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Blessing of the Elements ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Blessing of the Elements*

Wild Elemental One,
bless us through your gifts of wind, fire, water, and earth.
May we awaken to new life each dawn
and feel your holy breath sustaining us.
Let the breezes whisper their secrets
and the winds strip away what is no longer needed.
May we bless the sky with our reaching,
the clouds a witness to our becoming.
May we feel the living flame of love
burning in our hearts.
Let the sun warm and illumine us
and may the ash that remains
from the fire bring us new clarity.
May we bless the fire with our passion
letting all that sparks and blazes within
warm this world.
May we know the sea as our holy source
and the rivers and lakes carry us
on currents of love.
Let the holy water of the wells
heal our broken places,
bringing us back to wholeness again.
May we bless the water of life,
yielding to its flow, carrying us home.
May we bless Earth with our gratitude,
for the sweetness of every sip and bite.
Let the trees root us, let the mountains lift us.
May we endure like stone,
may we nourish like bread.
May the elements guide us on the way
to live more fully, to breathe deeply,
to ignite our longings, to follow the flow,
to create something which persists.

Dearest monks and artists,

Our featured self-study retreat this month is Sacred Rhythms of Sky, Sun, Sea, and Stone: A Creative Retreat with the Elements which includes writing practice, nature journaling, and movement invitations. 

Perhaps one of the most beautiful celebrations of the elements in the Christian tradition is The Canticle of the Creatures written by St. Francis late in his life. It is such a rich cosmological vision which sees all of creation nourishing and supporting us. (We commissioned Simon de Voil to write a song based on this prayer which you can listen to here.) 

Then there is Thomas Merton who offers us this powerful vision:

How necessary it is for monks to work in the fields, in the rain, in the sun, in the mud, in the clay, in the wind: these are our spiritual directors and our novice-masters. They form our contemplation. They instill us with virtue.  They make us as stable as the land we live in. (from The Sign of Jonas)

Merton is referring here to monks, but he is essentially speaking to all of us who yearn for a closer relationship to God.  The wind and rain, sun and mud are representations of the four elements of air, fire, water, and earth.  As Merton indicates, they can act as spiritual directors or guides to help us along the sacred journey.  The qualities of these elements offer an invitation to us to pray with them, so that we might come to know what they reveal about the nature of God and our own spiritual unfolding.

Christian tradition tells us that we have received two books of divine revelation: the book of scripture and the book of nature.  

Creation itself is a sacred text through which the presence of God is revealed to us.

There is a story about the hermit Antony who lived in the desert of Egypt in the third to fourth centuries.  When he was asked once by a philosopher what he would do if one day he could no longer read scripture, Antony replied simply: “My book, sir philosopher, is the nature of created things, and it is always on hand when I wish to read it.”  In this brief exchange we witness the essential role of the natural world in forming Christian awareness and practice from ancient times.

Celtic Christian tradition especially has developed this understanding of the natural world as a window onto the divine; nature is considered to be an essential source of revelation about God. This is in large part why Celtic Christian practices and wisdom are being reclaimed with great enthusiasm in our contemporary world. People are hungry for ways to reconnect with creation in meaningful and prayerful ways.

This primary connection to creation is rooted in the example of Jesus himself who expressed many of his teachings through parables, those profound stories that reveal to us the nature of God and God’s Reign.  

Much of the language Jesus used is earth-based, rooted in metaphors of seed, fruit, and harvest with which his listeners would have identified. His ministry also centers around elemental places such as feasting at the table on the gifts of the earth, his appearance on the mountain as a place of transfiguration, his encounters at the well, and his own baptism in the river Jordan as just a few examples.

Both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are filled with images of God rooted in the elements of the natural world. The Psalms especially use the language of earth, water, fire, and wind to describe the nature of the divine, give insight into the multiplicity of God’s qualities, and celebrate a God who can be found within the matrix of creation.  

This is the last chance to register for the Sacred Rhythms of Sky, Sun, Sea, and Stone self-study retreat at a discount SACREDRHYTHMS20.

With great and growing love,

Christine

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Image © Christine Valters Paintner

*Blessing of the Elements is by Christine Valters Paintner and from a forthcoming book of blessings (due to be published in spring 2026).

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