“I have said that St. Francis deliberately did not see the wood for the trees. It is even more true that he deliberately did not see the mob for the men. […] He only saw the image of God multiplied but never monotonous. To him a man was always a man and did not disappear in a dense crowd any more than in a desert. He honoured all men; that is, he not only loved but respected them all. What gave him his extraordinary personal power was this; that from the Pope to the beggar, from the sultan of Syria in his pavilion to the ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain that Francis Bernadine was really interested in him; in his own inner individual life from the cradle to the grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously, and not merely added to the spoils of some social policy or the names in some clerical document.” – G. K. Chesterton, St. Francis of Assisi
Can you imagine treating everyone you encountered in this way? Giving them the courtesy and honor of seeing them as an individual and caring about their story for their own sake? It is so hard sometimes, weighed down as I am by my own problems and my own daily busyness, to genuinely look outside of myself into the heart of another person. But love consists in that type of respect, not simply in meeting another person’s physical needs, because service and charity can be given in an impersonal, agenda-driven manner, but taking another person seriously, valuing them and their past and their future, their history and the dreams, is worth far more.