Dear Reverend Father,
Since I am not able to find my way of life described in books—although this does not really disturb me—I would, nonetheless, like to have the reassurance of knowing your thoughts on my present state. […]
I cannot doubt at all that my soul has been with God for more than thirty years. I will omit a number of things so as not to bore you. I think, however, it would be appropriate to indicate the manner in which I see myself before God, whom I consider as my King.
“This King, full of goodness and mercy, lovingly embraces me, seats me at his table, waits on me himself.” #BrotherLawrence #ChristTheKingTweet
I consider myself as the most miserable of all human beings, covered with sores, foul, and guilty of all sorts of crimes committed against my King; moved by sincere remorse I confess all my sins to him. I ask him pardon and abandon myself into his hands so he can do with me as he pleases.
Far from chastising me, this King, full of goodness and mercy, lovingly embraces me, seats me at his table, waits on me himself, gives me the keys to his treasures, and treats me in all things as his favorite; he converses with me and takes delight in me in countless ways, without ever speaking of forgiveness or taking away my previous faults.
Although I beg him to fashion me according to his heart, I see myself still weaker and miserable, yet ever more caressed by God. This is what I see from time to time while in his holy presence.
My most typical approach is this simple attentiveness and general loving awareness of God, from which I derive greater sweetness and satisfaction than an infant receives from his mother’s breast. Therefore, if I may dare use the expression, I would gladly call this state the “breasts of God,” because of the indescribable sweetness I taste and experience there [Cf. Songs 8:1, The Spiritual Canticle, 27:3–5].
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Letter 2 to a spiritual director, 1682–1683, (excerpts)
Lawrence of the Resurrection, B; De Meester, C 1994, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Salvatore Sciurba, OCD, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: This is a detailed image of Hermann Kern’s captivating oil on canvas painting, The Friar in the Kitchen. Hermann Kern was an Austrian artist (1838–1912) who had a unique talent for portraying older men and capturing their joyful, wise, and serene spirits. The Friar in the Kitchen is part of the Fondazione Cariplo collections. Image credit: Fondazione Cariplo / Wikimedia Commons (Some rights reserved)