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Be nourished by the wisdom of Celtic monasticism – join us! ~ A love note from your online abbess

2-14-2016 Gobnait Icon - top imageYahweh says this:
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago
Enquire about ancient paths:
Which was the good way?
Take it then, and you shall find rest.
-Jeremiah 6:16

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

The overall theme for our upcoming Soul’s Slow Ripening online retreat is one that has been emerging in me for several years. I love the image of ripening as an organic and slow process. Discernment calls us to tend to those moments of ripeness, and when we want to pluck the fruit before it is ready, and so hasn’t developed its full sweetness.

The ancient Christian monastic traditions, especially desert, Celtic, and Benedictine, offer great wisdom for this journey of unfolding. They understood that the soul’s ripening is never to be rushed, and takes a lifetime of work.

We can grow impatient when life doesn’t offer us instant insights or gratification. We call on the wisdom of these monks to accompany us, to teach us what it means to honor the beauty of waiting and attending and witnessing what it is that wants to emerge, rather than what our rational minds want to make happen. The soul always offers us more richness than we can imagine, if we only make space and listen. That is the gift of this threshold time, learning to rest into darkness and mystery, and deeper ways to listen.

The longer I live in this wondrous landscape of Ireland, the more deeply I am drawn into the Celtic practices, stories, and traditions of monastic spirituality. The text above from Jeremiah is a favorite of mine. When we are at a crossroads or threshold in our lives, we are invited to pause and listen. Ask about the ancient pathways and which was the good way? Which was the way that brought life and nourishment?

If you long for a journey which isn’t a 10-step linear set of things to do to discover the deep dreams of your heart, but is a slow, unfolding process with practices which help to root you and support you in listening then we warmly welcome you to join us.

The icon above is of St. Gobnait, one of the women saints in the Irish tradition. She was called in a dream from the place where she lived on the island of Inisheer to journey until she saw nine white deer. Then she would be at the place of her resurrection. The Celtic monastic tradition is filled with these kinds of stories, of dreams pointing in new directions, of wandering until the right place is found. As we move through the season of Easter, consider practicing resurrection with these wise guides.

Please join us for Soul’s Slow Ripening: Celtic Wisdom for Discernment. The journey begins tomorrow through the riches of monastic wisdom, especially what we find in the Irish tradition. Our companions will be St. Kevin, Brigid, Patrick, Ita, Gobnait, Ciaran, Brendan, and Columcille. If you are in a place of listening to your life for what thresholds might be beckoning, this retreat will be a lovely companion on the way.

Stop by Patheos for further reflection from me and my 8-week series on Practicing Resurrection.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Photo © St. Gobnait dancing monk icon by Marcy Hall at Rabbit Room Arts


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