I sought no more than how to be God’s and God’s alone. My goal made me resolve to give my all for the All…. Always I worshiped Him as often as I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence. When I wandered I brought Him back to my mind…. At all times, every hour, every minute, even at the busiest times. I drove away from my mind everything capable of spoiling the sense of the presence of God…. I just make it my business to persevere in His holy presence… My soul has had an habitual, silent, secret conversation with God. ~ brother Lawrence
I’ll try today to un-muddy yesterday’s waters. Much of my thinking about God involves God as He intersects with the people and the things I think about, rather than God Himself. I pray for people: some are long intense prayers, others are brother Laurence breath prayers. I pray for things: wisdom for decisions, for perspective, for grace.
I pray FOR the people and things that I think about. That’s when I think about God the most. I spend time praising Him, but less time than talking through things with Him and very little time driving away from my mind everything capable of spoiling the sense of the presence of God.
I like to fish. I’m a book and a bobber fisher-person. I never let fishing interfere with my joy of the water or of a good book. If I don’t catch anything, it’s OK. If I do, I Catch and Release.
I think that’s the heart of what brother Lawrence was saying. He tried not to let anything interfere with his joy of the presence of God. When his thoughts caught on something else, he brought it to God and released it. It’s a contemplative life that’s a practice, not a vocation.
I’m not a worrier, but I have a propensity to become preoccupied: good things, bad things, people things, thing things. I get so caught up thinking and even praying, that in the end, there are precious few moments when I simply practice the presence of God, when my heart and adoration are on Him alone. I need to learn to Catch and Release in my living room, not just on the lake.