These days I have the enormous privilege of co-facilitating a group with a formidable Jesuit priest. We jokingly tell each other that I am in charge of the psychosocial part and he is in charge of spirituality, but we actually form an integrated pair!

The word intention comes from the Latin in tendere, to tend towards, to turn towards. Among the various meanings of the word ‘intention’ that you can find in any dictionary, there is one that is particularly interesting: in medicine, intention is in fact the act of bringing the edges of a wound closer together to allow healing to take place. This meaning refers to the regeneration of the skin, to the possibility of healing by bringing together what was separated because it had been wounded.

During our work together with the Jesuit father, at a certain point it became necessary for the group to have difficult conversations between some of the members in order to truly act as a collective around a common purpose. And this is where we came to the topic of intention and its clarification.

When I decide, for example, to start a difficult conversation, what is my intention? Is it an intention that really wants to regenerate? And it is this point that the Jesuit father’s (and Ignatius of Loyola’s) contribution was illuminating.  Before we face these difficult conversations, in fact, a question that can help us explore intention deeply is “Is my intention in having this conversation straight?” and straight means simple, not mixed with others.

Sometimes intentions can be confused, folded (just the opposite of simple, simplex, sem-plectere, folded once). If our intention is really to heal, to mend a wound, it is therefore important to remove what is mixed up with it (narcissistic, manipulative, unfriendly desires towards the other…) and to remain with the ‘straight’, healthy, pure intention, to which other intentions are not mixed up, which make it strategic, Machiavellian and which feed mistrust and suspicion, making us obtain, instead of the result of healing, mending the wound, exactly the opposite result: wounds that no longer regenerate.