Practice His Presence

Brother Lawrence served for 60 years as a cook to his fellow Carmelite monks in Paris, where he died in 1691. He endeavored constantly, as he put it, "to walk in His presence."

He found that the easiest way to live in God's presence was to simply "do our common business wholly for the love of him."

Kitchen duty was not a job Brother Lawrence preferred to do. Despite this, he accepted his job humbly, and instead of focusing on his job, he learned to listen attentively to God within him. He said, "As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence."

He would enter his kitchen praying, "O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence."

Notice that Brother Lawrence had not "practiced the presence" on his own. He'd prayed and asked for "grace to continue."

God so abundantly answered his prayer that he later wrote, "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."

Did the inevitable interruptions in the kitchen frustrate him? Evidently not. God gave him grace to abide in the Lord's presence.

Dear Jesus, give us grace to live attentive to the Holy Spirit.

"My eyes are ever on the Lord" (Psalm 25:15).
"Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:8).