The Practice of the Presence of God

2:11 PM

I am currently reading a very small book I checked out from the library called 
The Practice of the Presence of God
(with Spiritual Maxims)
by Brother Lawrence.

Born Nicholas Herman in the Lorraine region of France in 1611, he later took the name Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection when he joined the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Paris as a Carmelite monk.  

He was introduced to God by a tree.
More particularly, at age18, as he was walking along one winter, he happened upon a lone tree standing naked - branches devoid of leaves or fruit. He realized this tree awaited the sure hope of springtime revival and summer abundance.  He suddenly understood the extravagance of God's grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence, and held hope that God had life waiting for him and that the turn of seasons would also bring fullness in his own life. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree "first flashed in upon my soul the face of God" and a love for God that never ceased. 

Here are a few segments that jumped out to me and I share them with you...

"Lord of all pots and pans and things...make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates!"

"In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must first apply to Him with some diligence; but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly exciting us to it without any difficulty."

"When he failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss. That after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it."

"If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from Him."

"The trust we put in God honors Him much and draws down great graces."

"He was more united to God in his outward employments (daily work) than when he left them for devotion and retirement."

"All things consist in one hearty renunciation of everything which we are sensible does not lead to God.  That we might accustom ourselves to a continual conversation with Him with freedom and in simplicity.  That we need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done."

"That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of God, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but divine love; and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with God, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy;  yet hoped that God would give him somewhat to suffer when he should grow stronger."

I find that the heart of a monk who lived across an ocean 400 years ago is not all that different from mine.
Striving to keep the presence of God close amid the daily ups down and in betweens. Whether folding clothes, serving meals to my children, vacuuming floors, scrubbing toilets, reading books or relaxing...God is there with me vividly and intimately.  All I need do is tune in to His presence and let it wash over me, bathing me in grace and love that will in turn, transform the humble work of my hands into a labor of love for Him. 

As Brother Lawrence says, it is a practice - to train your mind to seek God continually, so that there is no difference between dedicated times of worship and the daily tasks of life.

This is a practice worth pursuing.

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