An illustrious monk’s unstoppable method of finding God

When we love someone or something, on feels the irresistible desire to ptalk.Ten years ago, on the advice of his spiritual father, Denis Sureau discovered the spirituality of Laurent of the Resurrection, a humble lay brother of the Discalced Carmelites who lived in the 17e century (1614-1691) and who developed an ultra-simple practice to experience the presence of God. His spiritual life was turned upside down. Like André Frossard who could not keep the joy of discovering the existence of God for himself alone, Denis Sureau shares his discovery today in a deep and accessible book. ” Lawrence of the Resurrectionhe writes, has experienced an ascent pathvision towards God whose apparent simplicity risks marking the radical verticality, because these are the paths towards the heights of the great Present that he invites us to take, gently but surely. “If you know God exists but you haven’t (really) met Him,” follow in the footsteps of Brother Laurent invites Denis Sureau, it is a good guide. His practice is practical. It adapts to all characters, all conditions, all situations. Elthe does not require a doctorate of teaohlogy […]. It unifies life, breaking down any wall between the spiritual and the temporal, the religious andt the layman».Here are seven tips we picked up.

1. Knowing that God is there, present in us

It is not necessary to be always in church to be with God, we can make our heart an oratory in which we withdraw from time to time to talk to Him there gently, humbly and lovingly.writes Brother Laurent. We find here this famous intuition of Saint Augustine:I have a lotoops worked at looking for you au outside when you were at most profwave of me. God dwells in us, we must go in search of him. No need to travel miles. This is what Denis Sureau nicely calls “ a pilgrimage to the heart of the soul » .

2. Desire to truly find Him

To Father Joseph de Beaufort, whose spiritual direction he ensured and who would later become his biographer, Laurent de la Résurrection explains that “ God gives lighte to those who have the true purpose to be His “. He himself once made an act of will to truly achieve this and specified that “ he … not it takes neither finesse nor science to go to God, but only a heart resolved to apply oneself only to Him or for Him and to love than him» .Does the bar already seem a little too high? Brother Laurent reassures you: “Everyone is capable of these familiar talks with God, some more, others less. He knows what we can; let’s begin, perhaps He only expects a generous resolution from us.»

3. Address Him constantly

This is what Brother Laurent calls the “continual conversation“. It does not have any particular rule. Laurent perfected it because the methods of initiation into the spiritual life taught in his convent during his novitiate, which were too complicated, did not suit him. The practice of the presence of God what is the whole spiritual life» guest toaccustom ourselves to a continual conversation with Him without mystery or subtlety“, he explains. We can, through small phrases, praise Him, ask Him for His help, His grace, offer Him our sorrows, thank Him for the graces He has granted us. “A little elevation of the heart is enough, a little remembrance of God, an interior adoration… However short they may be, these prayers are very pleasant to God», says the Carmelite. We can talk to Him anytime,especially in times of temptations, sorrows, aridities, disgusts and even infidelities and sins“.

Brother Laurent in the text

After having written his work on the spiritual method of Laurent of the Resurrection, Denis Sureau wanted, in another work, to present the most beautiful texts. In the first part are reproduced the letters written by Laurent himself to women for whom he provided spiritual direction. The second part, thicker, contains the writings of Father Joseph de Beaufort who rubbed shoulders with him for twenty-five years as part of a spiritual accompaniment and later became his biographer. The brilliant analysis he makes of the spirituality of the modest lay brother is a precious help for those who want to adopt him.

4. Act where God has placed us

Concretely, this conversation can take place at any time of the day: before, during, after a particular action, whether material, intellectual or spiritual. This action need not be grandiose or revolutionary. Brother Laurent, who for fifteen years was the cook of his convent, reassures us: “You don’t have to have big things to do, I flip my little omelet in the frying pan for the love ofand God.» Father François de Sainte-Marie (1910-1961), of the order of Discalced Carmelites, described Brother Laurent as «mystique of state duty“. Saint Teresa of Avila did not recommend anything very different:“Doing the ordinary things of extraor waydinner.»

5. Leaving aside our science

Laurent of the Resurrection was not a great intellectual, although he knew how to read and write. In his convent, he was a lay brother, which means that he was not required to participate in all the services of his community and that his life was more oriented towards material tasks. He favored knowing God by faith. Laurent did not disdain intellectual research and theological speculations which are useful and even indispensable, notes Denis Sureau, but he felt that books and sermons do not replace the personal quest for this God more intimate than ourselves. “We seek in reasoning and in the sciences, as in a bad copy what we bornlet’s forget to see dans an excellent goldoriginal,he said.God Himself is painted in the depths of our soul, and we do not want to see Him there: we leave Him for jokes and disdain to converse with our King.»

6. Restore our devotions to their rightful place

Not that we should abandon the recitation of the rosary, the novenas or the usual prayers. Brother Laurent invites us to connect them well towards their primary goal: to draw closer to the Father. Otherwise, comments Denis Sureau, they canto give the illusion of a false piety, to procure an amiable self-satisfaction, which is only the odious simulacrum of holiness».To a nun for whom he provided spiritual direction, he advised them to get rid of “a number of particular devotions, although very good, but which are often inappropriately taken care of, since after all one’s devotions are only means to arrive at the end. So when by this exercise of the presence of God we are with Him who is our end, it is useless for us to return to the means.“.

7. Don’t get discouraged in the drought

Laurent acknowledges thatthe beginning is difficult», that «we believe that it is a waste of time, but we must continue to resolve to persevere until death and despite all the difficulties».He himself experienced for ten years the night of the senses, followed by the night of the spirit, during which he will, despite everything, keep confidence in God to whom he abandons himself completely. “I suffered a lot, the apprehension that I had not to belong to God as I would have wishedé, my past sins always present in my eyes, and the great graces that God gave me were the matter and the source of all my evils, during all this time I often fell and I got up immediately, it seemed to me that the creatures, reason and even God were against me, andthat faith alone was for me.But he assures that the efforts are rewarded withwonderful effects», a deep inner peace of the soul,as if it were in its center and in its resting place».

Who was Lawrence of the Resurrection?

Nicolas Herman was born in 1614, in Hériménil in Lorraine. At the age of 18, he acquired the certainty that God exists by observing the growth of the leaves, the flowers, then the fruits of a tree. Shortly after, he enlisted as a soldier in the troops of the Duke of Lorraine then at war against the French. Seriously wounded, he left the military career at the age of 21 and tried his hand at hermit life. Dissatisfied, he became a lackey in Paris, then at the age of 26 entered as a lay brother in the convent of Discalced Carmelites on rue de Vaugirard. He took the name of Brother Laurent of the Resurrection and worked there as a cook, before becoming a cobbler. Obsessed with his past sins, he painfully lived through his first religious years.

His decision to abandon himself completely into the hands of God gave a boost to his spiritual life, which he decided to lead in his own way: to live every moment of his day by conversing with the Father. His spiritual radiance attracted many visits to him, including Abbé Joseph de Beaufort, vicar general of Cardinal de Noailles, who was to become his biographer, as well as Fénelon. He died in 1691.

Wrongly associated with quietism, he will be forgotten in France, while abroad, especially in the United States, his spirituality of the presence of God seduces many Christians. We find certain themes in Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity, although they probably never read it.

An illustrious monk’s unstoppable method of finding God