Monday, June 20, 2016

God's Will

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, the 17th-century lay monk, who wrote the devotional classic The Practice of the Presence of God worked in the monastery's kitchen. He decided to try to pay attention to God's presence even while going about his culinary duties. He reported that working in the kitchen like a common scullery maid was not much different than when he was alone in his cell meditating. He wrote. "That time of business [in the kitchen]does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I enjoy God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

Not everybody is capable of that, of course; some, and perhaps most, people would find the hustle of the kitchen or the negotiating of a road on a bicycle just too distracting to promote good thinking.

The main message is this: It's good for us to find whatever means works best for us to ponder not only the issues of life but also the things of God, whether it be on our beds like the psalmist, in the kitchen like Brother Lawrence, or in a lonely place like Jesus.

Good thinking is not enough by itself to do the work of God. But neither is mindless activity unguided by spiritual reflection enough by itself either.

But steered by clear thinking and powered by rich faith, we can be very much the people who do God's will.