Could somebody please tell me the best way to keep recollected in God? I have already read Bro. Lawrence’s book on practicing the presence of God. Should I just keep talking to Jesus living inside of me and always know he is present there? Thanks for any help.
Hi Ready -
I think you have asked and answered your own question:) The key to Brother Lawrence’s teaching is to:
Try to stay in his presence as often as you can . . . it is the “art” of living in the present moment.
Use whatever means the Holy Spirit moves you in each and every moment to remain in His presence . . . be it spontaneous words of the heart, brief aspirations or simply a loving, interior gaze toward He whom we know loves us.
Recall our minds and heart to him whenever we notice it has strayed.
Be vigilant in this practice . . . perseverence is the key.
Don’t beat yourself when you fail in any of the the above because, at least in the beginning, we will fall many times each and every day in this practice.
With time and practice it will become, just as Brother Lawrence says, like second nature. We will no longer need to work at this because it becomes ingrained into our very being. Remaining in His presence becomes instinctive and intuitive . . . as regular and constant as our very breathing.
My best to you,
I find praying the Rosary a great comfort. I’m sure you do this already but maybe with deeper meditation on the daily life of our Lord in that day. Thinking about him physically speaking while preaching. I’m sure you understand.
Ready, the summary and comment of DBT’s post is to the very point. Like the book title - “The* Practice* of the Presence of God” says, the recollection of the Lord is a practice.
Many things you can do to help this practice: frequent Sacraments – Holy Communion and Confession; Adoration, Rosary, Scripture reading with reflections, spiritual readings, spontaneous prayers, Stations of the Cross, silent gaze, etc…
If you are serious about this, self- discipline is a must. Self-discipline means to do these routine regularly day in and day out, not only when you feel like to. Just like an athlete who engages in his practice 365 days a year, we practice our recollection of God daily, ideally 24/7.
If you choose to persistently practice like this, the recollection not only will become your second nature, eventually your significantly increased love of the Lord will make it impossible not to think of Him often.
If you have fallen in love before, you can recall your first love experience. Remember how you think of your love day and night? The voice, the smile, the whisper, the gaze, the holding hands, the kiss, the embrace, the being together, what have been said, what was in the love letter …. Everything to do with your love is a delight. And you *enjoy *thinking of him or her constantly. That’s how it will be … with our Lord … eventually.
Wish you the best.
When you were a child, did you have an imaginary friend? Someone who was with you all the time, to whom you spoke frequently about everything that happened? If you did, that was excellent training for living in the presence of God.
same old same old
daily prayer, reading, and meditation with scripture
frequent recourse to the sacraments
regular Mass participation
service to the Church and God’s poor
regular conscious acts of penance and mercy
the particular examen daily (daily examination of conscience, review of the day and prayer of contrition and thankfulness)
I assume you mean staying recollected throughout your day, not just while in mental prayer or during adoration or some sort of more focused occasion.
I was taught to remember “telephone poles”. Imagine a set of telephone poles. The poles represent your approaches to God. They can be at variable distances. Some people “live” their faith with 2 approaches to God. Mass at Christmas and Easter. For others their poles are Sunday to Sunday.
What happens to the wire spanning the distance between poles if they are spaced far apart? It sags proportionate with the distance between the poles. It sags and it adds great tension…and it becomes less and less able to withstand pressure and additional stress.
So our job is to “put up poles” throughout our day and our week. Some ideas for “poles” include: a morning offering, prayers at all meals, a period of fixed mental prayer during the day, scriptural reading, maybe some prayer at noon (set your watch)…the Angelus is beautiful prayer to pray at noon - there are many Catholics who do this…so you are praying with those in your time zone). Maybe a decade or the whole Rosary. A quick exam at night, etc.
These “poles” help maintain your presence of God, and by virtue of that help you maintain a recollected state.
Does this make sense?
Don’t force all your approaches to God in one crazy 'Holy Hour", but instead spread God throughout your day in a more natural way.