Monday, September 17th was Hildegard of Bingen's Feast Day. If you've never heard of her, you are not alone. But she is a woman worth knowing! Born in the 1100s, Hildegard had a mystical experience of God beginning at an early age. As a Benedictine Nun, she cultivated her interests in Natural History, Scripture, Music, Science and Medicine. Hildegard led her order as an Abbess. She understood the value of women practicing autonomy from patriarchal orders. She was respected by the Pope and wrote deeply spiritual reflections based on her visions. She also wrote about nature and medicine. Here are some things she said:
The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.
The fire has its flame and praises God.
The wind blows the flame and praises God.
In the voice we hear the word which praises God.
And the word, when heard, praises God.
So all of creation is a song of praise to God.
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.
One of the earliest morality plays still in existence is her musical, Ordo Virtutum. Below is a video of this play about the conflict between goodness and evil. The work of goodness is to protect the soul.