Embracing an Intentional Way of Life
by Christine Valters Paintner
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Feb 2021 | Archive Date 01 Sep 2021
Ave Maria Press, Sorin Books
We live in a world where there never seems to be enough time for all we want and need to do. In Sacred Time, Christine Valters Paintner guides us as we move beyond our own lives and embrace a world that urges us toward rest, reflection, and growth.
Paintner, abbess of the online Abbey of the Arts, shows us how by becoming in tune with the rhythms of the natural world, we can live more intentionally and experience a conversion toward a more expansive way of being. Paintner introduces us to the eight cycles of sacred time that exist in our everyday lives. These cycles that can ground us through our busy lives are
· rhythms of the day,
· weekly rhythms and Sabbath rest,
· waxing and waning lunar cycles,
· seasons of the year,
· seasons of a lifetime,
· ancestral time, and
· cosmic time.
Each cycle encourages us to mindfully consider the time that passes as quickly as each breath and as slowly as the passing of generations. Within each cycle, we find wisdom from sacred tradition and the saints, including St. Benedict, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Hildegard of Bingen; room for growth; and the presence of the Divine. Along the way, we are also given scriptural guidance, and we are invited to spiritual practices and creative explorations that will help deepen our understanding of each cycle, allow that understanding to take root in our lives, and expand our lives beyond the pressures of each day.
A Note From the Publisher
“In a season of life when time feels chaotic and uneven—sometimes slow, sometimes racing, sometimes monotonous, sometimes crazy—Christine Valters Paintner’s book reminds me that I do not need to manage time but rather manage myself within the time that I am given: a time marked by cycles and seasons outside my control but beautiful and organic and awaiting my embrace. In Sacred Time, she eases me into a new appreciation for how God is at work in the mystery of time.”
Ann M. Garrido
Associate Professor of Homiletics
Aquinas Institute of Theology
“In a world of increasing speed, work, and distraction, Christine Valter Painter’s Sacred Time is a welcome guide to shifting our spiritual gears into a mode of renewed attentiveness and intentionality. Beautifully written, this book helps readers adjust the rhythms of their lives to align more closely with that of God and creation.”
Rev. Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M.
Duns Scotus Chair of Spirituality
Catholic Theological Union
“Christine Valter Paintner’s vision deftly translates the seasons of the heart and cycles of the solar and lunar year into pathways of enlightenment and spiritual growth. As with the online experience out of which this book grew, Sacred Time is a rich feast of wisdom that encourages personal insights and a pilgrimage that leads us intentionally toward ‘time out of time.’”
Moira Anne MacDermaid
Poet and Abbey of the Arts Sacred Time Jubilee participant
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 12 members
Sacred Time is the threshold for a genuine and spacious life that surprisingly already exists between the sometimes tense minutes of each day. Paintner’s book is a collection of deeply ageless and rhythmic perspectives and practices which reveal a rooted well being that comes from recognizing the sacred layers alive in each day and season of life. In simple profoundness, she opens a doorway into the midst of the healing that grows from appreciating the beauty of the natural world around us. Paintner is an inspired scribe for ancient and modern wisdom. Her book is well researched and a needed counterbalance for the present groaning of temporal time. It is a resource to be treasured again and again.
Christine Valters Paintner’s books are such a wonderful combination of information and ways of retreating with what you’ve read. This one is no exception to that. Time is something many of us struggle with – trying to control time, rather than being and moving with it. Christine helped me to explore my relationship with many aspects of time beginning with our breath, moving through rhythms of the day, moon, year, our lives, and even cosmic time. In each section, there is wonderful information to ponder, a scripture reflection, ways to meditate and create with what you’ve learned, poetry and art. The book is a retreat you can do on your own and learn so much. Or, you go even deeper, and join Christine in an online retreat based on the book. If I were still practicing as a spiritual director, it would be a book I’d highly encourage people I walked with to read. One short quote from the introduction to entice you “We live in a breathless world. In sacred time, we step out of the madness of our lives and choose to reflect, linger, savor and slow down. We gain new perspective here.” If you’re ready to slow down and get a deep breath, this is the book for you.
