LIVING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD - Brother Lawrence
by Fr. Jerome Lantry, OCD
I. BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW
There is not a whole lot to tell about the life of Nicholas Herman. He was born in Lorraine, France, at a place called Herimesnil in 1611 or, perhaps, 1614. His parents were poor but very devout and he was brought up with strong faith and good sense. This does not mean to say that he was exceptionally holy. In fact he experienced a profound conversion at the age of eighteen. During the Thirty Years War he was taken prisoner by some German soldiers who thought he was a spy and decided to kill him; at least they told him that. In return he told them that he had a clear conscience and was not afraid to die. We do not know how the Germans took this reply, and if you do not know German there is not much use in trying to reconstruct the ensuing conversation. All we are sure of is that they let him go. Exit the Germans. But here come the Swedes storming into Lorraine. On their way past the little town of Rambervilliers they wounded our Nicholas. We do not know how or how badly he was wounded or whether he managed to do in a few Swedes or not. All we know is that he was taken home to his parents to recover and that his military career ended there. His time of recovery gave him, as it had given to St. Ignatius in the previous century, to ponder on what life is all about, how uncertain it is and how important it is to spend it properly. It must have been at this time that he had what he refers to later as his conversion. He says that it was in Winter and he was looking at a tree that had lost all it leaves and he began to reflect that soon that very same tree would be covered with leaves again. Then there would be blossoms and then fruit on this very tree that now had nothing but bare branches. He said that this gave him such a deep impression of the power and providence of God that it never again faded from his mind. So strong was this impression that it turned his heart away from temporal things and enkindled in him such a great love of God that he was to say later in life that he did not notice any increase in his love as the years went by.
Before he received this special grace he seems to have gone through a great struggle between his conviction that he should follow the ways of God and his longing for earthly things. Again, all we know is that he had this deep inner struggle before his convictions finally won out. We do not know what the attractions were that he had to overcome, so that there is no scenario to offer for a Hollywood movie. One thing that helped him in this struggle is the he had an uncle, a Carmelite Priest, and he helped him to form the strong resolution to follow Christ. This was a very important point in his life, because one of the things that St. Teresa insists on for those who take up a life of prayer is that they have what she called in Spanish una determinada determinacion (a strong resolution to persevere in the practice of prayer.) St. John of the Cross, too, at the beginning of his Spiritual Canticle in a passage called the Annotation speaks of the very strong convictions at which the person had arrived before entering into contemplation. It is clear that in Nicholas' case, as in the lives of the saints, the resolute determination was augmented by the grace of God and strengthened in a manner that is beyond what mere will power can achieve. This was evident in the years of dryness that he was to endure later. It should also be noted that he was deeply influenced by a great love of Christ in his Passion. This too is characteristic of the saints and it should be the main source of strength for all Christians. The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the mysteries that are present to us in the Mass, are the real source of sanctity, the sanctity to which the people of God are called. Add to this fact that Nicholas had a real devotion to the Mother of God and it is clear that he had the foundation on which a healthy Christian life can be built.
It would seem that after his military exploits Nicholas spent a short time as a footman for M. de Fuibert, treasurer of the Exchequer, and says that he was awkward and broke things. Initially, a footman was one who helped his master to mount his horse or carriage and then ran on to the next stopping place and helped him to dismount. But the office grew in stature to where the footman rode in the carriage, opened and closed doors and served at table and such. Nicholas must have served in this advanced capacity as it is difficult to imagine anyone proving to be awkward by breaking things in the original role. Again for want of footnotes, we have to be satisfied with the bare notion that he never mastered the art of footmanship.
