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AMDG - Why I do this Work

by Vivian Imbruglia July 17, 2023 3 min read

I have a special devotion to the letters AMDG.

Fifteen or so years ago, I took part in a fundraiser for a much needed hall renovation. As part of the arrangement, I agreed to paint the stations of the cross for the hall, all fourteen stations, on tile, and with ceramic paint, a medium I was not used to usingThese stations measure 24x36.

Yes, this was going to be a huge amount of labor for me alone, and the costs associated with supplies worried my husband, but those weren't the only costs. To get a picture of my stress, imagine taking off work for a couple months not earning any income for the family. So incredibly large was this job, that towards the end of month one, I was feeling quite overwhelmed, I was feeling daunted and discouraged, like I would never be able to finish.  

Admittedly, I reached a point, somewhere near the end, when I almost gave up.

One morning I was literally in tears over my paints and brushes, when an older gentleman with a cane approached me, asking me what I was doing. I told him I was painting the Stations of the Cross.  

"Why?” he asked, and I fumbled for an answer, muttering something about fixing up the hall. Unconvinced, he asked me again, “Why are you doing this?” Again I started my explanation of how our pastor and I had come up with a plan, but he stopped me and repeated, “Why are YOU doing this?” I pointed up and said quietly, I’m doing this for HIM.  

Then he replied knowingly, “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.”

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,he explained, means for the Greater Glory of God. Back when he was a boy, he continued, in school the priests required that on every paper they turned in, they write the initials AMDG, to remind them that what they had done was done for the Glory of God. And just like that I experienced a profoundly refreshing reminder that I needed to write those initials on all of the Stations, and in fact, as I later decided, I should hide the letters AMDG on all the icons I would ever do, as a testament that they were all done for His greater glory.  

But the story doesn't end here. This special elderly man and I chatted for a while, after which he requested that I walk him to his car. As I was saying goodbye he looked at me intensely and demanded, “Don’t stop.”  He repeated, “Don’t stop.” 

And then he said it a third time... but when he spoke that third time something happened: I heard my fathers voice. You see my dad had passed away about six months before, and I still had not fully grieved his passing. Suddenly on the day when I was at the point of giving up, from the mouth of this elderly gentleman, walking with a cane like my dad, who had nearly the same name as my dad, from this man’s mouth came my dad’s voice, saying, “Don’t stop.” My Dad was telling me to continue with my work, so I walked back to the hall and said, "Thank you Dad, I needed that." 

The task at hand, and all my work, took on new meaning from this point forward. Everything I prayerfully created was created for HIS glory. I never sign my work - there is no need, God know who did it - instead as mentioned the letters AMDG are hidden on my every work (most of my clients have know idea it is even there.) I also wear these letters on a bracelet so that just maybe someone will ask what the letters mean, and I'll have a chance to teach about them. On my painting hand I also wear a simple silver band with the letters AMDG.

Wether you are an artist, a teacher, a musician, writer, or parent, everything, and I mean everything should be done for HIS glory. 



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