An intention that undergirds each and every one of our Father Benedict's instructions is to further spiritual formation. The instructions in this passage are no exception. Discipline is applied to the latecomer, not because he really messes up the vibe, but because "nothing . . . [is to] be put before the Work of God." As a person who is rarely early, I can easily recognize the preferences and choices that result in my being tardy, and, if I'm honest, they are nearly always self-interested in nature. I find what Sr. Joan writes to be true, that "Tardiness . . . denies the soul the full experience of anything."
As Benedictines, we are called to consciously prefer and choose the Opus Dei, the communal praying of the office, over whatever else seems to demand our time and attention. Again, Sr. Joan's words resonate:
No matter how tired we are or how busy we are or how impossible we think it is to do it, Benedictine spirituality says, Stop. Now. A spiritual life without a regular prayer life and an integrated community consciousness is pure illusion.