How does one distinguish between magnanimity and ambition? They look the same from the outside, but with this virtue, the inner disposition is the real measure. A magnanimous person is also humble.
Let’s start with the meanings of these virtues. Magnanimity is knowing one’s talents and sharing them. Humility is an awareness that one’s gifts or talents come from God. Hence, the magnanimous, humble person is self-possessed and recognizes the gifts in other people. They can draw out these gifts and rejoice if the other person excels. Of course, this disposition does not happen instantly, as it requires honest self-knowledge and the ability to recognize when jealousy or envy rear their ugly heads.
If you find yourself sad at other people’s success or asking yourself, “Why not me?” or perhaps verbally tearing down the good of others, you may want to take a second look at your motives. Or, to put it differently, if you find it hard to mind your own business instead of focusing on what others are doing, it may be time to acknowledge spiritual envy or jealousy.
A magnanimous person is willing to undertake great things or small things as they focus on the end goal–natural or supernatural.
May we all strive to see our gifts and talents and offer them to God. He will make them like the mustard seed and bring them to fruition. And then we will say with Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”