When I was a student in my parish school, Sacred Heart, in Lake Worth, Fla., the sisters taught us to write at the top of every paper, every homework assignment: J.M.J., which stood for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was a way of making even school work a prayer — a lifting up of our minds and hearts to God. Under these initials, we also wrote: A.M.D.G., an abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Ad Majorem Dei Gloria, which means: For the greater glory of God.

We should always do what we do for the greater glory of God. But giving God the glory is supposed to stretch us — which was, I think, the point the sisters were trying to make when they also had us write A.M.D.G. on our papers. You didn’t bring God much glory without giving it your best effort.

Over the years, the good people of our archdiocese have been giving their best effort — a sacrificial effort — in the support of the Archbishop’s Charities and Development campaign (ABCD) which funds the ministries of our archdiocese above and beyond what happens in our parishes. This January, once again, I am appealing to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Miami to support the ABCD.

Of course, I know that, when their parish priest asks them to make a sacrificial pledge once again, some people in the pews might be tempted to shout out: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” But let us remember that all this is Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. We’re doing it “for the greater glory of God.”

In the second century, St. Irenaeus said that “the glory of God is man fully alive” (Gloria Dei vivens homo). That is what ABCD is about. By supporting the many life-changing ministries of the archdiocese, the Catholic faithful of our archdiocese want people to become more fully alive in Christ.

And we do this in so many ways — through our Catholic Charities, through our religious education programs, our Catholic schools. We do this through our support of our seminarians and priests. We do this in our marriage preparation programs; our lay ministries that form people to minister to the bereaved, the homebound, the imprisoned.

Faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, is about investing in the lives of others — and doing so decisively and boldly. If we invest our time, talent and treasure in this way, then as missionary disciples we can bear much fruit. And we will make our world into a better place.

God has given each of us enormous treasures, talents, in Christ Jesus, his Son. These treasures and talents are the currency of our faith that, if invested in doing good, can produce much fruit. But the Catholic Church in South Florida can only do what it does because of the generosity of people like you, people who in spite of the limits of their own economic resources keep their support of the Church on their list of major priorities.

Indeed, the needs addressed by the Church are critical; and to meet them we must be willing to stretch ourselves “for the greater glory of God.”

And so I turn to you, the faithful of our archdiocese, to once again support the good works of your local Church through your continued support of the Archbishop’s Charity and Development Campaign (ABCD). Because of you — and your generosity — the Church here in South Florida, united as One in Faith, One in Hope, and One in Charity, does so much “for the greater glory of God” and for the good of our brothers and sisters always in need of Good News.