This book is about how to make the most of our time, but not in the usual way emphasized in a productivity, achievement driven culture. Instead, Christine Valters Paintner introduces the reader to ways of experiencing sacred time that both grounds the reader in the moment and also allows him/her to focus on the natural rhythms of time. She offers an invitation in the introduction to her book. “Let us focus on embracing a different experience of time: Time as unfolding rather than always running away from us. Time as offering invitations rather than demands that we keep up. Eternal time, present moment time, the fullness of time. Sacred time is time devoted to the heart, to things that matter, to wonder and beauty, to catching glimpses of eternity” (p. xix). This invitation is one which many readers would be drawn to as I was. The author balances thematic overview and scriptural reflections (written by her husband John Valters Painter) with experiential explorations and poetry in each chapter. The experiential explorations, meditations and creative practices, provide ways for the reader to integrate the teachings in his/her life. Valters Paintner is sensitive to the differing life responsibilities, time commitments and preferences of readers. She discusses ways to adapt meditations and practices and includes a variety of experiential explorations. From “Breath Prayers” to “Praying the Hours” to “Contemplative Photography” to “Lectio with Life Experience” and more the reader experiences shifts in the perspective of time to experience sacred time. The author recommends reading this book slowly, one chapter per week or even month. In addition, this is also a book that can be read again and again. As our lives unfold it is likely that the themes and lessons in a chapter may have different or perhaps more layered meanings, and experiential explorations that once seemed uncomfortable or inconsistent with preferences might now be appealing or challenging in new ways. As Valters Paintner asks “At the end of our lives, will we feel more satisfied with a list of achievements or with a series of deeply lived moments when we were able to step outside of time and breathe in the fullness of our lives?” (p.13).
Opening Sacred Time is stepping into a retreat with a wise and compassionate facilitator. From the introduction you are invited into slow time, examining cycles of time from a breath to an eon. Each chapter of time includes bits of memoir, thoughtful quotes, a slow practice to embody your new understanding, a meditation to sit with new wisdom, insightful questions and invitations, and a creative practice to express your intuitions. A relevant scripture is explored by the author's husband, John Valters Paintner, with connections to his life and rich questions. Each chapter culminates with a poem by the author. Time in expanding cycles is explored as gift and opportunity to experience the Eternal rather than as burdensome busyness.. Taking time with each chapter gave me deeper meaning with each considered breath. I have a practice now of noticing the four "hinges" of the day and the lunar phases in the night sky. Curiosity about ancestors has deepened into an awareness of their stories as my story. Just like a good retreat, this book will leave you and your sense of time transformed.
“Sacred Time” is a really beautiful book about the cycles of time and the ways we can relate to them through prayer, meditation, and contemplation. While the book is written from a Christian perspective, parts of it could also be applicable to people who follow other paths of Celtic spirituality. I would recommend this title to anyone who wants to slow down and approach his or her relationship to time from a contemplative and spiritual perspective. While I am not Christian, I found the book to be inspiring and thought provoking. The exercises are very simple and easy to follow. While I read the book all the way through, it is structured in such a way that it could be read slowly over the period of several months and used as part of a meditative practice or in a group setting. I really enjoyed this one and I know I’ll be integrating parts of it into my spiritual practice. * I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to NetGalley and Sorin Books.
Sacred Time provides a guide book for grounding oneself in the Divine and living more intentionally during this time of pandemic, political upheaval and severe weather. The scriptures and creative explorations accompanied by Christine's personal sharing challenge the reader to view both the joyful and traumatic events of life from a different perspective. Its unique view of examining time in the past, present and future aids the readier in creating their own rhythms for living.
