St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491, and died on July 31, 1556. I’ve always been fascinated how the Catholic Church marks the feast day of saints, not by their birthday, but by the day they entered into eternal life.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I’ve been influenced by the writings of this saint, especially through his great gift to Christianity, the Spiritual Exercises.
Of primary importance in the Exercises is what St. Ignatius called the First Principle and Foundation.
First Principle and Foundation
The goal of our life is to be with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life.Our own response to 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 Godmore 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 develop asloving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace Godand so hinder our growth toward our goal.In every life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all 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 life in me. (St. Ignatius, as paraphrased by David . Fleming, S.J.)