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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Deus semper major'

These three Latin words close nearly every entry in my journal. I can track them back nearly a decade now: Deus semper major. They translate: God is more. God is always the majis, the More, beyond my expectation or ability to imagine.

God is more—more life, more beauty, more grace, more wonder and, yes, more struggle—than I have known or can know. God is the More, the nameless and holy mystery for which we long, to which all things tend in the gravity of grace, whether they can name it or not.

Deus semper major—sometimes it’s a prayer that the One who is More will answer and appear as the Always Greater One, answering petitions to open doors, bring peace, healing or whatever I wrote about in that day’s entry.

Far more often it is a word of praise and gratitude for the experience of discovering that my life is more graced than I imagined. Even on days of struggle and sorrow, even when my closest company is the agitation of having failed myself and others, as I write in the journal, praying and sorting out my soul, I hear again the voice of a whispering mercy: “Bring it all, I am enough for you. I am a mercy you cannot begin to contemplate. I will give you rest. Infinite love attends you” (see Matthew 11:28).

Deus semper major. You, my Lord, are always more than I think or can imagine. You never fail to surprise me.

During these days of my leave-taking from The Lutheran, moments of such ecstatic awareness come through the phone and by e-mail. I’ve received a thick folder of thank yous and notes of blessing for the journey ahead. Some writers are friends old and new. Many more notes come from faces I’ve never met, expressing appreciation for a sentence I wrote that blessed them, for remembering the world’s needy, for the opportunity to write for the magazine or just for listening when they called.

The outpouring is gratifying and enlightening. The One who is always more grace and more love also draws us into greater connectedness than we imagined. Our words and actions affect far more souls and touch them far more deeply than we know.

This expresses the mystery of the Trinity, that unity of love where Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, pouring out the Spirit of divine life and love into all that is. The Spirit draws us into closer connectedness, greater relationship, into a unity of sharing in which we experience the life of the One who is Love Invincible. When we take time to share our thanks for gifts given and received, to acknowledge what others have given and mean to us, we participate more deeply in the mystery of God’s trinitarian life that is always More.

I go to new duties knowing there is One I will not and cannot leave behind, the One who is always More. Thanks be to God.


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