Tag Archives: David L. Fleming

The Magis according to St Ignatius of Loyola

San Ignacio de Loyola.jpgAn often confused issue in Ignatian spirituality as it is formulated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the concept of the magis. It can be an elusive but central Ignatian idea. But it doesn’t have to be such. Many writers on Ignatian spirituality say that the magis means the best, the highest, the most that we can do for God. But these writers miss the point because Ignatius doesn’t speak in superlative terms.

The recently departed Jesuit Father Dave Fleming contests this understanding. According to Fleming, the magis is comparative not superlative.  That is, it is the more, not the most.  Holy Father Saint Ignatius meant the magis to be interpreted and thus lived in view of the greater not the greatest.

Father Dave wrote: “Ignatius never works with superlatives.” Fleming explains, “When we want to do the best, we may get frozen. If we want to do what might be better, we might be able to choose.” Thus, there is an emphasis on freedom in this more authentic interpretation of Ignatius than what one gets with using superlative language. Hence, the magis as a comparative applies to everything, not just a select point or two of one’s life. Everything. A complete and sincere gift of self to God, and then to neighbor.

David L. Fleming, SJ, RIP

Today has been a day of death it seems. I started the day with a funeral of a 8 year old who died the other day of cancer.

David L Fleming SJ.jpg

This afternoon I was notified that my former rector, Father David L. Fleming, SJ, 76, died after facing cancer in a courageous way. Well done good and faithful servant. May the Lord be good to him.
David is likely to have been one of the best superiors I ever had. For me, he was a light in darkness when a lot of others were simply too self-absorbed. He was one of those who superiors who took each person seriously and approached each person with sensitivity, grace and love. He always showed me the operation of grace, that is, the act of God’s love on me as unmerited and without reservation.
When I saw David last summer it was a fine meeting –one that was full of memories from the past– but one we both knew that we’d not likely see each other this summer.
Father Fleming’s obituary is here: Fr David Fleming, SJ obit.pdf
Please pray for Father Fleming and all the souls who have died today.
May Father David Fleming’s memory be eternal.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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