You Were Made For Greatness – Notes

Recall the Portraits of Greatness

  1. Eric Liddel – Olympic Champion
  2. Emily Martinez – Artist and Evangelist
  3. André and Angèle Regnier – CCO Founders

What is Magnanimity?

  • From the Latin: great-souled or greatness of soul (magna anima) or the soul tending to great things (animus magna)
  • Josef Pieper, one the twentieth century’s most knowledgeable Thomist philosophers, describes it as follows:
    • “Magnanimity, a much forgotten virtue, is the aspiration of the spirit to great things, ‘extensio animi as magna.’ A person is magnanimous if he has the courage to seek what is great and become worthy of it…Magnanimity, as both Thomas and Aristotle tell us, is ‘the jewel of all the virtues’, since it always – and particularly in ethical matters – decides in favor of what is, at any given moment, the greater possibility of the human potentiality for being.”
  • St. Thomas Aquinas: Magnanimity is a “stretching forth of the mind to great things.” The magnanimous person seeks to do great acts, “things as are deserving of honor.” “Magnanimity strives for what is greatest, but in proportion to a man’s own capacity…”
  • Magnanimity is the virtue or the habit of the soul striving for great things

What is Leadership?

Leadership today remains and important topic, and there has never been more information available about it – Google, Books, Videos.  In the midst of this, consider the perspective of virtuous leadership.

  • Alexandre Havard: Leadership is about achieving greatness by bringing out the greatness in others. Management is about getting things done. Leadership is about helping people grow.
    • “Magnanimity is the first specific virtue of leadership. Leaders are magnanimous in their dreams, their visions, sense of mission, in their capacity for hope, confidence in daring, in their enthusiasm for the effort to bring their work to a successful conclusion, in their propensity for a means proportionate to their goals, in their capacity to challenge themselves and those around them.”
  • John Wooden, NCAA Coach and Author: “Personal greatness for any leader is measured by effectiveness in bringing out the greatness in those you lead.”

 and Mission

  • Pope Benedict: “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”
  • Pope Francis: “Another trait of the Christian is magnanimity, because he is the child of a magnanimous father, of great heart. … The Christian heart is magnanimous. … when you enter into Jesus’ friendship, when you let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit, the heart becomes open, magnanimous…” (Morning Homily – Jan 28, 2016)
  • St. Ignatius: Ad majorem Dei gloriam: “For the greater glory of God.

Magnanimous Dreams

At World Youth Day in Poland, Pope Francis invited the youth of the world to dream big and make their mark on history:

    • “Today Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life, is calling you, you, and you to leave your mark on history.  He, who is life, is asking each of you to leave a mark that brings life to your own history and that of many others.  He, who is truth, is asking you to abandon the paths of rejection, division and emptiness.  Are you up to this?  Are you up to this?   What answer will you give, and I’d like to see it, with your hands and with your feet, to the Lord, who is the way, the truth and the life?  Are you up to this?    May the Lord bless your dreams!”
  1. What are your dreams for your personal life?
  2. What are your dreams for community?
  3. What are your dreams for your nation?


Cultivating Magnanimity

  1. Form Friendships – Seek the company of magnanimous people and choose magnanimous friends
  1. Expand Your World – read inspiring biographies of magnanimous people, books by great thinkers, the lives of the Saints; watch inspiring movies of magnanimous people; encounter beauty; dream; travel, experience new cultures, plan an adventure
  2. Serve With Your Talents – identify your strengths (through inventories, feedback analysis, etc.) then work to improve your strengths and talents; Do not compare yourself to anyone
  3. See and Seize Opportunities – don’t let opportunity pass; don’t be afraid of failure; seek greatness in ordinary life

Go Set the World on Fire!

  • “If you are who you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!” –  Catherine of Sienna
  • One Dream, One Step – What is one step you can make towards your dream?


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