A short message from Brother Lawrence...
They come from all over. Young. Old. Rich. Poor. It really doesn't matter what they are, only who they are; a child of God.
Why do they come? They wish to be healed. Healed of unspeakable hurt that only God can hear. Healed of all that is beyond mortal minds to understand yet minds that need healing. Healing is not something that humans can do. As has been written here before, the body, mind and spirit cannot be healed from without. No doctor can cure them. The best medicine can do is to eradicate the broken, the corrupted, the disease that causes the pain but it is the body, the mind and the spirit that must heal itself from the effects of the evil it has endured.
Sometimes you hear the wonders of modern medicine and how far it has come in curing disease. Killing the disease, yes. But curing is another thing altogether.
People do come to our little monastery to be healed. But it is not something we Brothers do. It is something only the broken can do because our God loves the broken, the homeless, the rejected because he was broken, homeless and rejected when he walked on this earth.
And the funny thing is, he takes other broken, homeless and rejected people to help others just like themselves. And sometimes he uses animals to remind us that we are not so different then they are. We both need help to survive. We know that there is an interconnectedness between the animal world and our own. We both have great strengths but we need each other without their participation we would not be able to live very long.
I find it interesting that when we see animated cartoons of animals, we identify with them more readily then if they were cartoons of people. Why is that? Maybe because we are a little uncomfortable seeing the truth when it is so close to ourselves yet can readily accept it when it is lived out through an animal.
People often ask if animals understand us. For those of us who take care of pets we already know the answer. Of course, they do! Look into their eyes while you pour out your heart to them. It is as if God himself were looking at you, full of love and understanding, offering in return only acceptance. If that is not Divine, I don't know what is.
Those who have the love of God in their hearts cannot look upon a poorly treated animal and not weep inside. Horses starved so much that their ribs poke through their hides. Dogs with matted hair whimpering after being beaten. Cats mewing while escaping with only their lives after being thrown into a pit of water tied up in a canvas bag.
You say they are only animals, that they really don't know what is happening. I say that they understand and God sees their hurt and judges those who hurt the helpless for they represent the helpless of us all.
There are stories of hurting horses that once rescued can give healing to those of us who have undergone similar experiences. It doesn't matter whether they speak or not because their spirit is as alive as our own and when spirit talks to spirit, we each learn from the other.
Too often we humans place too much emphasis on speaking. Words can sometimes get in the way of communicating and when one depends only on words to show their love, they are often at a loss to express the depth of love that needs expressing. Only through pain can one have the power to give healing. Again, this healing does not come from without but only from within.
We try to understand why bad things happen to us. We say, “Why me?” as if we think we deserve a life of ease and plenty. Here at the monastery we learn each day that when we life without we grow stronger in order to help those in real need. We learn to depend on our spirit, on our Lord who instructs us and gifts us to give to others the riches that only He can give. These riches do heal because they come from within where only God is alone with us in our pain and suffering.
I ask you dear friend, you who have read these words, what are you seeking? What healing do you desire? Are you sick? Are you beaten down by life? Do you think that you can't go on by yourself and want to end it all? Then you have indeed been led by God to us here at the monastery. You are going through what others go through and in that you are not alone. Even when you do not feel God there, he is. Even when you think that it would be better to be in nothingness, God is there speaking love to your soul. You cannot escape God nor should you try. Learn to listen to his soft, small voice in your soul. It is there calling to you. Trust him today. Do not think that you are ever alone. There are those who love you. If you cannot find someone to speak to, seek out an animal to listen to you. Hold them close. Let their simple spirit connect with your wounded spirit and join together in the love only God can create.
I know all this may sound a bit forceful, but I believe there are those of you who will read this in your hour of hurt, not knowing where to turn and God will reach out to you through these words urging you to accept his love. It may be love given unconditionally from a pet or it may be from a human, but it will ultimately be from God.
So dear friend, whoever or where-ever you may be, God loves you. It may sound trite but it is the deepest, more profound truth you will ever know. God loves you. He came to this earth, died a criminal's death, and now reigns in Heaven all because He loves you. He lives still in the hearts of all those who love him. Seek out that love today, right now, and you will never be alone again.