The life of the religious superior is to be an example for the community of a good life lived in obedience to Christ. Any instructions she gives must flow from her manner of life, which itself flows from the teaching of the Lord. This is the "twofold teaching" our Father Benedict lays out: words matched by deeds.
This all sounds well and good until we actually take our place beside Jesus in the yoke and begin the hard work. The call from the seaside to "follow me" can appear idyllic until we feel the weight of our own cross on our back. We don't know how to imitate a Jesus who not only taught peaceableness toward the enemy, but chose to act with compassion when he was attacked.
Sr. Joan writes, "To hold people under us to a law that we ourselves have no intention of respecting is to make a mockery of what we ask." This is true, yet the mockery many of us leaders make of our instructions is not a result of our duplicitous intentions. When I am unable to look someone who has wounded me in the eye and genuinely wish for them the peace of Christ, it is because I myself am unpracticed in Christ-like peace. When I react impatiently or with anger to my child, it is not a result of my intention, but of the fact that I have not cultivated the capacity to act with patience in the moment.
Benedictine leadership is to derive from the depths of the leader's inner life. There can be no dark corners that are not subjected to the light of Christ. There can be no stone that remains unturned.