Conversations With Brother Lawrence

God’s Business

For time to time I am pressed into service of the Brothers to type out their correspondences to others in the world. It speeds up their writing of letters and we can then deliver them via email instead of relying on the mail. Since Brother Lawrence is a dear friend, he had given me permission to share this letter with you in hopes that it's message will be helpful in your own seeking of peace in your lives.

Here is what he wrote to another Brother in a distant monastery...

“As you know dear Brother, there is little to recommend me to others since my time here on earth is limited and so also are my abilities. Since I have neither position nor education to gain it, I have satisfied myself to the course God has chosen for me. This has not been easy as the path I trod is fraught with selfishness and humiliation. Since I now work in the garden and do whatever my superiors call for me to do, I have little control over what I do or when I do it; only how I do it. But this, dear friend, is the most important.”

“You see, it does not matter whether you do great things or small things, it only matters whether you do it for your own purposes or for God's. I make this artificial distinction only to show you that there really is no distinction between what we do and for whom we do it. I should make no difference whether I do my work surrounded by the noise and clatter of the kitchen, as I once did, while several persons all at the same time calling for different things. At all times I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed Sacrament. In everything I should live as if there were no one save God and me in the world.

“As often as I can, I place myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I find it wandering from me. This proves to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persist through all difficulties to gain the prize of his blessed presence.

“If I were to put in one sentence what I have striven to accomplish during my years here at the monastery, it would be that I tried to live as if there were no one else save God and me in the world. When one really thinks about it, this is true, for all else is as shadows passing through our lives, the one constant being God.

“Since I live under the Rule here at the monastery, I am well aware that men invent means and methods of coming by God's love. They learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love and it seems to them like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it is so very simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him? Sometimes the simplicity of a matter escapes us and we prefer our own stumblings to the simplicity of God's desire.

“Since I can no longer fulfill my duties in the kitchen, being as my age has forced me to give way to the younger Brothers so the necessary work may be done, I have taken to tending the herb garden as my means of work. The secrets of what herb aids in the healing of what ailment having been passed down to me by my teacher, I now do what I can to alleviate the symptoms of any small pains the Brothers may encounter. My little seeds really do not heal in themselves. They merely aid the healing as God has designed the body to heal itself. But really God is the one who heals us.

“I have found that even the doctors in the world do not heal but only assist in the process of healing. They even sometimes focus on the symptoms instead of the real cause. One Brother from another monastery, not having an apothecary, went to the doctor in his village. The doctor told the Brother he was suffering from high blood pressure and should take some pills he prescribed for him. Knowing the Brother as I do, I only marveled that the Doctor would focus only upon the symptoms and not see the real cause of the Brothers problems. He was very nervous about his future, even to the point of doubting God's provision for him. This in turned caused him great tension which forced his blood pressure to elevated beyond the normal. But the good Doctor did not know Brother that well nor did he examine with the eye of the Spirit, so instead of helping the Brother with his faith, the Doctor enabled him to continue in his doubt.

“Now I am not for an instant saying that doctors do not help us in our need, nor that we should seek the Priest first instead of the hospital, but I do say that many times our real dis-ease has a spiritual cause. We can sometimes be aided by the medicines, but the cures lie elsewhere.

“For me the cure lies in remaining in the presence of God throughout the day, not for a minute forgetting for whom I live and move and have my being. When I am with him, I have no further need. My dis-ease of doubt is cured with peace that flows through my entire being and enlivens the healing therein and I am more whole then when I was born. “I know that this all sounds too simplistic to be of much worth. I thought so too before I began practicing it. Now, even when I bend down to pick up a stray piece of grass, I do it mindfully for God.

“My dear Brother, if you would decide in your heart that you have a need for God and that you desire to experience Him in a greater way, then please start practicing my simple method. What harm can it do but to distract you from yourself and your worries and to focus them on the author of your fate.”

Copyright© 2019 Larry T. Slater