Directly on the heels of a chapter in which the religious superior is entrusted with the sacred responsibility of spiritual formation for the entire community, our Father Benedict instructs that no important matter is to be resolved without summoning the community to counsel "because it often happens that the Lord makes the best course clear to one of the youngest" (tr. Patrick Barry OSB). It seems to me that we have here an instance of St. Benedict's profound wisdom as a master of the Way. Yes, some are called to assume responsibility for the spiritual well-being of others, but God is no respecter of persons and will not be confined to the minds and lips of the powerful. The culture of a Benedictine community has built into it the capacity to listen to the Lord through the voice of every last member.
Any healthy community is in need of participation from the range of voices present at the table. Let us continue, for our part, to endeavor to add our voice with "all deference required by humility" and not "presume stubbornly to defend [our] opinions."