Brother Lawrence determined in a Carmelite monastery in Paris in the 1600s to “establish. . . a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him. . . ” He called these conversations “little internal adorations. . . praising, adoring, and loving Him incessantly. . .”
He wrote, “I took a resolution to give myself up to God, as the best return I could make for His love. . . to be always with God, and to do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing which may displease Him, and this without any other view than purely for the love of Him, and because He deserves infinitely more.”
“I made this my business as much all the day long as at the appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of God.
“Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge; at other times I beheld Him in my heart as my Father, as my God. I worshipped him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him.
“In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually. . . we must first apply to Him with some diligence; but. . . after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.
“We need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done.
“It is, however, necessary to put our whole trust in God, laying aside all other cares, and even some particular forms of devotion, though very good in themselves. . . because these devotions are only means to attain to the end. . .
“[T]hough I have done it very imperfectly. . . when we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this. . . begets in us a holy freedom and, if I may so speak, a familiarity with God, wherewith we ask, and that successfully, the graces we stand in need of. In fine, by often repeating these acts, they become habitual and the presence of God rendered as it were natural to us.
“I confess to Him all my wickedness, I ask His forgiveness, I abandon myself in His hands that He may do what He pleases with me. The King, full of mercy and goodness, very far from chastising me, embraces me with love, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the key of His treasures; He converses and delights Himself with me incessantly, and treats me in all respects as His favorite. . .
“I find myself often attached [to God] with greater sweetness and delight than that of an infant at the mother’s breast; . . . I should choose to call this state the bosom of God, for the inexpressable sweetness which I taste and experience there.”
Selections from The Practice of the Presence of God