Some of you may be familiar with Brother Lawrence’s book ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’, which I am reading now. I have been moved by the simple, but profound truths contained in it, and I would like to share some snippets from his earliest chapters. But, first, a few words about him –
Brother Lawrence (1619-1691 AD) was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lorraine, France. After a brief stint in the army, following a spiritual experience he joined a Catholic order – the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris – as a lay brother. Lacking the education to be a cleric, he worked in the kitchen or did similar menial jobs in the priory. His Christ like character and wisdom drew many seeking counsel or comfort. His book itself is a compilation of his letters or conversations with those who sought his wisdom.
A surrendered will
That we ought to give ourselves up to GOD, with regard both to things temporal and spiritual, and seek our satisfaction only in the fulfilling His will, whether He lead us by suffering or by consolation, for all would be equal to a soul truly resigned. That there needed fidelity in those drynesses, or insensibilities and irksomenesses in prayer, by which GOD tries our love to Him; that then was the time for us to make good and effectual acts of resignation, whereof one alone would oftentimes very much promote our spiritual advancement
Talking to God
That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries.
That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of GOD; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him.
That in order to form a habit of conversing with GOD continually, and referring all we do to Him; we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.
That when an occasion of practising some virtue offered, he addressed himself to GOD, saying, LORD, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me; and that then he received strength more than sufficient.
That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to GOD, I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me to myself; ’tis You must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss. That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
That he had no scruples; for, said he, when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so:I shall never do otherwise, if I am left to myself. If I fail not, then I give GOD thanks, acknowledging that it comes from Him
That we ought to act with GOD in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen. That GOD never failed to grant it, as he had often experienced.
In the weeks ahead, I mean to share brief excerpts from his book and hope it will be a blessing to you.