Unlike other religious communities, Jesuits do not have a “rule,” as for example, the Rule of Augustine, Benedict or Francis. Instead, they have a common spirituality, rooted in their experience of making the Spiritual Exercises. From this, four themes have shaped my own spirituality.
First, what Ignatius calls “the First Principle and Foundation” says simply that we are created to praise, reverence, and serve God, and all else should assist us toward that end. This calls for a profound spiritual freedom.
Second, the “Meditation on the Kingdom” is a challenging call to a personal following of Christ, to join him in what today we would call his ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Third, the rules for the discernment of spirits provide a way of testing how we may be moved at particular moments.
And finally, from the “Contemplation for Obtaining Love” at the end of the Exercises comes the Jesuit readiness to “find God in all things.”
Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Professor, Theological Studies