This is the 4th “first-Tuesday-of-the-month” post in the series on The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Life by Brother Lawrence (1605-1691). This little book profoundly impressed me with its simplicity and encouragement.
Notice: I’m not a philosopher or a theologian; the following are my simple understandings of Brother Lawrence’s writings. I welcome your insights and comments.
The substance of religion is faith, hope and love, the practice of which unites us to God’s will. Prayer is simply sensing God’s presence.
We must realize our utter worthlessness, accept that trouble is common to man, and become dependent completely on God alone.
The best way to draw near to God is by doing our daily tasks, whether large or small, to please Him (not others).
We should not be discouraged by our sins because:
– our confidence is in God’s grace
– our confidence is in God’s merits (not our own)
– our confidence is in God’s faithfulness
I strive to prove my faith by my works instead of separating faith and works. Paul says that’s organic religion.
In this fourth conversation, Brother Lawrence condenses religion to three simple concepts: faith, hope and love (charity). He suggests that it makes no difference what task or vocation or occupation we apply ourselves to, but that we do it for Christ.
Surely this should remove competition between Christians. But does it? We take pride in our works, when they mean nothing to God. We try to appear godly, when God is looking not on the outward person but on the heart.
Life would be much simpler if each of us were to commit ourselves to following God in our “corner of the world” instead of trying to do more, or better, or more noticeable things for Him.
“All things are possible to him who believes,
they are less difficult to him who hopes,
they are more easy to him who loves,
and still more easy to him who perseveres
in the practice of these three virtues [faith, hope and love].”