Appreciating the Jesuit Constitutions

The Spiritual Exercises are the heart of Ignatian spirituality, but John Coleman, SJ, thinks that the Jesuit Constitutions are important too.  Ignatius spent fifteen years writing and editing these texts, which govern the Society of Jesus.  They illuminate the Ignatian way.  For example, here are principles for choosing a ministry that can be applied widely:

A bias toward a good that is more universal; toward greater need (“Because of lack of other workers and because of the wretchedness and infirmity of the people there and their dangers”.) Ignatius also lifts up as a criterion for choice of ministry to privilege going to places “where greater fruit is likely to be reaped,” as well as to places where there is a kind of indebtedness to those who have benefited the Jesuits. Again, preference should go to “places where the enemy of Christ Our Lord is seen to have sown cockle ( Matthew 13:24-30) or stirred up ill will.” Here we find translated into criteria of choice of ministry the famous Ignatian magis ( seeking always the greater good) also found in The Exercises.

Read the whole thing.


  1. I would like to know if there is something in the constitution about heating healthy, or about choosing what to eat in the spirit of health for our bodies and for the planet.

  2. Would like to read and study the Constitutions. How can I get a copy? Is there also a commentary available, like with the code of Canon Law?


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