"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect--Third Conversation with Brother Lawrence

      If the Carmelite lay brother were alive today he might say, "Practicing the presence of God is no big deal ... it is the only deal." When Brother Lawrence occasionally realized he had strayed from God's company he didn't disquiet himself, but confessed his wretchedness to God and returned to Him in even greater trust.
      Trusting God honors Him more than all our flowery words of praise. He rewards the faithful soul with such great graces as only His infinite faithfulness and mercy can bestow. The grace he experienced from trusting God became such a part of his daily outlook that Brother Lawrence never worried beforehand how he should perform some duty. He simply knew from experience that God would reveal what was needed, and when that happened it blessed him so he could hardly contain his gratitude. He was more united with God in his mundane employments than when he left them for private devotion.
      Brother Lawrence believed the worst that could happen to him was to lose his sense of communion with God, and no matter how bad circumstances got, he knew God would never allow that to happen. How could he fear death when it was the door to perfect, eternal union with God?
      He saw primary spiritual value in practicing self-denial until God's unspeakable joy inevitably takes over to perpetuate the discipline. And when problems should assault us? Simply take them to Jesus.
      Many get bogged down in the Christian life because guilt for their sins distracts them from appreciating God's love. One can discern from the lack of "solid virtue" in their works when that is the issue. He said, "There needed neither art nor science for going to God, but only a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him and to love Him only."

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