The Shorter Way to God


from The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection;

Quote in Carmelite Spirituality in the Teresian Tradition
Paul-Marie of the Cross O.C.D.

We look for methods. . . to learn how to love God. We want to get there by I don't know how many practices. A multitude of methods makes it more difficult for us to remain in God's presence. Isn't it much shorter and more direct to do everything for love of God, to use all the works of our state in life to manifest our love to him, and to foster the awareness of his presence in us by this exchange of our heart with him? Finesse is not necessary. We need only approach him directly and straightforwardly.

It's been my experience that when the means of approaching God are multiplied, my attention to God is divided. The means become the ends; methods become the focus of attention. Brother Lawrence here suggest a "shorter, more direct" way of approaching God, a simpler way. But, as with St. Thérèse's little way, simpler is not easier. The Carmelite way of things is very, very simple, just as most Carmelites are fairly simple; however, the Carmelite way, properly lived, I'm coming to discover, is not at all easy. Nevertheless, in this, as in all that pertains to God, if our hearts are simple and our desires quieted until only one voice remains, it is possible. And these things are possible through Grace alone. We cooperate and prepare ourselves to receive the grace (although even this is not done without Grace) and it is Grace alone which accomplishes all that need be done. We must simply focus on the End rather than all the means, and we must love the End more than any of the intermediary means. Simple, but not easy--apparently a hallmark of the Carmelite way.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on March 8, 2006 8:54 AM.

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