Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Practice of God's Presence: 10th letter

Tenth Letter: I have had a good deal of difficulty bringing myself to write to M_. I do it now purely because you desire me to do so. Please address it and send it to him. It is pleasing to see all the faith you have in God. May He increase it in you more and more. We cannot have too much trust in so good and faithful a Friend who will never fail us in this world nor in the next.

If M_ takes advantage of the loss he has had and puts all his confidence in God, He will soon give him another friend more powerful and more inclined to serve him. He disposes of hearts as He pleases. Perhaps M_ was too attached to him he has lost. We ought to love our friends, but without encroaching upon the love of God, which must always be first.

Please keep my recommendation in mind that you think of God often; by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you. Leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you. Why, then, must God be neglected? Do not forget Him but think of Him often. Adore Him continually. Live and die with Him. This is the glorious work of a Christian; in a word, this is our profession. If we do not know it, we must learn it.

I will endeavor to help you with my prayers, and am yours in our Lord.


While I have no idea what it is that Br. Lawrence finds it so hard to write to M, what strikes me is that he does not dwell on the difficulty, on the negative and go on and on about what a trial writing to M is to him. Instead he focuses on that which he can affirm: the faith of the recipient of this 10th letter.

When there is a difficulty in your path, when someone says or writes something that is problematic for you or "wrong" in some way, what is your reaction? Is it to "correct", complain , whatever? Or do you do as Br. Lawrence does and look for what you can affirm with a glad heart? If yours has been the former, what would it involve to move to the latter?

The second paragraph gives us just a hint of M's trouble: loss of a friend. Loss of a loved one is a hard thing indeed, let's not minimize it. But again, it is not Br Lawrence's way to focus on the negative, on the loss, but to encourage his correspondent to encourage M to love God first, to think of God often. When you suffer a loss, any sort of loss, what is your reaction? Is it to blame or to love God? How would you teach yourself to love Him instead of blame Him?

In the third paragraph, I feel as if the good monk is so caught up in the presence of God, that this is the paramount relationship. No relationship is to be more important than the one with God.

What relationship(s) in your life are more important than your relationship with God? What draws you away from time with God? Is time with God worth giving up some other activity for? What do you have to change in your life so you have time to spend with God? Are you willing to make the changes?


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