The first real move that Nicholas made to follow his call to walk with the Lord took him away to live the solitary life of a hermit. Once more we have very little to relate about the circumstances of this effort except that it would seem someone was willing to provide him with the meager necessities of life so that he could follow this call. He learned from it that his longing for God was real and not an illusion and he enjoyed the freedom from previous distractions. While it was good to be alone with his Creator this was not the complete answer. When his mood changed and he needed someone to talk to there was no one there. Neither did he have regular Mass or the support of the Sacraments. He really needed community life, but somehow he was slow to ask to be accepted. He probably felt that they would not accept him since he regarded himself as awkward and indeed useless. Finally the Lord gave him the courage to go to the Carmelite monastery in Paris and ask to be admitted. He was accepted and given the name of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Many questions remain unanswered. Was his uncle still living or did he have any part of this decision? We do not know. He entered in 1640 and was professed in 1642. When Brother Lawrence chose to be a Carmelite bother for life he was embracing the original vocation of the Order. Today the vast majority of Carmelite friars are priests, but it was not that way in the beginning. Those who began the Order of Mount Carmel were known as the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. While the Carmelite vocation and the call to priesthood can blend perfectly together as they did in St. John of the Cross, the fullness of the Carmelite call does not require the vocation to the priesthood. St. Teresa and her nuns constantly remind us of this. The call that came to Brother Lawrence is a call to union with God through daily work and a life of prayer. In the beginning the Carmelites did not have set times for meditation but were to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord and were to keep themselves busy with their work so that the devil would always find them occupied. In fact the rule by which they lived reminded them of an exhortation that St. Paul gave to some of his Christian converts: that if they did not work neither should they eat. This old monastic tradition of 'work and pray' came easy to Brother Lawrence. Also his special devotion to the Mother of God made it easy for him to fit this tradition into the special Carmelite mould. He was deeply humble and very intent on serving God and not himself. It is said there was some question of his suitability and this was mentioned to him. The story is that he said: "If I do not serve Him here I will serve Him elsewhere." He had a great longing for prayer and solitude and this was the source of his deepest suffering. He spent years with no spiritual consolation in prayer. This was something that he seems to have sought, because he had learned to distinguish between God and the consolations of God. He spent years in utter dryness with a continuous awareness of God's absence and of his own sinfulness. Even the consolations that would have brought great joy to another left him further confused because he could not imagine they were real in his case and thought he was suffering from illusions. The growing awareness of God's presence through a more vivid realization of one's own sinfulness is a very painful experience and it seems to have gone on in Brother Lawrence's case for about four to ten years. As always we have to guess at the length of particular experiences. During this time of dryness Brother Lawrence went frequently to a statue of Christ at the Pillar and wept bitterly before it. He also spent long hours in front of the tabernacle and his personal allegiance to God sustained him during those years of purification. Like many of those who experience dryness at the time of formal prayer Brother Lawrence was sustained by a sense of God's presence during the rest of the day. In fact, this Practice of the Presence of God during the performance of daily chores is the aspect of the Spiritual Life for which Brother Lawrence is remembered. L'Abbe de Beaufort, Vicar General of Cardinal de Noailles, has left us accounts of four conversations that he had with Brother Lawrence. He also wrote a eulogy that gives us more insight into the holiness of his life. With that we have a series of maxims he wrote himself and sixteen of his letters. From these we can gather something of his thoughts and get glimpses of the power of the life he lives.
II. THE UNCEASING PRESENCE OF GOD
Before looking at the things that Brother Lawrence himself has left for us, it would be good to review some of the teachings we have on the Practice of the Presence of God. Everyone who gives thought to the matter can agree that God is always present to all that He has created. When God was sending Moses to Egypt and to the chosen people Moses asked for a name so that he could tell the people of Israel who it was that sent him, and God said: "I am Who am." When this mysterious statement is reflected upon it is seen to say that God, and only He, is the One who always was and always will be, because He must by His very nature exist. He cannot begin to exist nor can He cease existing. It is this that makes Him so radically different from everything else because all was created and depends on Him for its existence. God must then be present to everything that is, both to bring it into existence and to keep it in existence. He also must give the power to move so that the planets can stay in orbit, so that things can grow and animals and people and angels can live. He gives to us the power to live and feel and think and make free choices, even when these are contrary to His clear command. And at all times He knows everything that goes on everywhere, even our innermost thoughts. Reflection on this gives us some passing awareness of the immensity of God. To practice the presence of God is to make a habit of reflecting on this until our awareness of the limitless God becomes a normal everyday condition that shapes our thoughts, our decisions, our whole lives. It was this habit, this practice, that made Brother Lawrence the kind of person he was, that enabled him to walk with the Lord.
