From February 2015 Magnificat
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
His spirituality has come down through letters he wrote and notes of conversations, which were compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort and first published shortly after Brother Lawrence’s death. Now known as ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’, the book is a small gem of a spiritual classic.
Whether Brother Lawrence was turning a frying cake, picking up a straw from the ground, or washing dishes, he “resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions.” He wrote:
Lord of all pots and pans and things
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates!
Let’s not forget God is also Lord of being stuck in commuter traffic, answering emails, and shopping for office supplies. Instead of fighting against our daily chores, whatever our station, Brother Lawrence invites us to lose ourselves in Christ: “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love….Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?”
We sometimes erroneously think that the contemplative life can take place only in silence and solitude. These words of Brother Lawrence are as relevant to our multi-tasking times as they were almost four hundred years ago: “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.”