Reading Brother Lawrence exposes another strange side of novelist Ken Kuhlken, as a solo road trip up the west coast sends him back to the early years that charted his destiny, and then launches him forward into a spiritual revival.
Brother Lawrence (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) was born Nicolas Herman in the Lorraine region of France. After serving with the military during the Thirty Years War he entered a Carmelite monastery in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, Lawrence of the Resurrection. He spent most his life within the monastery, working in the kitchen and repairing sandals.
Despite his lowly position, his character attracted many. He earned a reputation for experiencing profound peace, Visitors came seeking spiritual guidance. The wisdom he passed on, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God, compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort.
Brother Lawrence wrote, “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?”
The Practice of the Presence of God is a classic of Christian literature, loved by Catholics and Protestants, praised by the likes of John Wesley and A.W. Tozer.
During a troubled time, novelist Ken Kuhlken discovered the book helped him find some peace and promised even more if he could fully understand. Reading Brother Lawrence chronicles his search for understanding.