The Principle and Foundation is the opening preface of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Exercises were composed between 1521 and 1522. The book was matured and revised through some twenty-five years until it was published in 1548.
In the commentary of the Exercises by George E. Ganss, S.J., Ganss says:
"St. Ignatius of Loyola's (1491-1556) worldview...was firmly based on five chief truths of God's revelation: God's purpose in creating human beings; their fall from grace through original sin; the Incarnation of his Son; the Redemption by which Christ restored humankind to God's grace through his life, Passion, and Resurrection; and the destiny of humankind to eternal salvation, that full satisfaction of each person's capacities and desires in the joy of the beatific vision. In other words, Ignatius' outlook was based on God's plan of creation and spiritual development for human beings who use their free wills wisely as this divine design evolves in the history of salvation. This plan is what St. Paul enthusiastically called "the mystery of Christ" (Eph. 1:7-8; 3:3-21). It had long remained hidden but was fully revealed through Christ."
PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION
"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."