Love the motive of all.
Once in fear, now in joy.
Diligence and love. Simplicity the key to Divine assistance.
Business abroad as at home.
Times of prayer and self-mortification not essential for
All scruples brought to God.
Brother Lawrence told me he had always been governed by love
without selfish views. Since he resolved to make the love of God
the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well
satisfied with his method. He was pleased when he could take up a
straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and
nothing else, not even His gifts.
He said he had been long troubled in mind from a certain belief
that he should be damned. All the men in the world could not have
persuaded him to the contrary. This trouble of mind had lasted
four years during which time he had suffered much.
Finally he reasoned: I did not engage in a religious life but for
the love of God. I have endeavored to act only for Him. Whatever
becomes of me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue
to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least
that till death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him.
From that time on Brother Lawrence lived his life in perfect
liberty and continual joy. He placed his sins between himself and
God to tell Him that he did not deserve His favors yet God still
continued to bestow them in abundance.
Brother Lawrence said that in order to form a habit of conversing
with God continually and referring all we do to Him, we must at
first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care,
we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any
He expected after the pleasant days God had given him, he would
have his turn of pain and suffering. Yet he was not uneasy about
it. Knowing that, since he could do nothing of himself, God would
not fail to give him the strength to bear them.
When an occasion of practicing some virtue was offered, he
addressed himself to God saying, "Lord, I cannot do this unless
Thou enablest me". And then he received strength more than
sufficient. When he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his
fault saying to God, "I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me
to myself. It is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is
amiss." Then, after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness
Brother Lawrence said we ought to act with God in the greatest
simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His
assistance in our affairs just as they happen. God never failed to
grant it, as Brother Lawrence had often experienced.
He said he had been lately sent into Burgundy to buy the provision
of wine for the community. This was a very unwelcome task for him
because he had no turn for business and because he was lame and
could not go about the boat but by rolling himself over the casks.
Yet he gave himself no uneasiness about it, nor about the purchase
of the wine. He said to God, it was His business he was about, and
that he afterwards found it very well performed. He mentioned that
it had turned out the same way the year before when he was sent to
So, likewise, in his business in the kitchen (to which he had
naturally a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do
everything there for the love of God and asking for His grace to
do his work well, he had found everything easy during the fifteen
years that he had been employed there. He was very well pleased
with the post he was now in. Yet he was as ready to quit that as
the former, since he tried to please God by doing little things
for the love of Him in any work he did. With him the set times of
prayer were not different from other times. He retired to pray
according to the directions of his superior, but he did not need
such retirement nor ask for it because his greatest business did
not divert him from God.
Since he knew his obligation to love God in all things, and as he
endeavored to do so, he had no need of a director to advise him,
but he greatly needed a confessor to absolve him. He said he was
very sensible of his faults but not discouraged by them. He
confessed them to God and made no excuses. Then, he peaceably
resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.
In his trouble of mind, Brother Lawrence had consulted no one.
Knowing only by the light of faith that God was present, he
contented himself with directing all his actions to Him. He did
everything with a desire to please Him and let what would come of
He said that useless thoughts spoil all - that the mischief began
there. We ought to reject them as soon as we perceived their
impertinence and return to our communion with God. In the
beginning he had often passed his time appointed for prayer in
rejecting wandering thoughts and falling right back into them. He
could never regulate his devotion by certain methods as some do.
Nevertheless, at first he had meditated for some time, but
afterwards that went off in a manner that he could give no account
of. Brother Lawrence emphasized that all bodily mortifications and
other exercises are useless unless they serve to arrive at the
union with God by love. He had well considered this. He found that
the shortest way to go straight to God was by a continual exercise
of love and doing all things for His sake.
He noted that there was a great difference between the acts of the
intellect and those of the will. Acts of the intellect were
comparatively of little value. Acts of the will were all
important. Our only business was to love and delight ourselves in
God. All possible kinds of mortification, if they were void of the
love of God, could not efface a single sin. Instead, we ought,
without anxiety, to expect the pardon of our sins from the blood
of Jesus Christ only endeavoring to love Him with all our hearts.
And he noted that God seemed to have granted the greatest favors
to the greatest sinners as more signal monuments of His mercy.
Brother Lawrence said the greatest pains or pleasures of this
world were not to be compared with what he had experienced of both
kinds in a spiritual state. As a result he feared nothing,
desiring only one thing of God - that he might not offend Him. He
said he carried no guilt. "When I fail in my duty, I readily
acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so. I shall never do
otherwise if I am left to myself. If I fail not, then I give God
thanks acknowledging that it comes from Him."