The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 55 pt. 2
I have had the privilege of walking alongside parents of a child with reactive attachment disorder, and this passage reminds me of many issues they face.
Attachment disorder occurs when a person does not form the normal attachments to a parent or primary caregiver during early childhood. The result is a human being who believes, on a primal level, that she must fend for herself in a hostile world that does not meet her needs. Children with this disorder can be, in turn, violent, charming, hoarding, indiscriminately affectionate, sneaky, and self-harming among other things.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Rule of our Holy Father Benedict is a kind of therapy for a soul that has lost its attachment to God, that conceives of the universe as hostile to her best interests. Benedict's instructions here can seem harsh until one realizes the nature of the illness to be cured. The sort of love that is willing to bear the bruises of a screaming, striking child in a calm, firm, four-limbed embrace while repeating the words, "You are safe; I will not let anyone harm you; I love you," is the kind of love displayed here by our Father Benedict.
Awakening to those things we keep hidden in our bed and facing, forgiving, and healing the child within who does not trust God is among the most difficult and beautiful work a human being can do. And it is work we do from the midst of firm, unyielding love.