Nicholas awoke to the ringing from the bell tower, signaling the call to Morning Prayer. He immediately – though slowly and with purpose – went to his knees. The springs on his cot made a creaking sound as his elbows rested on the thin mattress.
The conversation began.
He walked from his sleeping quarters across the courtyard to the kitchen, where he would begin the preparations for the morning meal. The fog was still thick as Nicholas glided across the yard. His robe barely grazed the grass beneath his feet. His feet were bare and cold. His body shivered.
And the conversation continued.
The small kitchen found light only by the sunrays that were just coming up above the horizon, and making their way through the windows. Nicholas breathed a joyful sigh as he walked through one of the rays and made his way to the kitchen utensils that were hanging on hooks suspended from the low-rise ceiling.
And the conversation heightened.
Soon the various foods for the meal were in full preparation mode and the kitchen was alive with wonderful, quiet sounds. There was the clanging of pots and pans, and words were passed as each worker did their part to make sure the meal was ready on time. Nicholas continued with his work.
And the conversation grew.
The meal ready, Nicholas and the rest of the kitchen workers began to serve. Each would take a portion of the foods out to the long wooden tables in the dining area, where the brothers were seated, ready for the partaking of bread. Bowls were passed from person to person, as each tore a piece of bread from the loaves provided. When everyone had a piece of bread in hand, one man stood and began to speak.
And the conversation became one of thanks.
The meal over, and the kitchen once again clean and ready for the preparation of meals to come, Nicholas made the trek back to his quarters. As he walked he enjoyed the morning sun and felt the warmth on his face and shoulders. Mountaintops peered above the halls of the great Monastery.
And the conversation became one of amazement and awe.
Back at his quarters, he once again fell to his knees and assumed the position that for him had begun the day. All sound was blocked out as he became one with his Maker, and the unending prayer continued…
And it was a prayer of love…and gratitude…and humility…and peace.
Pray without ceasing.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” – Brother Lawrence
This story stems from the author’s imagination. It is based, however, on one of the humblest ‘cooks’ in history. For more on the life of Brother Lawrence, and his ability to commune with God on a minute-by-minute basis, be sure to read the Christian Classic – The Practice Of The Presence Of God.
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