Saint Ignatius

Jul 31, 2017

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, [1914], at sacred-texts.com

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola the great mystic and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Ignatius was born in 1491 in northern Spain, where he spent his youth gambling, fighting, and vying for the affections of noblewomen. While fighting in Pamplona, he suffered a traumatic leg injury. In his long convalescence he read the life of Jesus and the stories of the saints, which stirred him to conversion. After a period of intense penances, Ignatius went to university in Paris, where he met Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, and the other original members of the Society of Jesus. In the last fifteen years of his life, Ignatius led the order from Rome, writing almost 7000 letters to encourage and guide his brethren. He died in 1556.

Saint Ignatius is a fascinating historical figure who lived through one of the most tumultuous times in the history of the Church. He is the founder of one of the most dynamic religious orders in the history of the Catholic Church that began with him and six other likeminded men whose primary focus was to promote and defend the Catholic Church by imitating the first Apostles who went out to preach the gospel. Saint Ignatius and the Jesuits is one of the great success stories in the history of the Catholic Church. He still inspires so many young men to leave everything behind and follow Jesus.

Below you will find the First Principle and foundation of his Spiritual Exercises that are still in use today. It is well worth reading and meditating on.

FIRST WEEK

PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION

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

And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.

From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.

For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.