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Ash Wednesday – Lent Begins (Join us!)

A love note from your online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists,

I thought I would send this bonus love note today, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, with a few links to past reflections on this season and time of year.

Last year I shared a reflection for Valentine’s Day on Becoming Body Words of Love.

And here are two poems for Valentine’s  – Saints Bowing in the Mountains by Hafiz and i carry your heart with me by ee cummings. Imagine me saying these words to you from the heart.

Ash Wednesday: The Practice of Truth-Telling
This is a reflection about the essential nature of lament, perhaps more relevant today than ever.

The following is a series of reflections I shared last Lent on different ways to approach the practice of fasting:

A Different Kind of Fast – Ash Wednesday Blessings & Lenten Resources

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Two – Embrace Vulnerability

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Three – Embrace Trust

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Four – Embrace Slowness

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Five – Embrace Attention

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Six – Embrace Organic Unfolding

A Different Kind of Fast: Part Seven – Embrace Mystery

And of course, we are offering our online retreat for Lent which is a transformative journey through the scriptures. With reflections from John Valters Paintner and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, psalm-based songs from Richard, live webinar sessions with Christine and guided contemplative practice, creative invitations from Melissa Layer, and a vibrant facilitated forum for sharing and conversation. Join us for Watershed Moments in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Here is an excerpt from John’s introduction:

The Bible is not a single, declarative statement of fact. It is a series of competing voices, written and compiled over generations and through many different styles and authors, wrestling with great questions of faith.

Of the many Biblical stories, three (The Exodus, The Exile, and The Crucifixion & Resurrection of Jesus) are the most foundational. Prior to each of these watershed moments our spiritual ancestors thought they had life figured out. They thought that they had God figured out, or at least had come to accept their spiritual fate. And then suddenly everything changed: forgotten slaves are rescued, an invincible nation is destroyed, the Messiah is executed and returns.

There are several ways to frame the many stories of the Bible. Certainly, one could go chronologically or in order of the canon of books. I have chosen to group the stories thematically and so won’t be going exactly as one might suspect. I was even tempted to start with The Exile, as that is the moment the scattered stories and tales of Scripture became what we think of today as “The Bible.” But ultimately, I decided to work our way up to what can be argued is the most significant of Biblical moments. We’ll start more personally, with the story of a simple family of nomads and their strange calling to go and be something more.

This retreat will explore the watershed moments in sacred history that motivated the authors of Scripture to write down their stories of faith for themselves and future generations. Through contemplation and art, we will ask ourselves these same questions that continue to shape our own faith journeys today:

We hope you will join us for this journey of the heart through sacred texts and wrestling with our own questions.

Sending you a shower of blessings for Lent from Ireland!

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Photo © Christine Valters Paintner

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