Practicing the Presence: Wisdom for Busy People
Choosing Stillness, Part 3

December is an unlikely time for an article on stillness. You may wonder if it’s even worth trying to still your soul in the midst of all the extra preparations, festivities, shopping, performances. I’ll confess that once I missed a pre-Advent publishing date for this article, I considered not writing it. Will anyone take the time read it? I wondered.

But hold on a second! Something tells me that the season’s built in busyness makes the quest for stillness all the more essential.

Essential, but is it a realistic? I guess that comes down to how essential we realize it to be. There must be a way to arrive at Christmas Eve with a sense of having lived the season in a spiritual way.

Emmanuel. God With Us. He is with us as we go about fulfilling our commitments. Brother Lawrence was a master at practicing God’s presence while busy in the kitchen, traveling to commitments, preparing for visitors and meeting deadlines.

His advice is helpful for us during the month of December. And it's helpful at any time when we feel the familiar tug of too much to do in too little time. This article, though written for Advent 2009, is applicable in February...or April...or September also.

Wisdom for Busy People from Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence lived by a simple discipline known as practicing the presence of God. It is appropriate for us during any season when we want to walk closely with the Saviour.

I've pulled together a few jewels of wisdom from the Gathered Thoughts section of his book, Practicing the Presence of God.

  1. Lawrence committed his work day to the Lord and asked for the grace to live in God’s presence. His prayer could be one for us as well: Accept the labour of my hands and dwell within my heart with all thy fullness.

  2. He prayed as he worked, aiming to carry on a continual conversation with God as he offered up his little acts of service, and as he asked for God’s grace.

  3. When he finished his work he reflected upon how he’d performed his duty. If well, he gave God thanks; if poorly, he sought God’s pardon.

  4. When he wandered from God’s presence he simply returned to where we wanted to be. Lawrence knew the beauty of grace and was free from the burden of guilt.

  5. Lawrence advises beginners to offer simple prayers inspired by love such as Lord, I am all Yours; God of love, I love You with all my heart; or Lord use me as You desire.

Part 2
Fully Present
to Jesus
Part 4
Stilling the soulesa of Avila's wisdom
Return to
Faith formation page


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