The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
“Perhaps the greatest of men are those who never seek greatness at all, but who personify the virtues which posterity calls great.” (p. 9)
“At any moment and at any circumstance, the soul that seeks God may find Him, and practice the presence of God.” (p. 11)
Establish yourself in God’s presence through continual conversation with Him. Why do we quit conversation with Almighty God to think of trifles? We must nourish our soul with high notions of God. We must seek satisfaction only in fulfilling His will (the glory of God). Make the love of God the end of all your actions. This means we will pick up a straw from the ground for the love of God alone, seeking nothing else, not even His gifts.
“I engaged in a religious life only for the love of God, and I have endeavored to act only for Him; whatever becomes of me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least, that till death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him.” (p.16)
The end of all is love. Many do not progress in their Christian walk because they are stuck on penances and exercises instead of the love of God.
“Our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God’s sake which we commonly do for our own.” (p. 22)
Prayer is nothing else but a sense of the presence of God.
The whole substance of religion is faith, hope, and love. By the practice of which, we become united to the will of God. All else is indifferent.
“All things are possible to him who believes, they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are more easy to him who loves and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.” (p. 24)
Worship as often as possible. Keep mind in the Holy presence. Recall your mind as often as you find it wandering.
Presence of God – a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God, a passionate regard to God.
“God has infinite treasure to bestow, and we take up with a little sensible devotion which passes in a moment. Blind as we are, we hinder God and stop the current of His graces. But when He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it His graces and favors plentifully; there they flow like a torrent, which, after being forcibly stopped against its ordinary course, when it has found a passage, spreads itself with impetuosity and abundance.” (p. 36)
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” (p. 38)
“Love sweetens pains; and when one loves God, one suffers for His sake with joy and courage.” (p. 49)
Perspective (Framework Theology note): “God knoweth best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good [and His glory]. If we knew how much He loves us, we should always be ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter. All would please that came from Him. That sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, except when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them as dispensed by the hand of God, when we know that it is our loving Father who abases and distresses us, our sufferings will lose their bitterness and become even matter of consolation.” (p. 50-51)