As a writer and former educator, I love teaching people.
The trouble is that I often feel compelled to offer advice when it isn’t really wanted.
I can get let the pride of knowledge cloud my ability to listen to and learn from others.
I love this quote from St. John of the Cross:
“Always prefer to be taught by all rather than to desire teaching even the least of all.”
St. John of the Cross
It was featured by Pope Francis in his recent document on holiness. As the pope points out, St. John of the Cross gives us a path to a happy heart:
“It is not good when we look down on others like heartless judges, lording it over them and always trying to teach them lessons. That is itself a subtle form of violence.
Saint John of the Cross proposed a different path: “Always prefer to be taught by all, rather than to desire teaching even the least of all”.
And he added advice on how to keep the devil at bay: “Rejoice in the good of others as if it were your own, and desire that they be given precedence over you in all things; this you should do wholeheartedly. You will thereby overcome evil with good, banish the devil, and possess a happy heart. Try to practice this all the more with those who least attract you. Realize that if you do not train yourself in this way, you will not attain real charity or make any progress in it”.
Gaudete et exsultate, 117