Skip to comments.Pope to Canonize and Name Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church
Posted on 12/16/2011 9:49:00 AM PST by marshmallow
December 16, 2011. (Romereports.com) Benedict XVI is set to appoint Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church in October of 2012. She was a German Benedictine nun and was known for her visions and prophecies.
Hildegard of Bingen lived in the twelfth century. In addition to being a nun, she was a composer, philosopher, physicist and ecologist. A multi-talented woman, and a pioneer for many of these fields during the Middle Ages.
She came from a wealthy family and when she was only eight years old was sent to study in a monastery. She eventually decided to become a nun and later became an abbess.
Her visions and prophecies were recognized by the pope during that time, allowing her to speak about them publicly.
Since she has not been officially canonized, the ceremony is likely to take place before the pope names her as a Doctor of the Church in October.
Benedict XVI dedicated several of his general audiences to this German nun, saying that she served the Church in an age in which it was wounded by the sins of priests and laity.
Video: Pope to Canonize and Name Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church
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For a woman of her time, when women were very much limited, that is nothing short than amazing.
I visited the Abbey of St Hildegaard any number of times when I lived near Bingen from 96-2000. Absolutely beautiful location on the Rhine, and hearing the nuns at matins was an awesome experience. It’s definitley worth the trip with other historic and religious site near by. I think I still have a bottle of the wine sold in the Mainz Cathedral at her 900th anniversary celebration: A beautiful bottle with a stained-glass likeness of Hildegaard as part of the bottle. (The abbey is now across the Rhine from Bingen on the Rudesheim side.)
"her theology... Dabhar... earthiness as the meaning of humility... pantheism... divinization ...trust of images ... God as Mother ... fleshy
The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article may be a bit more objective.
“She promoted “God as Mother”:”
Actually what she recognized was the generative power of Christ’s sacrifice. Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich both recognized that Christ’s lance wound would look like the entry way to a womb. Knowing that and their orthodox theology, they saw that Christ’s love filled heart was like a womb, and that His blood sacrifice nurtured the Church (and all the saved thereby). Hence, this (scroll down to the second picture; notice how it is coupled with Adam and Eve above it?):
The Church has long recognized these things:
“Indeed, in the sacrifice of the Cross, Christ gave birth to the Church as his Bride and his body. The Fathers of the Church often meditated on the relationship between Eve’s coming forth from the side of Adam as he slept (cf. Gen 2:21-23) and the coming forth of the new Eve, the Church, from the open side of Christ sleeping in death: from Christ’s pierced side, John recounts, there came forth blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34), the symbol of the sacraments (30). A contemplative gaze “upon him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37) leads us to reflect on the causal connection between Christ’s sacrifice, the Eucharist and the Church. The Church “draws her life from the Eucharist” (31). Since the Eucharist makes present Christ’s redeeming sacrifice, we must start by acknowledging that “there is a causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church’s very origins” (32). The Eucharist is Christ who gives himself to us and continually builds us up as his body. Hence, in the striking interplay between the Eucharist which builds up the Church, and the Church herself which “makes” the Eucharist (33), the primary causality is expressed in the first formula: the Church is able to celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist precisely because Christ first gave himself to her in the sacrifice of the Cross. The Church’s ability to “make” the Eucharist is completely rooted in Christ’s self-gift to her. Here we can see more clearly the meaning of Saint John’s words: “he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). We too, at every celebration of the Eucharist, confess the primacy of Christ’s gift. The causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church’s origins definitively discloses both the chronological and ontological priority of the fact that it was Christ who loved us “first.” For all eternity he remains the one who loves us first.”
Feminists twist this: http://www.sfsu.edu/~medieval/Volume%201/Hudson.html And some Protestants here at FR know too little to speak intelligently about these matters, but that never seems to stop them from posting about them anyway.
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To learn more bump.
The group Anonymous Four did an album several years back of Hildegard’s music called “11,000 Virgins”. It is one of the most beautiful sounds you’ll ever hear, although I actually like their Miracles of Santiago album better. Gotta love the natural reverb you get when you record in a cathedral.
The Indians firmly believe that their culture is, by far, the finest and oldest.
Did you see the movie INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM?
Well, the reason for Jones going to said temple of doom was to get back "Shiva's Linga," an oblong-shaped rock stolen from a poor village which was in DIRE straits because their holy "Linga" had been stolen.
When I heard that I was the ONLY one in the theater who burst out laughing.
A "linga" is a penis. Those villagers worshipped God as a penis.
The Indians really believe that their culture is superior to all others.
Well, it not only that, but Hinduism is inherently syncretistic. Somebody (Peter Kreeft?) wrote that, if you try to tell a Hindu about Jesus, they're likely to say, "Oh, yes ... Jesus was God Incarnate? ... just like all of our best gurus!" The idea that the Incarnation was special and unique is foreign to them; their religion teaches that incarnate gods are commonplace.
