“God has illuminated me in both eyes. By them I see light in the darkness, through them I choose the path I must travel. Whether I am sighted or blind, I call upon the invisible visible for guidance day and night” Her Spirituality awakens us both then and now to the mystery found in abundant life, yet not necessarily what the church or classic theology has called spiritual.
Hildegard of Bingam; Insight for the Modern Thinker.
Hildegard of Binham was a female prophet, 1090, in a patriarchal culture and male dominated church like today. She criticized the church of her time and its male dominate society trying to bring about change for the future desiring a more inclusive understanding of God in the here and now. She offered her wisdom and teaching to women like a female prophet who experienced suffering, rejection, domination and powerlessness. She castigates men for their moral blindness, going as far as placing societies divisive manipulations which separate male and female in the same league with the devil.
She laments, “I fear greatly the power and condemnation which will rain upon me, but I fear more Gods judgment if I fear to speak.” The Dali Lama said that women need to speak today more than ever. She was the first medieval woman to speak on woman’s issues stating clearly how men and women are biologically different but equal partners in Gods creative work, those of her age and our age today.
In 1940 the Vatican finally acknowledged her sanctity and made her a saint. Her feast day is September 17th.The Vatican is currently in the process of recognizing her as a Doctor of the Church, of which there has only been 5 previously. Ask How many Doctors of the church have been men?
Mysticism instead of Doctrine
The ecological holiness and divine order Hildegard’s writings which spoke one thousand years ago are meant to rescue divinity from obscurity. She sought the divine which flows from the human heart like the suns rays flow from the sun. This burning holy spirit kindles the hearts of humankind and gathers light for the soul. The holy spirit resurrects and awakens everything that is.
Her art depicted the symbolic and archetypal relationship between matter and spirit. It often represented the fiery life force in and through all creation. Her useful insights and challenging theology explored who is God; as new creation, as emptied, emptying, being, God as Mother; cosmos, trust, cosmic hospitality, earthiness and its meaning for humanity, and compassion as celebration. She had no limited definition of God. She gave us a collection of mandala drawings with expansive ideas orbiting one around another suggesting a limitless cosmos.
Hildegard of Bingen said one thousand years ago that, Science and religion without art is ineffective and violent and arts without science and Religion are ‘vapid’ which means bland, insipid and tasteless. Einstein 800 years later reduced that trinity to “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind”.Their observations are ahead of their time; they reflect the declining scientific morality and religious desert which marks and hinders our society. Take a look at our cultural addictions to valueless food, industrial fast art, violent sports, excessive medicine, empty rituals, unimpressive education, etc. Our contemporary society has managed to separate religion from science while imagining art has nothing to do with either but at what cost.
Know the wise ways from the foolish ways.
I hope it is gradually changing as we come closer to integrating the three through the internet and global communication. Hildegard’s writings reflect her mystic ability to see non dualism interlocking world of microcosmic/macrocosmic. As a Prophet among women she expounded on the need for harmonious balance and spiritual law: nature and history, mysticism and prophecy, psyche and cosmos, healing and belief, morality and understanding, etc.
As a female prophet, she teaches us to look not only at ourselves but our self in relation to all, something our society desperately needs today.