The Word Among Us

May 2005 Issue

Cook, Cobbler, Mystic

The Secret of Brother Lawrences Joy

By: Patricia Mitchell

As the Carmelite monks chanted psalms in their church across the courtyard, the head cook labored in the monastery kitchen. There, against the background hiss of boiling water and the steady beat of his knife against the chopping block, stood a middle-aged man—a lay brother whose duties prevented him from joining the others in prayer. Some people might have resented being left with stacks of dishes while other monks were praying, but not this fellow. As he saw it, everyday duties were no hindrance to what he identified as "the holiest, most ordinary, and most necessary practice of the spiritual life."

His name was Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. And even amid the stresses and distractions involved in preparing a meal for a hundred...

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