The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 27
After all the apparent harshness of the last four chapters, St. Benedict shows clearly in Chapter 27 that love motivates these corrective measures. The superior is to teach the wayward by means of a threefold approach, "reprove, entreat, rebuke", in order to bring about correction for the good of all. The practice of excommunication in the Rule, then, is the opposite of outright banishment where the superior is concerned; it is a process of full and diverse engagement. We see in this chapter that, rather than removing the offender from the realm of concern, the offender is set in the place of highest concern where the most valuable resources of the community, its wise elders, are set in motion to heal and restore.
This is the deep compassion of our Father Benedict. There is no vindictiveness or punitive motives at play, but love that is willing to bear the burdensome effects of an offender's recalcitrance. In fact, the Rule reminds the superior that "what he has undertaken is the care of weak souls and not a tyranny over strong ones." It is to be the disposition of Benedictine authority to care for the weak and struggling, not to cater to the compliant and righteous.