As St. Paul says: love is patient, it triumphs over all difficulties, and it suffers everything for the sake of the beloved. Therefore we cannot doubt Brother Lawrence’s patience in his infirmities, he who loved God so perfectly. In fact, in keeping with the thought of the same apostle, patience has this fine rapport with love… we will see that he practiced these two virtues during the [three] very painful illnesses with which it pleased God to afflict him.
In the first case, he gave evidence of a desire for death, for when speaking with the physician after his fever went down, he told him, “Ah, Doctor, your remedies have worked too well for me, you only delay my happiness!”
In the second, he seemed to have no preference whatsoever. He remained completely indifferent regarding life and death, perfectly resigned to God’s orders.
I can testify that he gave signs of altogether extraordinary constancy, resignation, and joy during the third illness, the one that separated his soul from his body, uniting it with his Beloved in heaven. He received much consolation from this blessed moment when it finally arrived, because he had longed for it for so long.
The sight of death that frightens and dismays the most hardy did not intimidate him at all. He regarded it with complete confidence, and you could even say he defied it. When he saw the poor bed prepared for him, having overheard one of his friends say, “It’s for you, Brother Lawrence. It’s time to depart,” he replied, “It is true. There is my deathbed, but someone who does not expect it at all will follow me immediately.”
This is exactly what happened, just as he had predicted. Although this friar [Frère Philibert des Anges, a fellow lay brother] was in perfect health, he became ill the next day and died the same day Brother Lawrence was buried, and the following Wednesday he was buried in the same grave. It seems that love united these two fine brothers in life and did not want them separated at death, for there was no other place [for burial] but the common grave.
Father Joseph de Beaufort
Father Beaufort leaves us this simple record of the death of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection: Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.
You can explore our blog posts by and about Brother Lawrence here.
Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.