Sacred Scripture has many, many texts that lead us to this practice; in fact all scripture arises from a deep awareness of a God who is present and not far away. The prophets speak regularly of walking before the Lord or standing in His Presence. There is a passage in the Book of Wisdom that gives what we might call the basic scriptural thinking, the thought on which other thinking is built: "For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls."(1) This is a real expression of faith in God's presence and a fine example of a correct response. The God of the Bible is not far off but very close; He intervenes in the life of His people, making Himself known by signs and messages. His love is strong and does not change, and like all true love it calls for a response, for a corresponding commitment. In the beginning of the Bible, the places where God manifested Himself became sacred to His presence. We can see a development whereby His people gradually became aware of His presence, not merely in certain places but in all places and especially in the people themselves. His people would be removed from their sacred places but not from Him. There is a passage in Deuteronomy that prepares them for this, "Yet there, too, you will seek the Lord your God, and you shall indeed find him when you search after him with your whole heart and with your whole soul. In your distress, when all these things should have come upon you, you will finally return to the Lord, your God, and heed his voice. Since the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will not abandon and destroy you, nor forget the covenant which under oath he made with your fathers."(2) A very interesting passage is to be found in the second book of Samuel.(3) This is the story of King David's wish to build a special house for the Lord and not have Him dwell in a tent while David himself had a house of cedar. And the Lord got the message to David that he would not have his house of cedar if the Lord had not taken him from behind the sheep, and furthermore that the Lord himself had not dwelt in a house from the day He led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. Then He said: "Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me." And the words 'house' or 'kingdom' do not refer to a place or a territory but to people. The prophet Elijah had a way of speaking of "Yahweh, in whose presence I stand," and his mission was to bring the people back to an awareness of the true God. In his great challenge with the priest of Baal he prayed, "Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done these things by your command. Answer my Lord, answer me, that these people may know that you. Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses."(4) That last line makes one think. If, as St. Augustine says, "We are born for God and our hearts do not rest until they rest in him," then putting the search for God first in our lives should establish a balance in our psyche that would bring us back to our senses.
Brother Lawrence had a lot of good sense to begin with. In the monastery, he was assigned to work in the kitchen and must have overcome his tendency to break things, because he was left at that work for some thirty years. Because of his awareness of God's presence he grew to like that difficult assignment more and more and found more happiness there. He once said that he joined the monastery to do some penance for his sins, but that the lord had disappointed him in that and had given him nothing but joy instead.
But to continue a little further with the lessons of Sacred Scripture. God's presence and unchanging love for us have always brought out a great response in those who take these facts to heart. Nowhere do we get better examples of this than in the Psalms.
Psalm 62:1: In God alone is my soul at rest: my help comes from him alone. He alone is my rock, my stronghold, my fortress. I stand firm. Psalm 63: 1-4: O God, you are my God, for you I long, for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land with- out water.
Psalm 42:1-2: Like a deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God. ("Grail" translation)
When we move on into the New Testament we are really into the story of God-with-us. We find God in human form living among His people and telling them that wherever two or three are gathered in His name that He is there among them; that if we love Him and keep His commandments that His father will love us and that the Divine Persons will come to us and make their abode with us. Such statements reveal to us the mystery of God dwelling within us as individuals and as community. We are talking about a presence that penetrates our very being and sanctifies us. It is this that caused St. Paul to tell his converts that they were temples of the Holy Spirit. God, our creator, our Redeemer, our Sanctifier permeating our very existence, this is what the Scripture conveys to us.
III. SOME TEACHINGS AND QUOTATIONS
The teaching on the Presence of God is a vast mystery. Brother Lawrence, through his great faith, had come to a special appreciation of this mystery. This is what makes his teaching so interesting. It is well to realize that the ability of Brother Lawrence to penetrate this mystery was itself a gift of God. We shouldn't take his admonitions as a technique for producing an effect, but as ways of disposing ourselves for whatever degree of understanding the Lord wants to give to us. The "First Conversation" quotes him as saying: "We should establish ourselves in God's presence by continually talking with him." This is not as easy as it seems. It requires a certain discipline of mind whereby we put away idle thoughts, flights of imagination that take us away from reality, and train our minds to attend to the greatest of all realities: God among us. A real key to success in this matter is to be found in the second admonition: "We should feed our souls with lofty thoughts of God, and so find great joy in being with him." This is an approach that must not be taken lightly. Without this second admonition the first will be very difficult. Since we cannot see God, the image we form of Him in our mind can make it so much easier to believe in His love for us and it is this belief that generates our response. This high notion of God, of His power, His mercy, His love also helps with the next rule: to enliven our faith, or as an older translation says, to quicken our faith. This is a matter of reminding ourselves of the reality of the invisible things we do not see and can know only by faith. To bring to mind that God is always with us, to picture Him beside us, walking in front of us or behind, waiting for us at the end of a path, but always present, this is to enliven our faith. To reflect on the Creed until all becomes personal for us, this quickens our faith.
