At the heart of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola is the concept of freedom: freedom to love, freedom for service and freedom to be in an intimate relationship and dialogue with the God who leads each of us toward life.
At the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises is something called the First Principle and Foundation in which we find the nexus of freedom and relationship, out of which Ignatian Spirituality grows.
Here is a modern rendering of the First Principle and Foundation:
The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God’s life
to flow into us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
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 deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God’s deepening his life in me.
– by David L. Fleming, S.J. (Used with permission)