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Prayer & Reflection Guides

The First Principle & Foundation

St. Ignatius of Loyola begins his Spiritual Exercises with The First Principle & Foundation.

He writes:

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 of 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 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 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 the deepening of God's life in me.


Bawat sandali dalangin ko'y binibigkas
Nang masilayan Kang maaliwalas
Nang ibigin Ka, Panginoon, buong wagas
Nang aking masundan ang 'Yong bakas
Bawat sandali hangad Kita ang siyang landas


"Begin with the end in mind."

People say that the best way to move forward is to work backward. Perhaps, that is why St. Ignatius of Loyola begins the Spiritual Exercises with the First Principle and Foundation. From the beginning, Ignatius establishes the purpose and end of life, maybe so that we may live toward that goal – to praise, love and serve God. Each choice, each step we make poses a challenge to move toward that destination, that end.

How does this translate therefore to our lives? If the First Principle and Foundation is indeed the purpose and end of all of us, how does this affect our work, our relations with each other and ourselves?

Let us spend some moments of quiet reflection.


We now turn to prayer and beg for the grace of total surrender to the Lord.

Dearest Lord,

You have called each one of us to be Yours. Lord grant us the grace to fully offer all our thoughts, words and actions to you. Teach us to always seek you in our lives, to be always alive to Your presence. May we always be aware of the purpose of our existence. Inspire us to work and move towards our goal, to be one with You in praise, thanksgiving and service. Continue to sustain and inspire us, O Lord.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, now and will be forever. Amen.

Thank you for joining us in this prayer period. We hope that this reflection inspires us to constantly seek God in our lives and be His presence to all.

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