In his letter to the Thessalonians today, Paul could easily be writing to an audience today.  There are many debates about the right way to handle political and social issues facing our society today, but the truth is that we have one principle that should be guiding our thoughts, conversations, and actions.  Paul says that “you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.”  This fundamental instruction, to love one another, should be at the basis of our interactions with other.  

We are seeing more hate and polarization between people today than ever.  While it may seem easier to dismiss the opinions of those with whom we disagree, Jesus’s example would show us that our best, and most productive response, is to engage them in a conversation.  In the Presupposition in the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius basically instructs retreatants to assume good intentions.  Where there are two ways to interpret the words of another, one bad and one good, we should assume good intent.

How would our relationships be different if we chose to presume good intent from those we meet?

—The Jesuit Prayer team