St Bernard memorably described prayer and the life of a monk as otium negotissimum, very busy leisure, and today’s section of the Prologue to the Rule of St Benedict certainly gives the lie to the idea that Bank Holiday Monday will be spent sunning ourselves or lounging by the (non-existent) pool. We are urged to prepare our hearts and bodies to fight under holy obedience (Prol 40), to ask God’s grace where our nature is powerless (Prol 41), and reminded that ‘while there is still time and we are still alive’, dum adhuc et vacat et in hoc corprore sumus, we must hasten to do now what will profit us for eternity (Prol. 43-4). The insistence that not a moment is to be lost may sound strangely to some, but to Benedict the choice between life and death is always before us. There are no ‘days off’ where salvation is concerned, no times when when we can forget what we are called to be. That doesn’t mean that there should be a sense of strain in our pursuit of holiness, but there should be consistency of purpose. St John of Beverley, whose feast we celebrate today, was an engaging character who managed to combine a virtuous life, love of prayer, and much pastoral activity while remaining open and courteous to everyone. Not all of us are so graced, but that ideal is surely, mutatis mutandis, something to strive for in our lives — even on Bank Holiday Monday.