Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Brother Lawrence and Practicing the Presence of God
What is it called when you just start typing and let whatever comes out come out without editing or any mind to what you are writing? Free verse, or free thought, or poor writing? Something like that. Anyway, that is what I am setting out to do today - mostly because its 80 degrees outside and I wanna see the weather/run/get strings for my guitar before I meet with Luke and Andy (and Emily) over lunch.
So what is the topic of this disjointed spam of words? Well, I've been devotionally reading The Practice of the Presence of God, a collection of thoughts and writings and conversations from a monk named Brother Lawrence. I’m going slow so as not to waste it, but I wanted to put forth a bit of insight that I have gleaned thus far.
Brother Lawrence had one basic premise: that God is with us everywhere so we should learn to realize that and bask in his presence (my paraphrase, of course). Anyway, there is one quote from the opening pages of the first conversation that I thought I would share. “[A]t any moment and in any circumstance, the soul that seeks the companionship of God may find him.” Now, being a philosophy major, a host of unhelpful questions immediately arises in my mind. “How do we seek the companionship of God? Are there prerequisites? Do we always know when we have achieved said companionship?” Well, I don’t think Brother Lawrence would care about any of those questions, so I’m going to do something very unlike myself and not try to answer them. Rather, I will simply say that if we do anything at all with the devout desire and purpose of seeking the companionship of God, we are going to get somewhere. Good old B. L. sought God even as he did the dishes and served meals, and he found him. So whatever you’re doing today, do it will all your heart as to the Lord, but also see if you can find him in the midst of what you’re doing. I know I’ll be doing my best to do the same (should be an interesting day at the mall in any case).
D. P. Swartz