On Magnanimity

"...this virtue of the great and the small (Non coerceri maximo contineri minimo, divinum est), which makes us always look at the horizon. What does it mean to be magnanimous? It means to have a big heart, to have greatness of mind, it means to have great ideals, the desire to do great things to respond to what God asks of us and, precisely because of this, to do well the things of each day, all daily actions, commitments, meetings with persons. To do the little things of every day with a great heart open to God and to others. Hence it is important to take care of the human formation aimed at magnanimity. School does not only widen your intellectual but also your human dimension. And I think that in a particular way Jesuit schools are careful to develop the human virtues: loyalty, respect, fidelity, commitment.

I would like to pause on two fundamental values: liberty and service. First of all, be free persons! What do I mean? Perhaps it is thought that liberty is to do whatever one wishes, or venture into limit-experiences to try intoxication and overcome boredom. This isn’t liberty! Liberty means to be able to reflect on what we do, to know how to appreciate what is good and what is bad, behavior that makes one grow means to choose always the good. We are free for the good. And in this, fear not to go against the current, even if it isn’t easy! To be free to always choose the good is demanding, but it will make you persons who have a backbone, who are able to face life; persons with courage and patience (parresia and ypomone). The second word is service. In your school you take part in various activities that habituate you not to shut yourselves in on yourselves or in your small world, but to be open to others, especially to the poorest and neediest, to work to improve the world in which we live. Be men and women with others and for others, real champions in the service of others.

To be magnanimous with interior liberty and a spirit of service, spiritual formation is necessary. Dear children, dear youths, love Jesus Christ ever more! Our life is an answer to his call and you will be happy and will build your life well if you are able to respond to this call. Sense the presence of the Lord in your life. He is close to every one of you as companion, as friend, who knows how to help and understand you, who encourages you in difficult moments and never abandons you. In prayer, in dialogue with Him, in the reading of the Bible, you will discover that He is really close. And also learn to read the signs of God in your life. He always speaks to us, also through the events of our time and of our everyday existence. It is up to us to listen to him."  -- address of the Holy Father to Jesuit schoolchildren

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