Being a college student, I am constantly bombarded by the many different attitudes my peers have towards work ethic. I’ve noticed lately that number of students that come to class are dwindling and those awkward silences after a professor asks a question have grown longer and more painful as many of us are struggling to make it past the hump of the middle of the semester and struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
On the other hand, it seems that there is always a handful of students who enjoy bragging and almost competing to see which of us lost the most amount of sleep because we studied so hard or who ate the worst combination of fast food meals because we didn’t have time to grocery shop because of some midterm paper or who consumed the highest dosage of coffee in order to finish up some project.
The words of Blessed Mother Teresa have come to mind in the midst of the ranting I’ve done in my head the last few weeks
She not did aide the poor if she could spare time she had after watching her favorite T.V. shows or when after she slept in on a Saturday mornings. Nor did she pull all-nighters to care for a patient because she had procrastinated the attention he or she needed. Even if she had stayed up through the night to care for an individual, she did not do so with the intention of blabbing about it to all the other nuns the next day.
Mother Teresa knew the extent that her little body could do in the world and she did so diligently without being a martyr (in a figurative bad way).
Of course everyone has their own unique calling in the world and it certainly takes a very special person to that kind of vocation and specific life mission God set out for Mother Teresa. As students, I’m sure that most of us are still discovering who we are and what kind of mark we are going to make in the world. It would be completely backwards if we didn’t set aside time to explore what is good true and beautiful in the world because we are so absorbed in maintaining perfect grades. In the same way, it would also be backwards for us not take advantage of the challenge school provides us to discipline ourselves and deliberately apply our knowledge to the tasks before us because we are too distracted by the bland comforts of the world.
God is neither impressed by our “free spirited” carelessness nor our business. God is honored and praised by our heartfelt human faithfulness to Him.
About a week ago, inspired by St. Ignatius High School’s requirement for all students, I started to write at the top of every school paper the letters “AMDG” standing for “ad majorem Dei gloriam” meaning “for the greater glory of God.” I use this to remind myself that for every assignment I take on, it doesn’t matter how trivial it may seem, I ought to treat it like it is my duty to accomplish it for God Himself. Not to obsess over making every word perfect, but using it to bring myself to sainthood. It helps me to remember that I was put on this earth by God for the purpose of glorifying Him and with everything I do, I ought to choose to honor Him.
When I go running I find myself running to the beat of “for… (breathe) the greater… (breathe) glory… (breathe) of God…” and I remember how God is glorified by the way that I preserve, protect, and use my physical body, His temple.
As trivial as it may seem, I even remember it as I clean my room. Having a tidy house might not seem like a prominent form of praise, but God is indeed honored by the way that we treat our belongings that are gifts from Him. We can remember “for the greater glory of God” by the stewardship of our physical resources and through our hospitality towards guests in our physical homes.
God did not call us to get 4.0 GPAs. He did not call us to perfect happiness with all friends, family, and enemies. He did not call us to perfect health. He did not call us to get rich and win every race or contest we stumble across. He did not call us to convert all non-believers and save the world from sin.
He did not call us to be successful.
He called us to be FAITHFUL FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD. He can take it from there.