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The Practice of the Presence of God and The Spiritual Maxims - Brother Lawrence


by Brother Lawrence

"Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God." — Brother Lawrence

This simply written little book about prayer and Christian life conveys a humble man's thoughts on the importance of experiencing God's love. A seventeenth-century French Carmelite, Brother Lawrence spent much of his time in the kitchen of a Paris monastery. Of this experience, he said: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen … I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

A collection of Lawrence's messages given to those who lived around him, this book contains The Practice of the Presence of God and The Spiritual Maxims. Both have much to say to modern man about living a spiritual life in a busy world. More widely read today than ever, these two classics — each an easily accessible primer of practical Christian devotion — comprise a particularly good selection with which to begin spiritual studies. It may seem odd that one of the classics of Christian literature should be written by a man who spent most of his life in the kitchen. Yet it was the very ordinariness of his vocation that Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) felt allowed him, and everyone else, to draw closer to the love and presence of God. Born Nicolas Herman, Brother Lawrence had seen much of life as a soldier in the Thirty Years' war, but it was only as a monk in a Carmelite monastery in Paris that he claimed to find true tranquillity. The Practice of the Presence of God and Spiritual Maxims are the results of his wisdom; through recorded conversations with his friends and short reflections on the Christian life Brother Lawrence encourages us that spiritual experiences do not have to be found in church and that God is often waiting to meet us in our everyday lives.


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