One delightful aspect of community life is the wealth of stories that accumulate over the years. One such story I overheard at St. Gregory's Abbey in Michigan had to do with the instructions in this chapter. It seems that a procedure for "com[ing] immediately before the Abbot and the community" after breaking something took on the form of kneeling with the broken item in hand at the entrance of the place where the community would gather next. So, if the next community gathering is prayer, one would kneel at the entrance of the chapel, if a meal, one would kneel at the entrance to the refectory, and so on. One day, many years ago, a brother was cleaning the bathroom before lunch and happened to break the toilet seat. So, as the community and guests, of which there happened to be a large number that day, came silently into the refectory after the lunch bell, they had to walk past this brother kneeling with a toilet seat. I was told that the procedure was modified after that.
Chapter 46 calls each member of the community to take responsibility for any fault they contribute to the common life, whether through a small, inconsequential accident or a "sin-sickness of the soul." Our Father Benedict desires to cultivate a climate of trust and intimacy in the community. Without trust, the community is poisoned by cycles of deception, suspicion, and accusation. Without safe intimacy, the individual suffers the soul-killing trajectory of hidden guilt, self-loathing, and hardness of heart.