QoTD: Really? 2024 Doesn’t Have to Be Unbearable?

 

“The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them – through faith or unbelief – that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good.

Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him. We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.”

Brother Lawrence (1614 – 1691) – Practicing the Presence of God

I’m sure I’m the only one, but I’m not looking forward to election season this year.  Already the lies and slander and incompetence seems to be at a tipping point, and yet I’m sure it will get much worse. Just a reminder this that this year we need to give attention the Creator more than the corruptions in His creation.

If you think Brother Lawrence didn’t know anything about troubles like we know in this world gone mad, you should know that Nicolas Herman (his name before he was a monk) signed up as soldier as a teenager to have meals and a place to sleep. This was during the Thirty Years’ War, a quite hellish conflict.

During his service, at the age of 16, he had a powerful spiritual experience that might sound mundane to some. He looked over the battlefield and saw a lifeless tree in the middle of it. But he had the conviction that the tree would in a few months be in full bloom. If God could bring life to a tree, He could bring life to a human heart.

He still had much to face, including a battle injury and capture by the enemy. He survived. He took his vows as a Carmelite Monk at the age of 26. He served for decades in the kitchen, and when he got too old for that job, he was given the job of repairing sandals.

While serving these menial tasks, he became known as a man of great spiritual wisdom. He wasn’t a literate man, but his words were collected by others. After his death, the Abbé Joseph de Beaufort published Lawrence’s teachings in a book titled Practicing the Presence of God.  The book grew in popularity over the decades and centuries, among both Protestants and Catholics. We all need the reminder that God is near, and we can know Him. There will continue to be much nonsense in this world, but we can endure and even thrive if we remember these truths taught by this humble monk.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 8 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Was it Brother Lawrence who was always reciting a prayer for G-d? (Sorry I don’t remember exactly, but thought it was a lovely practice.) Eustace, thanks for telling us the rest of us story; its so inspirational. Timely post!

    • #1
  2. StChristopher Member
    StChristopher
    @JohnBerg

    Wonderful to hear these stories of the saints and others with wisdom.  It helps focus the mind on the big picture of life.  

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Thank you! Practicing the Presence of God has long been one of my favorite sources of inspiration, and of peace. I didn’t know Brother Lawrence’s early life story, though, just that he was a Monk.

    • #3
  4. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    I don’t doubt that we should work to know and love God. However, I still have a tough time with the idea that God permits our trials only for our own good. I think a lot of people fall away from God after suffering, if they live to tell the tale. I don’t think it makes sense to  believe in God only when your own life is going well, since even then you know there are others suffering and millions (billions?) who have suffered terrible trials and from actual evil. I can see how our trials can work toward the good in our lives, but some kinds of evil make this seem impossibly difficult. Along this line of thought, I might do a quote from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

    *****

    This post is a part of the Quote of the Day project at Ricochet. All members are welcome to signup here

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    I don’t doubt that we should work to know and love God. However, I still have a tough time with the idea that God permits our trials only for our own good. I think a lot of people fall away from God after suffering, if they live to tell the tale. I don’t think it makes sense to believe in God only when your own life is going well, since even then you know there are others suffering and millions (billions?) who have suffered terrible trials and from actual evil. I can see how our trials can work toward the good in our lives, but some kinds of evil make this seem impossibly difficult. Along this line of thought, I might do a quote from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

    *****

    This post is a part of the Quote of the Day project at Ricochet. All members are welcome to signup here.

    When things happen that are out of our control, and we wish G-d would intervene, I always try to remind myself of free will. Yes, we’re talking about things that happen to us by others, but we still have a choice of how to respond to those events.

    • #5
  6. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    I don’t doubt that we should work to know and love God. However, I still have a tough time with the idea that God permits our trials only for our own good. I think a lot of people fall away from God after suffering, if they live to tell the tale. I don’t think it makes sense to believe in God only when your own life is going well, since even then you know there are others suffering and millions (billions?) who have suffered terrible trials and from actual evil. I can see how our trials can work toward the good in our lives, but some kinds of evil make this seem impossibly difficult. Along this line of thought, I might do a quote from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

    *****

    This post is a part of the Quote of the Day project at Ricochet. All members are welcome to signup here.

    When things happen that are out of our control, and we wish G-d would intervene, I always try to remind myself of free will. Yes, we’re talking about things that happen to us by others, but we still have a choice of how to respond to those events.

    Yes, but I try to think how I would respond to my family being murdered by Hamas. Or how any of us should respond to those atrocities. ”The Grand Inquisitor” in Karamazov references eerily similar horrors. I know you know the difficulty I am talking about.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    I know you know the difficulty I am talking about.

    I do, Lilly, and I would probably be devastated beyond measure.

    • #7
  8. Comfortably Superannuated Inactive
    Comfortably Superannuated
    @OldDanRhody

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    I don’t doubt that we should work to know and love God. However, I still have a tough time with the idea that God permits our trials only for our own good.

    Because it isn’t always about you [me].  Example: The man born blind, lived his entire life blind until Jesus healed him, so that “the works of God should be revealed in him” [John Ch. 9].  Example: Lazarus, who sickened and died, and of whom Jesus said, “This sickness in not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” [John Ch 11].  And, lest I leave the impression that this is a New Testament teaching, consider the case of Hosea, who was commanded to “take… a wife of harlotry,” so that his life would be a living demonstration of God’s faithful love.  Likewise the sufferings endured by other prophets.  Ezekiel, for instance.  And especially Job.

    • #8
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.