MARY, OUR MOTHER

Saturday, October 06, 2007

FIRST LETTER


  How  the habitual sense of God's Presence was found.

SINCE you desire so earnestly that I should communicate to you the method by
which I arrived at that habitual sense of GOD's Presence, which our LORD, of
His mercy, has been pleased to vouchsafe to me; I must tell you, that it is
with great difficulty that I am prevailed on by your importunities; and now
I do it only upon the terms, that you show my letter to nobody. If I knew
that you would let it be seen, all the desire that I have for your
advancement would not be able to determine me to it. The account I can give
you is:

Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers
practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle
me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become
wholly GOD's.

This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given
myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I
renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to
live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Sometimes I considered
myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge; at other
times I beheld Him in my heart as my FATHER, as my GOD: I worshipped Him the
oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling
it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this
exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that
occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered
involuntarily. I made this my business, as much all the day long as at the
appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even
in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was
capable of interrupting my thought of GOD.

Such has been my common practice ever since I entered into religion; and
though I have done it very imperfectly, yet I have found great advantages by
it. These, I well know, are to be imputed to the mere mercy and goodness of
GOD, because we can do nothing without Him; and I still less than any. But
when we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy Presence, and set Him
always before us, this not only hinders our offending Him, and doing
anything that may displease Him, at least wilfully, but it also begets in us
a holy freedom, and if I may so speak, a familiarity with GOD, wherewith we
ask, and that successfully, the graces we stand in need of. In fine, by
often repeating these acts, they become habitual, and the presence of GOD is
rendered as it were natural to us. Give Him thanks, if you please, with me,
for His great goodness towards me, which I can never sufficiently admire,
for the many favours He has done to so miserable a sinner as I am. May all
things praise Him. Amen.
    
   The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Life
Creator(s): Lawrence, Brother (Nicholas Herman, c. 1605-1691)