Holy Ground

by | Jun 1, 1999 | Presence

Nicholas Herman (pronounced är-män’) was born in Lorraine, France, in 1605. He reached his teen years at the onset of the Thirty Years’ War, during which he fought for the French army, was seriously wounded, and walked with great difficulty for the rest of his life. Converted at age eighteen, he became an assistant for a local official in the French Treasury.

Years passed, and at age fifty, wanting a richer spiritual life, Nicholas joined a Carmelite monastery in Paris. But he was assigned to the kitchen, a task that struck him as insulting and humbling. For several years, he went about his chores grudgingly but dutifully.

One day Nicholas decided to change his thinking. He began frequently reminding himself of how constantly God’s presence hovered about him. Even the most menial tasks, Nicholas realized, if undertaken for God’s glory, are holy; and wherever the Christian stands-even in a hot, thankless kitchen-is holy ground, for the Lord is there too.

Nicholas’s holy ground, and demeanor gradually changed, and others began asking him a reason for his radiance. Christian leaders sought him out and valued his advice. One man, the abbot of Beaufort, was particularly impressed. The two met four times and exchanged fifteen letters to discuss Nicholas’s walk with the Lord. The abbot made notes of the conversations and preserved the letters, compiling them into The Practice of the Presence of God. It was published in the mid-1600s, attributed to “Brother Lawrence,” the name by which Nicholas was known in the monastery.

Robert J. Morgan, The Red Sea Rules. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001, p. 77-78.


Holy Ground