Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Revisiting a Classic: The Practice of the Presence of God

The Practice of the Presence of God is one of those classic works of devotion that I feel I should have read in its entirety...but I'm not sure I ever have. I know I've read it in excerpt, but it's been a while since I've done even that. Still the idea of Brother Lawrence, living his simple, every-day life in a 17th century monastery and practicing his awareness of God's presence while he washes dishes is very appealing to this tired, simple, every-day mom-teacher-writer. So today I thought I would pick it up and start it anew.

The funny thing was, I loved the first page so much, I couldn't get past it. (Okay, today was a busy day...but still...I really felt the need to linger on those opening paragraphs.)

Here's what I especially loved in those first few paragraphs:

  • That he felt his first deep "kindling" of love towards God when contemplating a bare, winter tree and considering how it would soon bloom with flowers and fruit again. This gave him a vision of God's providence and power.
  •  That when he first joined the monastery, he assumed everything about the life would show him his awkwardness and faults and that he'd be making a big sacrifice to enter that kind of life, but God instead gave him years of satisfaction and contentment. (Surprise! How like God to give us joy where we expect difficulty!)
  • That we need to be faithful in times of dryness, insensibility, and "irksomeness in prayer," that our faithfulness in times like those could do much for our growth in love for God. (I love how he just candidly admits to irksome prayer times.)
  • That instead of troubling himself and freaking out (okay, my paraphrase) about how bad people could be and how awful the world was getting, he marveled that, given the power of sin, things weren't worse, he prayed for those who were sinning, and he trusted that God could remedy anything. And after that, he wouldn't trouble himself about those things anymore. 

1 comment:

Edna said...

So funny you wrote about this. . . doing the study "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality", and the last chapter was about doing the "daily offices" to allow oneself to be brought into the presence of God. I want to try it, but I fall SO easily into legalism. . .

And, b/c I'm too lazy to comment separately, really liked the post about the dinosaur guy, probably b/c I just read the picture book "Barnum's Bones" to my kids at school, with lots of dinosaur drawings.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!