In Chapter 71, Benedict writes, “It is by this way of obedience that we go to God” (71:2). He is referring to the obedience that everyone gives to everyone else in the monastery.
No community can survive if it experiences loss of respect. This may be as small as one person’s loss of respect for another. Whether the offending party is an elder or one younger, the person must take initiative to regain the respect of the one who has lost it.
Communities can only survive if they exist within the atmosphere of “blessing”—as one member feels valued and honored by the rest. Whenever anyone feels ignored or rejected, the rest of the community suffers a debilitating malaise.
It is the responsibility of the community’s leader to first of all be a person of blessing, and then to guide disrespectful people to mend their ways.