Principle and Foundation

For the last seven weeks, I have been meeting with a small group once a week and with a spiritual director twice a month for a 30-week program called A Retreat in Daily Life. It is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

At the beginning of the exercises, St. Ignatius wrote his Principle and Foundation to lay the cornerstone for the retreat. (A quick search found an interesting article by Fr. John A. Hardonon on a thematic and theological analysis of this part of the Spiritual Exercises.) As one of the things we did to introduce us to the Spiritual Exercises, we had to write our own version. Here is my first draft. I assume that it is a “work” in progress and will have several revisions over the course of the retreat and my life.

I am being created in the image of God in that I can know, choose, and love. God seeks to have a direct, loving friendship with me.

All of creation is sacramental and reflects God’s truth and love. The purpose of creation is to reflect God’s love back to him and to the rest of creation. My purpose is to love God and to love others.

All of creation is within God and of God, but is not God. Mistaking creation’s reflection of God for God will lead me astray from my purpose in life. Things and people point toward God and his glory like a signpost pointing the way toward Truth. When I cling to things or people, I cling to the signpost and am prevented from moving toward God and his truth because I think I already have it. When I cling to things or people, I restrict my freedom to love and serve. Therefore, I must be detached from things and people in a loving and gentle manner in such a way that I am free to reflect God’s love to them.

All is gift. I must remain open to receive, not take. In receiving, I should be thankful, responsible, and generous to share God’s gifts.

The choices I make should always lead me into a deeper friendship with God and lead me to a better reflection of his love through me to others.

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