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The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of a Holy Life Paperback – November 17, 2016
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About the Author
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern-day eastern France. As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, which guaranteed him meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman claimed an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey. He fought in the Thirty Years' War and following an injury, left the army and served as a valet. After some time, he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris. Nicolas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". Despite his lowly position in life and the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God.
Top customer reviews
This book is actually a collection of letters and notes. Since the purpose of the writings was not to to provide a systematic layout of concepts, you have to glean the jewels of advice. But this is not unlike how Lawrence himself arrived at this discipline, by first taking a step and adding understanding with each subsequent step, wether they be steps forward or back.
Brother Lawrence was not an Abbott or confessor, or learned person of any administrative importance in his day, or even one of the ordained monks in the monastery. He became a lay brother in the Carmelite order when he was middle-aged. He served as a cook, but so holy a person was he, he had spiritual leaders and many persons, both religious and lay, from his community and from afar, seeking his spiritual advice and wishing to learn of his methods of prayer, study and meditation. This book records some of his correspondence with them.
This saintly man speaks to us over the centuries through this little book, offering simple suggestions to overcome the lassitude and distractions in seeking closeness to God. And Brother Lawrence was very close to God. He KNEW God. He stresses that we are never too old to develop a deep and close relationship with God, that God is especially close and available to us when we are suffering or in danger, and that God is ALWAYS waiting for us with love, ready to offer help, forgiveness, and every grace when we seek him out. With gentle wisdom, encouragement and humble example, Brother Lawrence strips away all of the complication we associate with striving toward a spiritual life, and lays out a simple formula for living a life of love.
I had a dog-eared copy of this book for years all marked up and underlined; so nice to have it (for free) on my kindle for easy access.