Thank you, NetGalley, Ave Maria Press, and Christine Valters Paintner, for the ARC of Sacred Time, Embracing an Intentional Way of Life. I am a fan of Paintner and follow her work on Facebook. I have read many of her books and I am always grateful for her wisdom and insight. This new book did not disappoint. Paintner follows a consistent and intuitive formula with her writing and how she organizes each chapter. This approach turns the reading of the text into a personal retreat. I have never read her books quickly; her words, content, and flow best read with a slow, intentional pace. You will want to linger and re-read her sentences. You will take the time to let her insights settle into your thoughts and your soul. In this current book, Paintner takes on the topic of time, how we view it, and spend it. In our fast-paced world, we can all agree on one thing, we feel like we run short on time, and if only there were an extra 4 hours a day, right? I am someone who has always battled a very linear approach to pacing time. In this book, Paintner challenged me to consider time as sacred, "Sacred time is time governed by the rhythms of creation, rhythms that incorporate times of rest as essential to our own unfolding. Sacred time is time spent being present to the moments of eternity available to us whenever we choose to pause and breathe." As someone who has battled with the notion that I can control time, this book was a much-needed opportunity to step back and reframe. Paintner organized the chapters of her book by: breath rhythms of the day weekly rhythms and Sabbath rest waxing and waning lunar cycles seasons of the year seasons of a lifetime ancestral time cosmic time Within in cycle/chapter, five sections include: Paintner's reflection on the theme, a scripture reflection, an experiential exploration through meditation and creative practice (my personal favorite), and the chapter ends with a poem related to that aspect of time. Within each cycle, she also includes wisdom from saints, including St Ignatius of Loyola, St Hildegard of Bingen (a personal favorite of mine), and St Benedict. Each section of this book is an invitation to explore spiritual and creative practices to deepen our understanding of sacred time and use this information to create and embrace a life that is intentional and moves us away from the pressures of each day.
Christine Valters Paintner's books are really books to purchase, reflect in, journal, and interact with. They're like walking prayer books, where she challenges her readers to look inward and see the word just slightly more sacred than they did before. "Sacred Time" is really just about a slowing down, a chance to view time in a more meaning-filled way instead of the rushed pace we're used to. Every time I get a Paintner book from Netgalley, I'm reminded I need to buy it to mark it up and actually *do* the exercises she suggests! They're filled with hard won wisdom and kindness. Highly recommended.
This was an incredibly interesting book. I really like how the chapters spiraled from focusing on the breath in time through to day, moon, life, and finally the universe in cosmic time. The points made were thought provoking and I really enjoyed the meditations and activities that have really helped me in my spiritual journey. The only thing that threw me was the changing of type faces through the book. A very interesting and inspiring read.
Among the numerous changes wrought by the Covid-19, the pandemic has given many the opportunity to consider how they are spending their lives. For this reason, Christine Valters Paintner’s latest book, Sacred Time, could not come at more apt time. Here, Valters Paintner, author of 15 books on monasticism and creativity and the online abbess for the Abbey of the Arts, helps readers become “more present to the eternal moment.” Rather than skimming the surface of time in the constantly hurried business of modern life, Valters Paintner wants her readers to discover the present moment and dive deeper into its richness. To this end, Sacred Time is composed of eight chapters, each addressing a different natural rhythm starting with the breath and concluding with infinite cosmic time. Each chapter is divided into five parts: reflection on the chapter’s theme, a spiritual reflection, a meditation and creative practice, a blessing, and an invitation to readers to write their own blessing. Sacred Time is not a book to speed read. Instead, reading this book itself is a practice in slowing down to savor each chapter. In fact, this book may just provide a much-needed balm to world-weary souls. (This review has been posted on amaz0n under the name Amelia Peters.)
Beautiful title. I've read and reread and have my own copy ordered. It's been a title I think back on and have put many of the tips into practice. My favorite is praying the hours as I'm working to be more present and take meaningful pauses as transitions between chores. I am a work in progress, but this title has helped me think about time differently.