Googling "Brother Lawrence" yields over 2,000,000 hits—astonishing for a person with an unremarkable biography and a rather thin writing portfolio, including one short essay called The Spiritual Maxims; 16 letters to several nuns, a spiritual director, and one or two laywomen; and four recorded conversations. Born Nicolas Herman in 1614 in a small village in Lorraine, France, he had a soul-altering experience at 18. That winter, while looking at a leafless tree, he marveled that its barrenness would soon turn green again, flower, and bear fruit. This insight made him intimately aware of God's love from then on. Next, however, he chose military service, fighting and being wounded in the Thirty Years' War. Still unsure about his life's direction, he tried being a hermit, then a valet. At 26, he entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites on the Rue Vaugirard in Paris as a lay brother, took the name of Brother Lawrence, and lived there some 50 years. Plagued by a limp probably resulting from his war wound, he was cook and dishwasher until his physical limitations made that contribution impossible. Then he became the monastery's sandalmaker, a job that allowed him to sit and mend some 200 pairs of sandals worn by the clerics and lay brothers. Brother Lawrence died on February 12, 1691, but his inimitably simple writings still teach us how to walk boldly the path of God's love.

Conversations

If we renounce ourselves, we'll know unspeakable joy. Always turn to Jesus Christ, asking him for his grace that makes everything easy. Neither finesse nor learning is required to approach God, only a heart resolved to devote itself exclusively to him, loving him only.

Ground yourself in God's presence by continually conversing with him. ...

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