Versions of The Principle and Foundation
Traditional Translation: (Ignatius' version translated by George Ganss, SJ)
Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.
The other things on the face of the Earth are created for the human beings, to help them in the pursuit of the end for which they are created.
From this it follows that we ought to use these things to the extent that they help us toward our end and free ourselves from them to the extent that they hinder us from it.
To attain this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, in regard to everything which is left to our free will and is not forbidden. Consequently, on our own part we ought not to seek health rather than sickness, wealth rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on in all other matters.
Rather, we ought to desire and choose only that which is more conducive to the end for which we are created.
Contemporary Interpretation: (A contemporary interpretation by David Fleming, SJ)
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.