We each have a call within us to do great things. We are awe struck when we see examples of heroes, of those who put their talents, gifts, and lives at the service of others. There is a desire within us all to do great things when we are little. We look for greatness and splendor. We have dreams of changing the world with peace, a cure for cancer, ending poverty. Sometimes, along the way of growing up, we lose these desires and this greatness of spirit. The virtue of magnanimity consists in the desire to do these great things in order to respond to that which God asks of us.
A magnanimous person has a big heart, open to receive others, to love them, and serve them. This characteristic of an open heart leads them to have a spirit that takes on great endeavors for the love of God and neighbor. They become noble in their thoughts, words and acts; always doing what is honorable but not to be honored. It’s the idea of having a “wide and high” vision. A vision that is wide looks towards the others that surround us, and helps us not focus on ourselves. A vision that is high makes us look up towards God, placing our heart and desires in Him.
What does it mean to be magnanimous? It means to have a big heart, to have a great spirit; it means to have great ideals, the desire to do great things to respond to that which God asks of us, and exactly this doing of daily things well, all of the daily acts, obligations, encounters with people; doing everyday small things with a big heart open to God and to others.” -Pope Francis