I wouldn't draw too many conclusions about anything from an Indiana Jones movie ... I used to call them "Steven Spielberg mocks the world's great religions, Parts I, II, and III". (I have no idea what the last one was about.)
A non-Christian might suppose from Indiana Jones that Christianity is mostly about a knight guarding a table full of cups in a boobytrapped cave in Jordan.
1. I know. Sidhartha Gautama, the Bhudda, was deified immediately by the Hindus even though he (reportedly, since there was no Indian writing at the time, all oral history) repeatedly told the people that he was not God or a god.
The Hindus have some 330 million gods. My husband was SURE that somewhere in India there were Hindus worshipping a '56 Chevy. Nothing surprises me about Hinduism.
2. I don't. In my opinion Spielberg sells movies and he'll sell whatever the market is buying. Anti-religion sells in Sleezywood cuz it validates their sleezy way of life.
3. I think non-Christians know as little about Christianity and Christians know about Hinduism or other faiths. Some hardly know their own faith. Ditto for most people, I think.
The Life and Works of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
IntroductionHildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a remarkable woman, a "first" in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known. She founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed. Although not yet canonized, Hildegard has been beatified, and is frequently referred to as St. Hildegard. Revival of interest in this extraordinary woman of the middle ages was initiated by musicologists and historians of science and religion. Less fortunately, Hildegard's visions and music had been hijacked by the New Age movement, whose music bears some resemblance to Hildegard's ethereal airs. Her story is important to all students of medieval history and culture and an inspirational account of an irresisible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence.
The Early YearsHildegard was born a "10"th child (a tithe) to a noble family. As was customary with the tenth child, which the family could not count on feeding, she was dedicated at birth to the church. The girl started to have visions of luminous objects at the age of tree, but soon realized she was unique in this ability and hid this gift for many years.
At age 8, the family sent this strange girl to an anchoress named Jutta to receive a religious education. Jutta was born into a wealthy and prominent family, and by all accounts was a young woman of great beauty. She spurned all worldly temptations and decided to dedicate her life to god. Instead of entering a convent, Jutta followed a harsher route and became an anchoress. Anchors of both sexes, though from most accounts they seem to be largely women, led an ascetic life, shut off from the world inside a small room, usually built adjacent to a church so that they could follow the services, with only a small window acting as their link to the rest of humanity. Food would be passed through this window and refuse taken out. Most of the time would be spent in prayer, contemplation, or solitary handworking activities, like stitching and embroidering. Because they would become essentially dead to the world, anchors would receive their last rights from the bishop before their confinement in the anchorage. This macabre ceremony was a complete burial ceremony with the anchor laid out on a bier.
Jutta's cell was such an anchorage, except that there was a door through which Hildegard entered, as well as about a dozen of girls from noble families who were attracted there by Jutta's fame in later years. What kind of education did Hildegard receive from Jutta? It was of the most rudimentary form, and Hildegard could never escape the feelings of inadequacy and lack of education. She learned to read Psalter in Latin. Though her grasp of the grammatical intricacies of the language was never complete - she always had secretaries to help her write down her visions - she had a good intuitive feel for the intrintricacies of the language itself, constructing complicated sentences fraught with meanings on many levels, that are still a challenge to students of her writings. The proximity of the anchorage to the church of the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg (it was attached physically to the church) undoubtedly exposed young Hildegard to musical religious services and were the basis for her own musical compositions. After Jutta's death, when Hildegard was 38 years of age, she was elected the head of the budding convent living within cramped walls of the anchorage.
The AwakeningDuring all these years Hildegard confided of her visions only to Jutta and another monk, named Volmar, who was to become her lifelong secretary. However, in 1141, Hildegard had a vision that changed the course of her life. A vision of god gave her instant understanding of the meaning of the religious texts, and commanded her to write down everything she would observe in her visions.
And it came to pass ... when I was 42 years and 7 months old, that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain. And so it kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming... and suddenly I understood of the meaning of expositions of the books...
Yet Hildegard was also overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and hesitated to act.
But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and low opinion of myself and because of diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time a call to write, not out of stubbornness but out of humility, until weighed down by a scourge of god, I fell onto a bed of sickness.The 12th century was also the time of schisms and religious foment, when someone preaching any outlandish doctrine could instantly attract a large following. Hildegard was critical of schismatics, indeed her whole life she preached against them, especially the Cathars. She wanted her visions to be sanctioned, approved by the Catholic Church, though she herself never doubted the divine origins to her luminous visions. She wrote to St. Bernard, seeking his blessings. Though his answer to her was rather perfunctory, he did bring it to the attention of Pope Eugenius (1145-53), a rather enlightened individual who exhorted Hildegard to finish her writings. With papal imprimatur, Hildegard was able to finish her first visionary work Scivias ("Know the Ways of the Lord") and her fame began to spread through Germany and beyond.
