Living the presence of God
by Laurent de la Résurrection
Artège, 174 p., € 7.50
Brother Laurent of the Resurrection
by Denis Sureau
Artège, 148 p., € 14.90
He is neither holy nor blessed. Laurent of the Resurrection is nevertheless a sure figure to turn to for a fruitful teaching, in listening to God and surrender to his will. The consistency of his faith has inspired many Christians since its rediscovery in the middle of the 20th centurye century, first of all by Anglo-Saxon Protestants, notably pietists.
Enter into the spirituality of Laurent of the Resurrection through his writings
Born in Lorraine in 1614, Nicolas Herman, who knows a young man a spiritual experience, enlisted as a soldier in the troops of the Duke of Lorraine in the midst of the Thirty Years War, leaving them after a serious injury to turn briefly to hermitism . It was finally in Paris that his fervor found its just expression, at the Discalced Carmelite Convent on rue de Vaugirard, where he made his religious vows in 1642, at the age of 28. He was a cook there for fifteen years, then a shoemaker until his death at the age of 77.
→ READ. Carmel, a school of friendship
A collection of his writings (texts, methods, maxims and letters) brings him into his spirituality, showing how he got rid, over the years, of the thought of a distant and judge God, to see only his mercy , and thereby desire to please him in everything, to experience his presence in everything. “It is not necessary to be always in the Church to be with God, we can make of our heart an oratory in which we withdraw from time to time to speak there with him gently, humbly, and lovingly” , he advises, suggesting to tend in confidence towards a permanent intimacy: ” At all times, at all times, without rule or measure, especially in the times of temptations, sorrows, aridities, disgusts, and even infidelities, and sins. “From the divine union magnificently described in the previous century by Thérèse d’Avila, Laurent of the Resurrection develops a more modest vision, inviting to a continuous conversation anchored in the banal gestures of everyday life.
An artificial fictional character
Starting from his own inclination for Carmel, the essayist Denis Sureau stages it in a personal story. He presents Laurent of the Resurrection in chapters sometimes romantic – he invents scenes of life and recomposes his interiority – sometimes reflexive. If the author has the commendable concern of expressing the appropriateness of this thought, there is an embarrassment in discovering Carmel as a fictional character, the artificiality of the device taking away from the simplicity of the brother. Denis Sureau underlines however a beautiful evidence by inscribing Laurent of the Resurrection in the Carmelite mystical filiation: heir to Jean de la Croix by the intensity of his perception of creation; announcer of the small way of Thérèse de Lisieux and the habitation of the soul by God of Elisabeth of the Trinity (1).
“God alone is enough”, defended their mother all, Saint Teresa of Avila. One could say that to discover Laurent of the Resurrection, only his writings are enough, revealing a life in the company of God, and the certainty of being nothing without his grace: “ If He left me for a moment to myself, I would be the most miserable of all creatures “, He wrote in the twilight of his life, in 1690.