Conversations with Brother Lawrence

Lawrence, an unordained monk, is recorded as having talked of loving God, but not of loving human beings.

When we enter upon the spiritual life, we should consider and examine to the bottom what we are.

I am still getting to know who I am, and when I entered the spiritual life I had many delusions about who I am.

And then we should find ourselves worthy of all contempt, and not deserving indeed the name of Christians,

That, I think, was one of my delusions. It is unbiblical: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”- I am worthy of the Love of God, who would not love something unworthy.

subject to all kinds of misery and numberless accidents, which trouble us and cause perpetual vicissitudes in our health, in our humours, in our internal and external dispositions;

There is a problem in taking these things as a statute, and interpreting word by word. I certainly do not have the power I might desire, to do all I would do without difficulty. But I conclude that those “vicissitudes” are alright, really: I am not always comfortable, but I have achieved things, and overcome certain vicissitudes.

in fine, persons whom God would humble by many pains and labours, as well within as without. After this we should not wonder that troubles, temptations, oppositions and contradictions happen to us from men. We ought, on the contrary, to submit ourselves to them, and bear them as long as God pleases, as things highly advantageous to us.

I have my own ideas on how vicissitudes may be “advantageous”, but am unclear what he thought of this.

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Lawrence, by practising awareness of the presence of God continually, came to a state wherein it would be as difficult for me not to think of God as it was at first to accustom myself to it. In the hours appointed for private prayer he thought of God, and in the hours appointed for his work he asked of God to continue in God’s presence, and continued praying while working. The time of business did not differ from the time of prayer, and colleagues observed he was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season, with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquillity of spirit. Naturally, he had an aversion to kitchen work, but doing it for the love of God, and continually praying for grace to do it well, he had found it easy.

For four years, he was certain he was damned, but found this was lack of faith. He told God he was not worthy of favour, but God continued to bestow them. We ought without anxiety to expect the pardon of our sins from the blood of Jesus Christ.

When outward business diverted him a little from the thought of God, a fresh remembrance coming from God invested his soul, and so inflamed and transported him that it was difficult for him to contain himself.