Week Two: An Integrated Life
This month, we’re reading The Practice of the Presence of God, the spiritual classic by the seventeenth-century lay Carmelite Brother Lawrence. Verify final week’s post for an introduction to this practice, which teaches us how to continually stay in God’s presence.
I’ve extended admired what Brother Lawrence has to say about perform — perform in relation to prayer and to becoming with God. I’m normally tempted to segregate my life into compartments, and it is quick for me to box up my perform and see it apart from God, prayer, and the spiritual life. This is accurate of every day perform, like housework and guess what? I can do the very same issue with my writing on spirituality. I can very easily box that up and stow it far from God, also.
Brother Lawrence, by contrast, speaks of living an integrated life, 1 in which we are normally in the presence of God, no matter what we do. He wrote:
It is not required for becoming with God to be normally at church. We might make an oratory of our heart wherein to retire from time to time to converse with Him in meekness, humility, and appreciate. Every single 1 is capable of such familiar conversation with God…Let us commence then.
We may possibly commence such conversation in the realm of our day-to-day perform. Brother Lawrence gives a very good instance. Upon getting into the monastery as a lay brother, he was assigned kitchen duty. He didn’t a lot like it but came to see even this dreaded assignment as a way to be in the presence of God. He mentioned (this is the well-known omelet quotation you knew it was coming):
[I]t is not required to have terrific items to do. I turn my tiny omelet in the pan for the appreciate of God when it is completed, if I have absolutely nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God, who gave me the grace to make it, right after which I arise, additional content material than a king. When I can’t do something else, it is adequate for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the appreciate of God.
Brother Lawrence also affirmed:
The time of business enterprise does not with me differ from the time of prayer and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, even though many persons are at the very same time calling for distinctive items, I possess God in as terrific tranquility as if I had been upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.
What about you? Have you encountered God in your kitchen nowadays? How spiritually integrated is your life?
The Practice of the Presence of God consists of the letters of Brother Lawrence, some of his Maxims, and 4 conversations with him as recorded by a modern, Abbe de Beaufort. You can study them right here (other editions are extensively readily available).