interactions to aligning more with Jesus’s mission? Kindness, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and patience. The choice to live your life this way may seem like the “road less traveled,” but in the end, for a Christian, it is the obvious decision.

For Reflection:

  • What formative experiences changed how you work for justice?
  • What would it look like to dedicate your interactions to aligning more with Jesus’ mission?
4 replies
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    A key formative experience for me with regard to justice was to have the support of my father to write a letter to the prime minister when I was eleven years old. As an adult I continued to speak out publicly and make both written and oral submissions to politicians and the church hierarchy about injustice.

  2. Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    My kindergarten granddaughter is sometimes grumpy. She knows it and tries to combat her grumpiness. One of the actions her sister suggested was to say YES to every ‘ask’ she heard today. What a grreat way to align ourselves with Jesus. What a great way to think about service to others.The habit of saying YES to Jesus makes us more intune with the Kingdom of God as we offer our lives to others with Jesus. The justice we know in adding our lives to others and to Jesus throughout the day adds the sense of justice to the needs of others.

  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Kindness, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, patience, respect, accountability, justice, transparency, and dialogue are good values for teachers and students.


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