Desert Fathers And Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings Annotated & Explained (Skylight Illuminations) Paperback – 24 Jan 2013
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During the fourth and fifth centuries, the workshops for Christian monasticism were in Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Arabia. Many of these desert communities emphasized drawing closer to God through silence, solitude and prayer. These monks and hermits were spiritual athletes who practiced fasting, renunciation, and other forms of asceticism.
Christine Valters Paintner, a Benedictine Oblate and author of five books including The Artist's Rule, has annotated and explained the early Christian wisdom sayings of the desert fathers and mothers in this paperback in the Skylight Illumination series.
In her absolutely brilliant introduction to the desert fathers and mothers, Paintner does a wonderful job explaining the desert as a place of deep encounter; the significant figures in this monastic tradition; the spiritual importance of the cell and the heart; the value of surrender and humility in relationship to the unceasing presence of God and the challenges of viewing the wisdom sayings of the desert fathers and mothers as Zen koans "texts to be pondered and chewed on slowly and then integrated into your life."
Paintner has divided these early Christian wisdom sayings, translated by Sister Benedicta Ward, into thematic sections: Give Me a Word Your Cell Will Teach You Everything Heart-Centered Spirituality Thoughts, Desires, and Passions Humility, Simplicity, and the Beginner's Heart Spiritual Elders and Soul Friends Tears of Compunction The Necessity of Practice Virtues, Charity, and the Service of Love Solitude, Silence, and Hesychia Three Essential Things Prayer and Differing Gifts How to Become a Monk
In her engrossing commentaries on these sayings, Paintner shares how they have influenced her life, such as her listening for a word from the world of nature; her adoration of trees and their connection with saints; her role as an urban monk; her frighteningly close encounter with death; her love of books and her sense of the shadow side of them and the need to be very honest with herself as a teacher, writer, and spiritual director.
This is one of the brightest and best resources on the desert fathers and mothers.--Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat"Spirituality & Practice" (09/26/2012)"
"Provides not only a wonderful introduction to a fascinating world (the opening chapter alone is worth the price of the book), but an invitation to seek our own 'word' from the abbas and ammas of Christian antiquity.... Offers one of the best guidebooks I've seen for those who ve been called to the contemplative life." Paula Huston, author, The Holy Way and Simplifying the Soul
"Offers the reader a good drink from the clear stream of desert wisdom. She honors the tradition while making it entirely relevant to our times." Mary C. Earle, writer and Episcopal priest; author, The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness and Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Writings Annotated & Explained
A splendid introduction to one of the most essential periods of the Western contemplative tradition.... Offers insight into the austere and wondrous spirituality of the desert ... and why their pithy teachings remain so essential for the study and practice of Christian spirituality today. [The] commentary makes the wisdom of the desert come alive. Carl McColman, author, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Answering the Contemplative Call"
About the Author
Christine Valters Paintner, a Benedictine Oblate, frequently leads retreats and teaches on the wisdom of Benedictine, Celtic and desert ways of praying. A writer, artist, spiritual director, retreat facilitator and teacher, she is the online Abbess of www.abbeyofthearts.com, a global online monastery dedicated to the integration of contemplative practice and creative expression.
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a book that is worth reading for Christians who want to go deeper, and enjoy contemplation.