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Title: The Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuit Constitutions
Author(s): KOKKARAVALAYIL, Sunny
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 18    Date: 2008   
Pages: 229-244
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.18.0.2033291

Abstract :
The Principle and Foundation (PF) of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius (n. 23) puts in a nutshell the theme of the whole Spiritual Exercises, which includes the final end of human beings and the right attitude to reach that. According to PF, we, human beings are created to praise, reverence and serve God by means of which our souls are saved. The other things are created to help us to reach our goal. We are to use the other creatures in so far as they help us to achieve our end. Such a use requires of us an attitude of indifference toward all created things and the choice of that which is more conducive to attain our goal. This theme is not limited to the Spiritual Exercises, but pervades other writings of its author. In this article we enquire how far this theme is present in the Jesuit Constitutions, and whether PF can provide a key to a better understanding of the Constitutions. We find that the Jesuit Constitutions, besides referring numerous times to the terms typical of PF, are charged with the spirit of PF. The content of PF, which can appear to be an abstract spiritual principle, is weaved into the Constitutions to be lived in the day-to-day life of a Jesuit. This fact demonstrates that for St Ignatius the final goal of the Jesuits is not distinct from that of all human beings, and that he wanted all Jesuits to adhere to the theme of PF in their life. Salvation of soul is the beatific vision or union with God, which union is possible already here on earth, at least partially, when we praise, reverence and serve God.

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