Brother Lawrence was also big on abandonment and to trust completely in God's love for us; His patience and forgiveness. We try our best to do His will, to please Him and not ourselves, to be faithful to Him in all circumstances including dryness. He did not worry a lot about sins he heard of since he knew it could be a lot worse. Also, we must watch over our inner emotions in spiritual matters as well as our ordinary feelings. But the basic requirement is a desire to serve God, to belong to him.
The other three "Conversations" repeat many of the admonitions given in the first one, but some of them are worth quoting because they give new light to his meaning. He said that he has always been governed by love in spite of a persistent fear that he would be damned. One interesting thing is that he said he did not find any difference between prayer time and work time; he could maintain his awareness of God just as easily at work as at prayer. For one who had practiced the Presence of God as he did this is not surprising. Also he did not find help in spiritual direction and gave it up. He said that all he needed was a confessor to absolve him. While this is not the normal route for one receiving special graces it is quite possible that God wanted to lead him this way. It should be noted that he himself tried to bring people to the Practice of the Presence of God. In this he said: "We must act very simply with God and speak to Him frankly, asking His help in things as they occur. God does not fail to give it, as I often found out." In the second of his sixteen letters we find this: "If I were a preacher I would preach nothing else than the Practice of the Presence of God; and if I were a director of souls I would urge it upon everyone, so necessary and even easy do I believe it to be."
His letters provide the best reading in the little collection we have of his writings. Something is lost in just quoting from them. While the points of doctrine are about the same there is a greater warmth in the expression and a clearer revelation of the person himself. These should be read in their entirety, but a few quotations will help.(5)
"There is no mode of life in the world more pleasing and more full of delight than continual conversation with God; only those who practice and experience it can understand it." (Second Letter)
"I am not saying that to do this it is necessary to curb oneself unreasonably; no, we must serve God in a holy freedom; we must do our work faithfully, without distress or anxiety, recalling our mind to God calmly and tranquilly whenever we find it distracted from Him." (Third Letter)
Really, to go to work on Brother Lawrence's methods and make this exercise of the Presence of God a daily habit is certain to bring amazing results. Above all it develops a sense of gratitude and a delight in praising God for His goodness and mercy. We were, after all, created for this and the more we grow into it as a way of life, the more we can truly get it all together and begin to function as the kind of special creation that God intended us to be. Surely this is God's country.
LESSON PART II
LAWRENCE OF THE RESURRECTION
by Very Rev. Camilo Maccise, OCD; Superior General
In the joy of celebrating the centenaries, feast days and other memorable occasions within the Order, there slips from the memory, no doubt, other historical Carmelites dates, worthy of remembrance. Among these there is a date dear to our friars and nuns in France, where the Teresian Carmel has borne many fruits of sanctity. To be precise, on the 12th of February 1691, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in our monastery in Paris, which is at the present moment the seat of the Catholic Institute.
II. BROTHER LAWRENCE OF THE RESURRECTION (1614-1691)
There must be few among us who do not know Brother Lawrence, who was born in Lorraine in 1614. He was a humble lay brother, cook and sandal maker to the large community of formation. He also had a great knowledge of the ways of prayer and of life in the presence of God. On his death in 1691, he left behind his writings on the practice of the presence of God, at once simple and accessible, as well as admirable and profound. Because of the influence of his friend, Msgr. Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, his writings were very quickly translated into German and English, and thence into other languages. He became rapidly known by our Protestant and Anglican friends as well.
Countless of our friars and nuns have been profoundly helped by the teaching of Brother Lawrence. It goes without saying that this faithful disciple of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa understood in a remarkable way the charism of Carmel: to so dwell under the gaze of the living God as to experience, in a mysterious way, the ineffable Presence who lives within us.
