Presence Project Week 2
“We cannot attain the presence of God because we are already totally in the presence of God. What is absent is awareness.” — RICHARD ROHR
Brother Lawrence’s great insight was that he found a way to be in constant prayer and be in the world at the same time. Rather than his prayer life drawing him into seclusion in the cloister it empowered him to love those with whom he shared the journey. Teresa of Avila (the founder of the Discalced Carmelites which was Lawrence’s order) was clear that what counts is love of God, but she was adamant that the only genuine sign that one loves God is love of neighbour.”
We usually assume that neighbour means strangers, showing compassion to the world, but the plain meaning of loving your neighbour is living in right relationship with “others” including the others who you know and love intimately. In other words, your neighbour can be the person sharing your house, or your bed for that matter.
One of the common knocks against spiritualities that give emphasis to the interior life is that they are seen as self-indulgent and celebrate the loving of God to the exclusion of loving one’s neighbour. Brother Lawrence had limited contact with the world. His neighbour love consisted of how he treated his brothers in the monastery, how he joyfully engaged in the menial tasks assigned him for the good of the community, and how he poured his heart into correspondence with others seeking his wisdom regarding practicing God’s presence.
Here are some techniques for savouring on-the-go:
When you notice something that feels sacred, when you have one of those momentary glimpses through a window, when you sense the Presence… close your eyes and take one deep long breath in and out:
say or think a word such as “grateful” while you’re doing that breath
make that breath the Yahweh breath prayer (breathe in through your mouth silently saying the syllable “yah”, then breathe out through your mouth silently forming the syllable “vay”