I will periodically post excerpts from the 1967 ed of Spire Books', "The Practice of the Presence of God," by and about Brother Lawrence (c. 1614-1691). Perhaps they'll help put kitchen "business" in right perspective. The following are from the publishers' Preface:
Fame and greatness are relative values and often a delusion and a snare, depending upon circumstances and an attitude of mind. Napoleon was famous to some and infamous to others, and Jesus, crucified in his day, is greater with the passing years. Perhaps the greatest of men are those who never seek greatness at all, but who personify the virtues which posterity calls great. Such an one was Brother Lawrence... with a mind so like the mind which was in Christ, he lived so abundantly in the presence of God.

No conceited scholar was Brother Lawrence; theological and doctrinal debates bored him, if he noticed them at all. His one desire was for communion with God. We find him worshiping more in his kitchen than in his cathedral... and he could say, "the time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen... I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

A wholly consecrated man, he lived his life as though he were a singing pilgrim on the march, as happy in serving his fellow monks and brothers from the monastery kitchen as in serving God in the vigil of prayer and penance. He died at eighty years of age, full of love and years and honored by all who knew him.

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