Practicing the Presence – Pt. 3



This post comes from the classic Christian devotional by Bro. Lawrence (Lawrence, Brother (Nicholas Herman, c. 1605-1691) who was a monk in the 1600’s. His simple but profound writings are an encouragement to believers today who desire to discover the presence of God in the midst of any chore, circumstance or crisis. It is truly gold for those desiring to live with a greater awareness of God’s presence in their lives. There are numerous postings from this work. You can view them all under the category, PRACTICING THE PRESENCE.

The material for the PRACTICING THE PRESENCE category was acquired from the (UTF-8) free text version through Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College, http://www.ccel.org  This site is a great resource for Classic public domain materials such as this.



Love the motive of all. * Once in fear, now in joy. * Diligence and
love. Simplicity the key to Divine assistance. * Business abroad as at
home. * times of prayer and self-mortification not essential for the
practice. * All scruples brought to God.

That he had always been governed by love, without selfish views; and
that having resolved to make the love of GOD the end of all his
actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method.
That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for
the love of GOD, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His

That he had been long troubled in mind from a certain belief that he
should be damned; that all the men in the world could not have
persuaded him to the contrary; but that he had thus reasoned with
himself about it: I did not engage in a religious life but for the love
of GOD, and I have endeavoured to act only for Him; whatever becomes of
me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue to act purely
for the love of GOD. I shall have this good at least, that till death I
shall have done all that is in me to love Him. That this trouble of
mind had lasted four years; during which time he had suffered much.

That since that time he had passed his life in perfect liberty and
continual joy. That he placed his sins betwixt him and GOD, as it were,
to tell Him that he did not deserve His favours, but that GOD still
continued to bestow them in abundance.

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 he expected after the pleasant days GOD had given him, he should
have his turn of pain and suffering; but that he was not uneasy about
it, knowing very well, that as he could do nothing of himself, GOD
would not fail to give him the strength to bear them.

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 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

That he had been lately sent into Burgundy, to buy the provision of
wine for the society, which was a very unwelcome task for him, because
he had no turn for business and because he was lame, and could not go
about the boat but by rolling himself over the casks. That however he
gave himself no uneasiness about it, nor about the purchase of the
wine. That he said to GOD, It was His business he was about, and that
he afterwards found it very well performed. That he had been sent into
Auvergne the year before upon the same account; that he could not tell
how the matter passed, but that it proved very well.

So, likewise, in his business in the kitchen (to which he had naturally
a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for
the love of GOD, and with prayer, upon all occasions, for His grace to
do his work well, he had found everything easy, during the fifteen
years that he had been employed there.

That he was very well pleased with the post he was now in; but that he
was as ready to quit that as the former, since he was always pleasing
himself in every condition, by doing little things for the love of GOD.

That with him the set times of prayer were not different from other
times: that he retired to pray, according to the directions of his
Superior, but that he did not want such retirement. nor ask for it,
because his greatest business did not divert him from GOD.

That as he knew his obligation to love GOD in all things, and as he
endeavoured so to do, he had no need of a director to advise him, but
that he needed much a confessor to absolve him. That he was very
sensible of his faults, but not discouraged by them; that he confessed
them to GOD, and did not plead against Him to excuse them. When he had
so done, he peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.

That in his trouble of mind, he had consulted nobody, but knowing only
by the light of faith that GOD was present, he contented himself with
directing all his actions to Him, i.e., doing them with a desire to
please Him, let what would come of it.

That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but
that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their
impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our
communion with GOD.

That at the beginning he had often passed his time appointed for
prayer, in rejecting wandering thoughts, and falling back into them.
That he could never regulate his devotion by certain methods as some
do. That nevertheless, at first he had meditated for some time, but
afterwards that went off, in a manner that he could give no account of.

That all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, but as
they serve to arrive at the union with GOD by love; that he had well
considered this, and found it the shortest way to go straight to Him by
a continual exercise of love, and doing all things for His sake.

That we ought to make a great difference between the acts of the
understanding and those of the will; that the first were comparatively
of little value, and the others all.

That our only business was to love and delight ourselves in GOD.

That all possible kinds of mortification, if they were void of the love
of GOD, could not efface a single sin. That we ought, without anxiety,
to expect the pardon of our sins from the Blood of JESUS CHRIST, only
endeavouring to love Him with all our hearts. That GOD seemed to have
granted the greatest favours to the greatest sinners, as more signal
monuments of His mercy.

That the greatest pains or pleasures, of this world, were not to be
compared with what he had experienced of both kinds in a spiritual
state: so that he was careful for nothing and feared nothing, desiring
but one only thing of GOD, viz., that he might not offend Him.

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.

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