My Principle and Foundation

The reason Jesuit spirituality has been so profound for me is that it has given form to the substance of my spiritual life. So often I find myself saying, “Yes! Exactly!” when I read books on Ignatian spirituality or being moved by a particular poem or prayer. The Jesuit Principle and Foundation forms naturally the core of their spirituality. It is both poem and prose. It describes my core. Enjoy.

Principle and Foundation: Contemporary Translation

God who loves us creates us and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service of the God of our life.

All the things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we show reverence for all the gifts of creation and collaborate with God in using them so that by being good stewards we develop as loving persons in our care for God’s world and its development. But if we abuse any of these gifts of creation or, on the contrary, take them as the center of our lives, we break our relationship with God and hinder our growth as loving persons.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some responsibility. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a more loving response to our life forever with God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me (SE 23).

-Translation by David L. Fleming, SJ, in Draw Me into Your Friendship: The Spiritual Literal Translation and a Contemporary Reading.

Quoted in Father Kevin O’Brien SJ. The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life (Kindle Locations 576-585). Kindle Edition.

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