Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Vocation of Monastic Cooking

"Could it be that Brother Lawrence was able to fulfill his potential by washing dishes? 'Having accustomed himself to doing everything there for the love of God, and asking His grace to do his work, he found he had become quite proficient in the ... years he had worked in the kitchen.' (1)

He found purpose in the very midst of the most mundane and ordinary tasks of life. He fulfilled his potential by focusing on faithfulness. This is not faithfulness that triumphs over the desire to fulfill one's potential. Indeed, ... "faithfulness rarely feels heroic; it feels much more like showing up and hanging in. It is a matter of going to our cell, whatever form that might take, and letting it teach us what it will."(2) Availing himself to consistent faithfulness yielded the blessing of both proficiency and presence.

Fulfilling one's potential has little to do with greatness. And yet, the heroism of the ordinary does not preempt "greatness" that our world confers to those who have reached their potential with staggering and dramatic achievement; for even those who achieve greatness have faced the drama of routine and the tidal wave of tedium. But to assign the fulfillment of one's potential solely to great acts and recognition is to miss the blessing that comes from faithful acts of devotion," and the constant loving acts of God toward us.

--Margaret Manning

"So, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31.

(1) Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, The Practice of the Presence of God, ed. John J. Delaney (New York: Image, 1977), 41.
(2) Margaret Guenther, The Practice of Prayer (Boston: Cowley Press, 1998), 112.

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