Our Rule invites us to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord, watching in prayer.(6) In the Way of Perfection, our Mother Saint Teresa exhorts us to accustom ourselves to "living alongside such a Friend,(7) to approach God interiorly, and even in the midst of occupations, withdraw within ourselves."(8) To a religious eager to perfect rapidly his love of God, our Father and Brother John of the Cross, counsels "strive to be incessant in prayer, and in the midst of your corporal practices do not abandon it. Whether you eat, or drink, or speak, or converse with lay people, or do anything else, you should always do so with the desire for God and with your heart fixed on Him."(9) Thérèse of the Infant Jesus was able to affirm to her sister Geneviève: "I truly believe that I have never been three minutes without thinking of God. It's only natural to think of someone you love."(10) Elizabeth of the Trinity described her Carmelite life as "a communion with God from morning to evening, and from evening to morning"(11) Our own Constitutions sum up this tradition by inviting us to "try to live in God's presence by faith, hope and charity"(12) while the Constitutions of our Carmelite sisters add to the same words: "and make their entire life a prayerful quest for union with God."(13)
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection is an outstanding witness to this Carmelite tradition: "the painstaking and continual practice of the presence of God." He wrote in one of his letters to a religious sister: I am sending you one of these books which treat of the presence of God. To my way of thinking, the whole of the spiritual life consists in this, and it seems to me that a person becomes spiritual in a short time, when this is done as often as possible.
In the whole wide world, there is not a way of life sweeter or more delightful than continual conversation with God. Only those can possible understand, who have practiced and experienced it. Really, I would not advise you to do anything except the following: don't seek for these consolations in this practice, rather do it out of love, and because God wants it.
If I were a preacher, I wouldn't preach anything else except the practice of the presence of God. If I were a spiritual director, everyone would be advised thus, so much do I consider it at once necessary and easy.(14)
The slightest thing, like "flipping the omelet over in the pan," Brother Lawrence did "for the love of God."(15) Everything was accompanied by "this little inward glance," a glance of "the heart which is the first of the body's members to have life, and which dominates them all."(16) This glancing at God is such that it "imperceptibly kindles a divine fire in the soul, which blazes up fiercely with the love of God."(17)
III. CELEBRATION OF THE CENTENARY IN FRANCE AND IN THE ORDER
In the midst of the Centenary of Saint John of the Cross, our friars and sisters in France celebrated a Centenary year in honor of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Msgr. Jaeger, Bishop of Nancy, presiding. The Diocese of Nancy was the birth place of our humble Carmelite, as well as of the Provincials, Fathers Jean-Philippe Houdret and Dominique Poirot. Among those initiatives appropriate for spreading the message of Brother Lawrence, I would like to note the new edition of Écrits it entretiens sur la Pratique de la présencede Dieu. This has been prepared and presented by Fr. Conrad de Meester and published by Editions du Cerf at Paris.
However, the centenary was not limited to just one apostolic action. As a central focus of their Carmelite life, our friars and sisters celebrated the centenary as a year of the practice of the presence of God, renewing at the same time their earnest search for the Lord. They invited all of the Teresian family to join them, including the Secular Carmelites and those congregations affiliated with us. A text of Brother Lawrence was chosen for each month, to encourage "this practice of the presence of God (which) fosters a life of prayer and grows out of it."(18)
At the suggestion of the Provincials of France, the Definitory General willingly agreed to extend the centenary to all of the provinces of the Order that would desire to participate. Included in this text you will find the list of the twelve texts of Brother Lawrence, which were helpful for inspiring the practice of the presence of God for each month.
IV. THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN EACH OTHER AND IN HISTORY
For my part, I would like to develop two thoughts that suggested themselves to me on the occasion of this centenary.
The first thought is theological: Brother Lawrence found God everywhere . . . .He felt no need to run off making retreats, because he found in his ordinary work the same God to love and adore, who was to be found in the depths of solitude.(19) It appears to me that the contemporary viewpoint of theology and spirituality carries on this custom of finding God everywhere, emphasizing particularly His presence in each other and in history.
The grace I would wish from the centenary of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection is help, not only to "go to God by recognizing him intimately present in continual conversation,"(20) but also to put into effect the other form of the practice of the presence of God - to find him present in those around us. In a word, this means to unite in this practice of the presence of God, the "first commandment, and the second which resembles it."(21)
This presence of God in those around us is one that is real and takes many forms. By the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, God has, in a certain way, "united himself with each person."(22) There is a privileged giving and revealing of this presence, in our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith, both individually and as a group. But we are also invited to recognize as belonging to us, those who are not of the Christian faith, believers of other religions, and those who do not believe at all.
