Lives to Inspire: Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen became a Benedictine Abbess and was a distinguished polymath who wrote on many subjects and composed music which is still listened to today.  She was known as a mystic, visionary and, unusually for women in her day, a preacher who was bold enough to give interpretations of scripture.  She also denounced clerical corruption and called for reform in the Church.

The following is a good example of her independent spirit: “We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.”

Hildegard of Bingen was prescient around our need to love and care for Creation.  The 2015 Encyclical from Pope Francis on the environment, Laudato Si, is reinforced by a theological outlook Hildegard promoted centuries earlier.  These quotations from Hildegard illustrate this point.

“We shall awaken from our dullness and rise vigorously toward justice. If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion.”

“Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars.
 Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings

Now, think. 
What delight God gives to humankind with all these things
All nature is at the disposal of humankind.
We are to work with it.
For without we cannot survive.”

Saint Hildegard of Bingen

c 1098: born
1179: died
2012: Canonised by Pope Benedict XVI
2012: Declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’.

Quote from the Saint

Don’t let yourself forget that God’s grace rewards not only those who never slip, but also those who bend and fall.
So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts.
It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them.
Singing summons the Holy Spirit.
Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord.
Don’t stop singing”.

Hildegard of Bingen

Today’s Scripture

Romans 1: 20a New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised

20 Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things God has made.

Thought for the Day

What part of the Creation are you called to love and care for?

Music

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O dulcis Divinitas by Hildegard of Bingen

O Dulcis Divinitas et o suavis vita
In qua perferam vestem praeclaram
Illud accipiens quod perdidi
in prima apparitione
ad te suspiro
et omnes virtutes invoco