Nicholas Herman was 18 years old when he had a conversion experience. It came to him not as a result of studying or hearing a convincing preacher. His conversion was the result of simply l
ooking at a tree. On a winter’s day, he stood considering the nakedness of the tree’s trunk and branches, and he realized how soon it would be budding with new life. And as he thought about this, Nicholas was struck with wonder at the grandeur and providence of God. He later described it as a vision of Love so powerful that the devotion in his heart had never surpassed the intensity of that moment he spent looking at a tree.
Afterward, he was convinced that God could be encountered in everything. He set his heart on trying to always live in the awareness of God’s presence and to let nothing distract him from this awareness. In fact, Nicholas claimed to be more united with God when he was busy about his chores as a cook in a monastery than when he engaged in formal prayer in the chapel.
And so it was that Nicholas Herman, also known as Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, quietly became a mystic amid the pots and pans. He died 3 centuries ago, leaving behind a wonderful little book called The Practice of the Presence of God, which has proved to be such a blessing to so many! (We have it in our Spiritual Renewal Center library.)