Brother Lawrence said that “our sanctification depends not on changing our works, but on doing for God what we would normally do for ourselves.” We sometimes get the notion, “If only I were in a different place, in a different relationship, in a different job, in a different setting, then I would be more spiritual, more godlike, more holy, more cheerful, more myself.” These thoughts are all wrongheaded. What usually happens when we make these changes, the faces around us may change,
Brother Lawrence said that “we must ask him for his grace with full confidence, paying no attention to our thoughts, relying on the infinite merits of Our Lord. God, at every opportunity, always bestows his grace.” Once I complied a list of definitions of all the various ways “grace” was understood. Bottom line: I need God’s grace. I need God’s love and mercy and kindness extended to me, which I receive by faith. I needed God’s saving grace: In coming to faith in
Brother Lawrence discusses the simplicity of asking God for what we need. “We need only to recognize him present within us, to speak with him at every moment, and to ask for his help, so that we will know his will in perplexing events, and will be able to carry out those things we clearly see he asks of us, offering them to him before doing them, and thanking him afterward for completing them.” Part of a relationship is learning to
Brother Lawrence poses a simple precept for developing an on-going conversation with God. “What matters is renouncing once and for all everything that we recognize does not lead to God, in order to become accustomed to a continual conversation with him, without mystery or finesse.” I find it helpful to picture the Christian journey as a gate and a path. Walk through the gate with a total surrender to God. Then get to know the path of cultivating God’s presence with
Brother Lawrence said that “we settle for penances and private devotions, leaving aside love, our end. Our works prove this, and that is why we see so little solid virtue. Neither finesse nor learning is required to approach God, only a heart resolved to devote itself exclusively to him, and to love him alone.” How many Christians develop spiritual habits, read Christian books, follow spiritual leaders, attend worship services, and use prayer guides, but they wonder why they’re not progressing spiritually?