One of the truly special revelations of this presence of God is to be found in the destitute and those who suffer. This is one of the practices of the presence of God amongst the teachings of the humble Brother Lawrence that can lead us, in the world of today, to a concrete and dynamic presence with which to respond to the "challenges issued to our vows by the problems of work, of marginalization and oppression."(23)
Consequently, it is important to re-read and put into practice the experience of God proposed by Brother Lawrence, to learn how to discover the Lord in the events of history, and from that to discern the signs of the times. This experience of God in history stimulates us to go to him, to live in relationship with him, through our social and human events. To take part in the building up of the world can be and ought to be, the place where we encounter God; and we do that just as well in things positive as in those that are negative. We will be just as aware of his of his presence in goodness and in truth, as in disastrous situations and the apparent triumph of evil. He reveals himself to us as the God of life, who calls us to give our life for one another. He makes us understand "how rich and deep are the wisdom and the knowledge of God,"(24) for he is always greater, always completely other. Last but not least, it is the signs of hope that teach us to recognize the presence of the Lord - for along the paths of life of individuals and of peoples, he is the God of hope.(25)
I invite you, then, to let yourselves be evangelized by the practice of the presence of God, such as Brother Lawrence taught and handed on to us. By doing so, we ourselves become evangelizers of the presence of God: love of neighbor is to the point and effective, first choices are for the poorest of the poor, and an attempt is made to bring about universal brotherhood in the Church and in society.
V. A YEAR OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
We invite you, our friends in the Faith, to live as a remembrance of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, a year of the Presence of God, turning your hearts even more frequently towards the living God. From the spring of this presence, our spiritual life will renew its dynamism, rediscover a sense of adoration, and receive a new evangelizing impetus. God is present: "Consider this often and well," insists Brother Lawrence. To help us in this, there follows a saying of Brother Lawrence for each month:
January: The presence of God: in this consists the whole of the spiritual life. To persevere in this is to become spiritual in a short time.(26)
February: Our sanctification depends, not on changing what we do, but rather on doing for God what we normally do for ourselves.(27)
March: A little lifting up of the heart suffices. A little remembrance of God adoring him within: brief as they may be, these prayers are very pleasing to God.(28)
April: This sweet and loving glance of God imperceptibly kindles a divine fire in the soul, which blazes up fiercely with the love of God.(29)
May: The holiest and most necessary practice of the spiritual life is the presence of God: of itself it is pleasing, it accustoms us to his presence, and by it we converse lovingly with him all the time.(30)
June: Those who have the breeze of the Holy Spirit sail the same while asleep.(31)
July: It is not necessary to be always in church, to be with God. We ought to make our hearts an oratory, into which we retire from time to time, speaking with him there, sweetly, humbly and lovingly.(32)
August: During your meals and when dealing with others, lift your heart up to God often: the slightest movement will always be most agreeable to him.(33)
September: There is not a way of life in the world sweeter or happier than continual conversation with God.(34)
October: We could not have too much confidence in such a good and faithful friend, who never fails us in this world or the next.(35)
November: The presence of God, a little difficult at the beginning, practiced with fidelity, brings about in the soul wonderful effects.(36)
December: Do everything for the love of God. Everything can be used to show God our love and to maintain his presence within . . .I flip over my omelet in the pan for love of God.(37)
The Secular Carmelites will prefer before all else to remain in the presence of God, continually fulfilling His holy Will.(38)
1. Please refer to the OCDS Rule of
Life, Foreword and Article 4.
2. Way of Perfection.
3. The Practice of the Presence of God. (Available in most Christian Bookstores)
1. Wisdom 11:24-26.
2. Deuteronomy 4:29-31.
3. Samuel 7:6-16.
4. 1 Kings 18:36-37.
5. Quotations from the "Practice of the Presence of God," an Image Book, translation by John J. Delaney, Forward by Henri Nouwen.
6. OCDS Rule of Life, Article 4.
7. Way of Perfection, 26, 1-20.
8. Way of Perfection, 29, 5.
9. Counsels to a Religious, 9.
10. Counseils et souvenirs. Office Central Lisieux 1952 p. 70.
11. Letters, 123.
12. Constitutions of the Carmelite Friars, 66.
13. Constitutions of the Carmelite Nuns, 61
16. MS 29.
17. MS 24.
18. Const. 66.
19. M 18.
20. cf 4th Conversation.
21. cf Mt. 22:34-40.
22. Gaudium et spes 22.
23. Chapter message 1991, II.
24. Romans 11:33.
25. Romans 15:13.
27. EN 44.
29. MS 24.
30. MS 6.
31. L 1.
3. L 9.
33. L 9.
34. L 3.
35. L 10.
36. MS 31.
37. M 10.
38. Article 4 of the Rule of Life.
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