Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature

Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature

by Christine Valters Paintner

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Overview

How can we meet God in our everyday lives? In Earth, Our Original Monastery, Christine Valters Paintner, bestselling author and online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, shares how living contemplatively with an appreciation for the natural world can make you more aware of the presence of God in every aspect of your life. She explores monks, mystics, and saints who have experienced the goodness of the Divine in nature and invites you to find solace and spiritual revelation in the wonder of God’s creation.

The purpose of contemplative living, Christine Valters Paintner suggests, is to allow you to integrate the pieces of your life within yourself, in your community, and in the world around you. When you pay attention to each moment, you nurture your ability to see God’s actions in those moments. In Earth, Our Original Monastery, Paintner invites you to begin the journey of contemplative living by focusing on the image of the earth as your original monastery—the place where you learn your most fundamental prayers, participate in each day’s liturgy of praise, and experience the wisdom of the seasons.

Paintner provides seven ways of seeing the earth in light of faith and pairs each one with a practical invitation to a practice. These include:

  • the earth as original cathedral—where you first learn to worship and feel God’s presence around us, paired with the practice of stability
  • the earth as original saints—plants and animals live their calling without trying to be something they’re not and inspire you to do the same, paired with the practice of gratitude
  • the earth as original icon—nature can serve as a window to the holy in the same way that icons do, paired with the practice of lament

As you explore what these connections between the earth and faith mean for how to see God in the world around you, you can also look at saints and mystics who experienced nature and the flow of the divine in similar ways.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932057201
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Publication date: 04/03/2020
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 105,452
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Christine Valters Paintner is the online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She earned a doctorate in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and achieved professional status as a registered expressive arts consultant and educator from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.

Paintner is the author of thirteen books on monasticism and creativity, including The Soul’s Slow Ripening; Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire; The Artist’s Rule; The Soul of a Pilgrim; Illuminating the Way; The Wisdom of the Body; and a collection of poems called Dreaming of Stones. She leads writing retreats and pilgrimages in Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and Germany and online retreats at her website AbbeyoftheArts.com, living out her commitment as a Benedictine Oblate in Galway, Ireland, with her husband, John.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Earth as the Original Cathedral 1

2 Earth as the Original Scriptures 19

3 Earth as the Original Saints 35

4 Earth as the Original Spiritual Directors 51

5 Earth as the Original Icon 73

6 Earth as the Original Sacrament 93

7 Earth as the Original Liturgy 109

Conclusion 125

Acknowledgments 131

Additional Resources: Recommended Reading List 133

Notes 135

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