Major WorksAround 1150 Hildegard moved her growing convent from Disibodenberg, where the nuns lived alongside the monks, to Bingen about 30 km north, on the banks of the Rhine. She later founded another convent, Eibingen, across the river from Bingen. Her remaining years were very productive. She wrote music and texts to her songs, mostly liturgical plainchant honoring saints and Virgin Mary for the holidays and feast days, and antiphons. There is some evidence that her music and moral play Ordo Virtutum ("Play of Virtues") were performed in her own convent. In addition to Scivias she wrote two other major works of visionary writing Liber vitae meritorum (1150-63) (Book of Life's Merits) and Liber divinorum operum(1163) ("Book of Divine Works"), in which she further expounded on her theology of microcosm and macrocosm-man being the peak of god's creation, man as a mirror through which the splendor of the macrocosm was reflected. Hildegard also authored Physica and Causae et Curae (1150), both works on natural history and curative powers of various natural objects, which are together known as Liber subtilatum ("The book of subtleties of the Diverse Nature of Things"). These works were uncharacteristic of Hildegard's writings, including her correspondences, in that they were not presented in a visionary form and don't contain any references to divine source or revelation. However, like her religious writings they reflected her religious philosophy-that the man was the peak of god's creation and everything was put in the world for man to use.
Her scientific views were derived from the ancient Greek cosmology of the four elements-fire, air, water, and earth-with their complementary qualities of heat, dryness, moisture, and cold, and the corresponding four humours in the body-choler (yellow bile), blood, phlegm, and melancholy (black bile). Human constitution was based on the preponderance of one or two of the humours. Indeed, we still use words "choleric", "sanguine", "phlegmatic" and "melancholy" to describe personalities. Sickness upset the delicate balance of the humours, and only consuming the right plant or animal which had that quality you were missing, could restore the healthy balance to the body. That is why in giving descriptions of plants, trees, birds, animals, stones, Hildegard is mostly concerned in describing that object's quality and giving its medicinal use. Thus, "Reyan (tansy) is hot and a little damp and is good against all superfluous flowing humours and whoever suffers from catarrh and has a cough, let him eat tansy. It will bind humors so that they do not overflow, and thus will lessen."
Hildegard's writings are also unique for their generally positive view of sexual relations and her description of pleasure from the point of view of a woman. They might also contain the first description of the female orgasm.
When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man's seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and soon the woman's sexual organs contract, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can old something enclosed in his fist.She also wrote that strength of semen determined the sex of the child, while the amount of love and passion determine child's disposition. The worst case, where the seed is weak and parents feel no love, leads to a bitter daughter.
Divine HarmoniesMusic was extremely important to Hildegard. She describes it as the means of recapturing the original joy and beauty of paradise. According to her before the Fall, Adam had a pure voice and joined angels in singing praises to god. After the fall, music was invented and musical instruments made in order to worship god appropriately. Perhaps this explains why her music most often sounds like what we imagine angels singing to be like.
Hildegard wrote hymns and sequences in honor of saints, virgins and Mary. She wrote in the plainchant tradition of a single vocal melodic line, a tradition common in liturgical singing of her time. Her music is undergoing a revival and enjoying huge public success. One group, Sequentia, is planning to record all of Hildegard's musical output in time for the 900th anniversary of her birth in 1998. Their latest recording Canticles of Ecstasy is superb. Be sure to read the translations of the latin text of the songs which provide a good example of Hildegard's metaphorical writing, and are imbued with vibrant descriptions of color and light, that also occurs in her visionary writings.
The Most Distinguished Migraine SuffererIt is now generally agreed that Hildegard suffered from migraine, and that her visions were a result of this condition. The way she describes her visions, the precursors, to visions, to debilitating aftereffects, point to classic symptoms of migraine sufferers. Although a number of visual hallucinations may occur, the more common ones described are the "scotomata" which often follow perceptions of phosphenes in the visual field. Scintillating scotomata are also associated with areas of total blindness in the visual field, something Hildegard might have been describing when she spoke of points of intense light, and also the "extinguished stars." Migraine attacks are usually followed by sickness, paralysis, blindness-all reported by Hildegard, and when they pass, by a period of rebound and feeling better than before, a euphoria also described by her. Also, writes Oliver Sachs
Among the strangest and most intense symptoms of migraine aura, and the most difficult of description and analysis, are the occurrences of feelings of sudden familiarity and certitude... or its opposite. Such states are experienced, momentarily and occasionally,by everyone; their occurrence in migraine auras is marked by their overwhelming intensity and relatively long duration.It is a tribute to the remarkable spirit and the intellectual powers of this woman that she was able to turn a debilitating illness into the word of god, and create so much with it.
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I have a book about some of her medical cures, dietary advice and so on. It is fascinating. I’ve always wanted to hear her music, thank you for the link. I hope I can find more. I”m listening now, very beautiful.