In the preface to Brother Lawrence’s “Spiritual Maxims” we are told “He committed his thoughts sometimes to writing, but comparing what he had written with that which he had just experienced in his soul, he deemed it so inferior and so far removed from the inspired thoughts with which he had been visited, of the greatness and goodness of God that often he felt compelled to tear it up at once.“
Oh I do so relate. Just as Rilke wrote, “Most experiences are unsayable.”
As soon as I attempt to put these whispered communications with God into words, they automatically lose much of there splendor and power. And yet, we have some of Bro Law’s Maxims to this day.
All things are possible to him who believes,
they are less difficult to him who hopes,
they are easier to him who loves,
and still more easy to him who practices and perseveres
in these three virtues.Brother Lawrence
Frank Laubach was most known for his methods of teaching people to read. He also wrote a volume based on Brother Lawrence’s teachings and Frank’s experiment in trying to live according to them. He entitled it Practicing His Presence. Laubach also wrote The Game With Minutes which you can read online at https://levaire.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/The-Game-with-Minutes-Frank-Laubach.pdf
Laubach wrote: “All who have tried that kind of abiding for a month know the power of it—it is like being born again from center to circumference. It absolutely changes every person who does it. And it will change the world that does it.” Christy Nockels wrote recently about the same idea, living center to circumference, in her book The Life You Long For.
Reading Brother Lawrence’s maxims it is no wonder that more of Christianity is not fascinated with his practice and attempting it themselves!
He wrote “Of the Presence of God” I have a friend who these forty years past has been practicing through the understanding a realization of the Presence of God. To it he gives many other names; sometimes he calls it a simple act, or a clear and distinct knowledge of God; at other times, a view as through a glass, a loving gaze, an inward sense of God; yet again he terms it a waiting on God, a silent converse with Him, a repose in Him, the life and peace of the soul. Still, my friend tells me that all these ways, in which he has expressed his sense of the Presence of God, come to the same thing; and that the Presence fills his soul quite naturally, that it has come to pass in this way.
I send you his words because this experience is so difficult to put into words. An act, knowledge, gaze, view, inward sense, waiting, silent converse, repose, life and peace… and still words fall so far short of this mystery; Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Max Lucado says that Paul refers to the indwelling Christ 216 times.
I believe Brother Lawrence was teaching how to go inward and experience Christ daily, constantly. Yes, that takes discipline and practice. So did learning to walk, and drive a car. Give it a try, and then try again and again. God is just waiting for your sincere desire to be with Him. Let Christ in you live loud and large.
One thought on “Oh Brother Lawrence, I relate!”
What a wonderful way to start my day–so many deep issues to ponder. I particularly like your final sentence, Molly–“Let Christ in you live loud and large.” Wow!