Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection wrote, “we must keep our eyes fixed on God in everything we say, do, and undertake (Spiritual Maxim Chpt. 1, #2a). Seeing is an important aspect to the spiritual life. In the context of Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection he is trying to create a perspective and way of life where a person is always open to God’s presence. His starting point, as we read above, is to keep one’s eyes focused on God. Eyes are the window to our souls, which makes our hearts vulnerable to God.
I believe Br. Lawrence is hinting at Matthew 6: 21 “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Treasure entices and attracts the eye. It is the fuel that starts a flame of passion in our hearts. Depending on our treasure, our heart can be taken down the sinful path or the heavenly one. For Br. Lawrence, our treasure is God. All actions we say or do, must be pointed to this treasure. For him, the light that glistens off of our treasure, God, is the light that makes are path visible.
God is our Center
Br. Lawrence is teaching that God, is the central point, for all of the spiritual life. It is in this point that Br. Lawrence hints at the Carmelite rule, which calls all the bothers to daily communion. Br. Lawrence, through his concept of keeping our eyes fixed on God, is trying to extend the communion experience throughout his daily responsibilities in the community. Br. Lawrence is also showing that this idea, the centrality of God rooted in communion, is not a passive truth, but an active one. It is a truth we must engage with and remind ourselves of every day in all we say, do and undertake.
For the Glory of God
For him even the most mundane task can be blessed by God and offered up for the Divine Glory. As St. Paul wrote “from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever, Amen (Romans 11:36).” Everything exists for the glory of God. Br. Lawrence understands this truth and is trying to provide for us a way to live it out, not only abstractly, but in a practical way also. Remember, Br. Lawrence was a cook and a cobbler, during his life in Carmel. Thus, as we journey through our day, I believe Br. Lawrence would ask us to take minute, then during that minute to actively think about whatever it is that we are doing. When we understand, what it is we are doing, then we can begin to see if we are eye keeping our eyes fixed on God. After our reflection, if we have not kept our eyes on God, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us see as Christ sees, so we can keep our eyes fixed on God as we return to our work.