Love sweetens pains; and when one loves God, one suffers for His sake with joy

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I have on my shelves a little paperback translation of The Practice of the Presence of God, a book of anonymously reported conversations with Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1611-1691) first published in French in the 1690s; this translation, also anonymous, was published in 1895 by the Fleming H. Revell Company in New York and London. It includes fifteen letters from Lawrence’s hand, the last one written just a few days before his death.

I just learned from a distressed friend that another friend has just been diagnosed with a disease for which there is no known cure, and in my desire to offer comfort and my sense of helpless inability to comfort, I remembered these last letters of Brother Lawrence’s, to an ailing person or persons.

I can’t share these letters without expressing my thanks to my stepmother, who first gave me a copy of this book for my birthday thirty-nine years ago, when I was turning twenty-six. She is now near the end of her earthly life, soon to turn eighty, and no longer able to read this note of gratitude; but God will find a way to let her know.

I’ll be posting these letters of Lawrence’s as “pages” rather than posts. If they provide consolation to just one other person they’ll have proved their worth.

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