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Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings - Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) Paperback – August 1, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1594733734 ISBN-10: 1594733732 Edition: 1st

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Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings - Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) + The Lectio Divina - The Sacred Art: Transforming Words & Images into Heart-Centered Prayer (The Art of Spiritual Living) + The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom
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Product Details

  • Series: SkyLight Illuminations
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths; 1 edition (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594733732
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594733734
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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 2012-09-26)

"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 and 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, PhD, a Benedictine Oblate, is author of Lectio Divina—The Sacred Art: Transforming Words & Images into Heart-Centered Prayer, Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings—Annotated & Explained (both SkyLight Paths) and The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom among other books. She 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.

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Desert Monastic Practices and Spirituality
  • Celtic Monastic Practices and Spirituality
  • Benedictine Monastic Practices and Spirituality
  • Lectio Divina and Contemplative Prayer
  • Spirituality and the Expressive Arts

Click here to contact the author.


More About the Author

Christine Valters Paintner is the online Abbess at www.AbbeyoftheArts.com, a virtual monastery without walls offering a variety of classes in contemplative practice and creative expression and the author of eight books on spirituality, contemplative practice, and creative expression.

She is a Benedictine Oblate, writer, artist, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, teacher, and pilgrimage guide. Her fields of expertise include Christian spiritual practices, monastic spirituality, and the expressive arts. Christine earned her PhD in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and her professional status as Registered Expressive Arts Consultant and Educator (REACE) from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA.org).

Christine lives in Galway, Ireland with her husband John. Together they lead pilgrimages on the wild edges of this sacred landscape together.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark S. Beatty on November 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I decided to purchase this book based on a recommendation from another book I was reading and because I enjoy Christine Valters Paintner's style of writing and her focus on wisdom teaching. There are so many wonderful quotes and comments hidden inside these pages. Paintner has taken ancient sayings from seemingly austere origins, then masterfully brought them into our century. Ancient truths, simply, are truths in any time. I recommend reading this book each morning, move throughout the day meditating on the passage and let it become part of you. Good reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Lawrence on November 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book that wil ways be in my library. These are awesome sayings to read before prayer of any kind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Ryder on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book that calls us back to the essential wisdom discovered by those brave early Christians, who found something ever ancient and ever new in the deserts. A wonderfully presented volume, it reminds me of the basics of life. It is a resource for all who wish to make their lives centred on the will of the God of many names.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nick Trygg on March 5, 2014
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Gives a glimpse into the early christian tradition with expert explanations and interpretations of the text that make it much more compelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Homewood on February 7, 2014
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This book introduced me to a segment of Christian thought I was unfamiliar with. The introduction to this book is outstanding. Some of the commentary by Christine Paintner was obviously biased by her own views, and missed the mark. But overall,
a book that is worth reading for Christians who want to go deeper, and enjoy contemplation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By monique lattimer on January 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is excellent to ponder on. It helps you come up with your own ideas. Easy to read. Thanks
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