CHAPTER 43 - Tardiness at the Opus Dei or at Table

On hearing the signal for an hour of the divine office, the monastic will immediately set aside what s/he has in hand and go with utmost speed, yet with gravity and without giving occasion for frivolity. Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Opus Dei. RB 43:1-3

Benedict is asking for seekers of God to be willing to answer the call of God whenever it is heard. Being willing to respond is a gift and a sign of God's grace.

In the Institutes of John Cassian (4:12) there is a story of Egyptian monks laying down their pens at the signal for the Divine Office. According to Cassian, their willingness to respond meant that they did not even complete the word they were writing. The monk was to respond with a spirit of complete readiness to carry out the will of God.

When the bell rings in our monastery for Liturgy of the Hours or you are nearing the time for your own prayer or Lectio, Benedict reminds each of us to not delay. When you think about it, why wouldn't we go quickly, without delay, to meet Christ in the Scriptures whether it be at communal prayer or prayer time in your homes? Is that not where we meet the One we are seeking present in the dialogue, the reflection, the silence?