April 7, 2010

With this, we conclude our posts on the Spiritual Exercises.  Thank you all for your generous support.  We hope that you have been able to grow in prayer and in your relationship with the Lord in reading this blog.  While we won’t be publishing any new material, our plan is to keep the blog up indefinitely so that anyone may go back to this as much as they wish, and others may begin reading through our reflections for the first time.

It is appropriate to end with the text of the First Principle and Foundation, which introduces the Spiritual Exercises, permeates the prayers that St. Ignatius proposes in the Exercises, and is embodied perfectly in Jesus of Nazareth.  In this way, we may come full circle in our meditations.  As has been mentioned before, going back to a particular prayer often yields additional fruits, recognizing things that hadn’t been noticed before, and savoring old things with a new-found relish.  Hopefully, in going back to the First Principle after reflecting on the Exercises for six weeks, you will be able to look on it with new eyes, coming to a fuller and deeper appreciation of it.  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

FIRST PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.

Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.

Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition.  Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life.  The same holds for all other things.

Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.

-St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, no. 23

April 7th, 2010