BROTHER LAWRENCE AND DISCIPLINES
Around 1610, a child was born in France by the name Nichols Herman. Later in life, he would become known as Brother Lawrence. As a young man, he fought in the Thirty Years War and sustained a near fatal His injury to his sciatic nerve. The injury left him quite crippled and in chronic pain for the rest of his life. Young Nichols was educated both at home and by his parish priest. He felt drawn to a life of faith and love for God.
Before entering the monastic life, he spent a period of time in the wilderness living like one of the early desert fathers. At mid-life, he entered a newly established monastery in Paris, where he became the cook for the community. In time, the monastery grew to over one hundred members. After fifteen years, his duties were shifted to the sandal repair shop, but even then he often returned to the busy kitchen to help out.
Brother Lawrence discovered and followed a pure and uncomplicated way to walk continually in God’s presence, to maintain a quiet time with God throughout the day, no matter what his schedule had in store for him. For some forty years, he lived and walked with the understand that God was at his side. Yet, through his own words, we learn that Brother Lawrence’s first ten years were full of severe trials and challenges.
A gentle man of joyful spirit, Brother Lawrence shunned attention and the limelight, knowing that outside distractions "spoils all." It was not until after his death that a few of his letters were collected. Joseph de Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, first published the letters in a small pamphlet. The following year, in a second publication which he titled, "The Practice of the Presence of God," de Beaufort included, as introductory material, the content of four conversations he had with Brother Lawrence.
In this small book, through letters and conversations, Brother Lawrence simply and beautifully explains how to continually walk with God - not from the head but from the heart. Brother Lawrence left the gift of a way of life available to anyone who seeks to know God’s peace and presence - that anyone, regardless of age or circumstance, can practice anywhere, anytime. Brother Lawrence also left the gift of a direct approach to living in God’s presence that is as practical today as it was three hundred years ago.
Brother Lawrence died in 1691, having practiced God’s presence for over forty years. His quiet death was much like his monastic life where each day and each hour was a new beginning and a fresh commitment to love God with all his heart.
Brother Lawrence demonstrated the importance of maintaining a relationship with God. I don’t expect all of us to go out and join a monastery, but I do ask you to spend some quality time each day with God.
Source: From a sermon by Tom Shepard, "Building A Relationship With God -- Developing A Quiet Time" 2/20/2009
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