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March 2014

Seminar 4

On the Benedictine value of respect for persons

I opted to reflect on this value primarily for the reason that it has always been a constant guiding
principle in my dealings with other people. Also, it is my belief that this is a fundamental value which
leads to several other values which were listed in the enumeration of Benedictine values, i.e.
Community Living, Hospitality, Justice, Listening and Peace.
We have all heard the clich respect begets respect. However, it begs to ask the question, who ought
to show respect first? The problem then becomes obvious. If one refuses to show respect for someone
he doesnt believe to be respectable because of some rumor, prejudice, bias or stereotype, the
disrespected, following the converse of the principle set forth by said clich statement, cannot then be
expected to respect the first who refused to show respect, and it all leads to a vicious cycle.
The importance of non-discrimination is therefore apparent. Harboring unfounded resentment and
repulsion with someone would only bring indifference and animosity, and might ultimately lead to
violence as the history of human experience has shown. It is with this that one should look for the
human dignity in others. One shall pierce the prejudices, stereotypes, labels and stigma created by the
society against a person or a class of persons in order to foster harmony and do away with the insidious
As a foreground to other values, respect is very important in community living as there shall be no
community to speak of if respect is absent between and among people. Also, one cannot expect another
to be hospitable to him if there is an absence of mutual respect. As to the Benedictine value of justice, a
just order in the immediate environment and in the larger society presupposes the existence of
respect, in the same vein as disrespect might lead to injustices. Moreover, the materialization of the
value of listening cannot be had if respect is absent; for one would not listen, much more listen with his
heart, to someone he disrespects, or to someone who disrespects him. Ultimately, the fostering of
respect leads to peace with others; the sense of being respected leads to peace with ones self and; the
existence of respect between and among the creatures of God, I believe, pleases and brings us to peace
with Him.
It is with these that I pray that we realize the dignity that every person inherently possess, including that
within his or her self, and that he or she realize that man is created in the image of God, to help us to
foster respect for one another.