Practicing the Presence Brother Lawrence
“Sometimes I think of myself as a block of stone before a sculptor, ready to be sculpted into a statue, presenting myself thus to God and I beg Him to form His perfect image in my soul and make me entirely like Himself.”
The Practice of The Presence of God, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.
This very short book of a collection of four remembered conversations, sixteen letters, and a list of spiritual maxims of a French lay brother of a Discalced Carmelites in the sixteen hundreds is considered a spiritual classic about staying connected to God. Brother Lawrence initially worked at menial tasks in the kitchen for fifteen years and later in the shoe repair shop of the monastery. He lived a life of a constant conversation with God which brought to him the continually presence of God. He reminds me of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Time for prayer was not different than any other time, since in essence he was in constant prayer. He believed the shortest way to God was a continual exercise of love by doing all things for the love of God. He believed that we do not need penance or skill at certain practices or deep theological knowledge to connect to God. We only need a heart devoted to God. He writes how God is often nearer when we are ill or weak than when we are in good health. He tells us to look especially for God in difficult times and instead of asking for relief from suffering, to pray for strength to suffer courageously. Brother Lawrence asks us to keep unceasingly knocking at God’s door.