Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: In The Kitchen - deadline 7-19-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/12/12)
TITLE: Abiding in the Tabernacle
By Shanta Richard
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We children brought our quarrels and complaints to Mom as she presided over the kitchen table. Judgments were pronounced and punishments given. Scraped knees and elbows were treated and pain kissed away. Mom taught us to sing hymns and learn scripture by heart. She prayed with us as we held hands and bowed our heads and problems disappeared. She made praying so effortless as if God was right in our midst, a personal caring Father.
Years later I came across Brother Lawrence’s book, “Practicing the Presence of God.” The more I enjoyed the book the more I wanted to know about the life of the author Brother Lawrence.
I found out that Brother Lawrence was a seventeenth century French monk. He was born of lowly and uneducated parents. His first job was as a footman and soldier. At the age of eighteen he was converted and from that time he grew in love and favor of God. His passion to consecrate his life to God and serve wholeheartedly, led him to the monastery of the bare-foot Carmelites at Paris, in the year 1666.There he worked as a humble kitchen help serving his brothers and monks. He sang God’s praises as he performed the menial tasks. He was just as happy serving in the kitchen as he would have been in vigils of prayer, fasting and penance along with the monks.
In his book he wrote, “The times of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer and in the noise of the clatter of my kitchen I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” (Practicing the Presence of God.)
Brother Lawrence did not like the work in the kitchen. But he prayed to God to give him grace to perform his duties to the satisfaction of his masters and with a cheerful smile. Whenever the task was too difficult, and beyond his ability, he presented it to God, and prayed for His strength and wisdom. Although it was not easy at first he slowly developed the habit of continually conversing with God. In this endeavor he found that God’s love inwardly encouraged him and he learned to practice the presence of God in every part of his life.
Brother Lawrence believed that whatever the circumstance, wherever the place, however despicable humiliating the task, if it was God’s plan and His will, then He would always be there. He would be there to listen to whispered words, to wipe away bitter tears, mend the broken hearts, and strengthen the weak knees. His consoling and comforting presence would bless His beloved child with His love, His peace and his joy. Any place where His presence is abiding is a Tabernacle, a meeting place between God and man.
I love cooking but I hate cleaning up afterwards. But Brother Lawrence’s prayer changed me. For he prayed,
“Lord of the pots and pans and things,
Make me a saint by getting meals and washing plates.”
It is amazing that God could use even a kitchen as a training ground for His saints.
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