Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in the year 1614 in modern day eastern France, joining the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris at twenty-four years of age as a lay brother. In spite of – or perhaps because of – his lowliness, he was known for profound peace, attracting many to come to him for spiritual guidance. The conversations and letters through which he passed on his wisdom would later become the basis of this book. Practice of the Presence was compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort after his death, and it has since become a spiritual classic among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
God is present to us at all times. Brother Lawrence shows us how we can be aware of this and consciously practice His presence in order that we may know and love Him more. He writes: “We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.”
The wisdom of Brother Lawrence is instructive for our frenzied lives today; perhaps he may be able to teach us to refocus our lives toward what is truly important and lasting.