A gentle man of joyful spirit, Brother Lawrence shunned attention and the limelight, knowing that outside distraction “spoils all”. It was not until after his death that a few of his letters were collected. Joseph de Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, first published the letters in a small pamphlet. The following year, in a second publication which he titled, ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’, de Beaufort included, as introductory material, the content of four conversations he had with Brother Lawrence. At the end of this first conversation Brother Lawrence said that, if my purpose for the visit was to sincerely discuss how to serve God, I might come to him as often as I pleased; and without any fear of being troublesome. If this was not the case, then I ought visit him no more.
Brother Lawrence was a man of focus. As a lowly brother he was visited by an archbishop’s counsel. He greeted him respectfully but as to further visits, he was interested only in sincere discussion on how to serve God. Just think the impact on our lives if we limited our activities to those which dealt with how to serve God. No watching silly television programs or movies, following sports, or Fox news; just focusing on how to serve God. We would not care about the standing of our acquaintances only what they could teach us about serving God.
Lawrence left the world and joined a monastery where, he believed, he would have the best opportunity and instruction on how to serve God. We would probably consider such focus to be “radical” or “extreme.” But doesn’t it simply reflect what is really important?
Think about your day, the last 24 hours. How much of what you did improved your service? How much was a waste? Maybe Brother Lawrence had the right idea or at least a better idea?
Focus and learn to serve.