10 December 2007

Practicing the Presence of God - pt 5

He said that as far as the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them, that, on the contrary, he was surprised there were not more considering the malice sinners were capable of. For his part, he prayed for them. But knowing that God could remedy the mischief they did when He pleased, he gave himself no further trouble.

I find myself partly agreeing with Brother Lawrence, and partly disagreeing vehemently. There's almost a sense of 'leave the world to its own problems' in this quote that I find distasteful. But then, it pays to remember that he was a monk in a sheltered environment, who felt that he was called to a life out of the world.

If that's true - what can we in the world get from this bit of his teachings? It seems to me that he understood two things:
  • Sometimes all you can do is pray for people
  • We can't fix all the world's problems ourselves - our best chance of maximising our effectiveness is to faithfully follow God's leading all our lives.
That's the best we can do, I think, to help people. Pray for ourselves, pray for them, and follow God's path for us - trusting that he'll equip us to deal with whatever he wants us to do, and that he'll get someone else to do what we can't or shouldn't.


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