How did he arrive at this unique method? In his own words:
"……..We must let go…………multitude of private devotions, very good in themselves…..” ……..”For these devotions are nothing more than the means to arrive the end. If, then, we are with the One who is our End by this practice of the presence of God, it is certainly useless to return to the means”
How successful was he?
Brother Lawrence was probably at the highest level of spiritual perfection. At that stage the person is connected to God all the time. Such persons are very rare. He himself stated, "I know that few people reach this advanced state. It is a grace God bestows only on few chosen souls… "Most people end up at the less advanced stage",.... ‘which greatly resembles the advanced stage…’
In a letter he states "….I eat and drink at the Lord’s Table.” In another letter he writes: "….this King, full of goodness and mercy, lovingly embraces me, seats me at His table, waits on me Himself, gives me the keys to His treasures, and treats me in all things His favorite; He converses with me and takes delight in me in countless ways….This is what I see from time to time while in His holy presence.”
He greatly extolled the virtues of faith, hope and love, all his life, especially faith. He describes faith as " Believing that God is truly in our hearts, that He sees everything that happens and will happen in us and in all other creatures; that He is independent of everything….”….”All our thought, words and actions belong by right to him "( since everything belongs to Him ). " one must entrust oneself in God’s hands. (A "total, universal surrender”)... One must have trust in God as a son/daughter has in his/her parents.
He had sciatic gout, which caused him pain and limping. He suffered from pain, which increased over years, for about twenty-five years. At his deathbed the friars(monks) asked him " if God asked you to suffer these pains for the duration of ten years would you still be content?” "I would be,” he said, ” not only for that number of years but I would willingly consent to endure them until the Day of Judgment….”
On Friday, he told a friar, that he will die on following Monday. And that is when he died.
More of Brother Lawrence in next installment