Posts Tagged ‘People of God’

On Finally Finishing a Book from My Father Twenty-Five Years Later

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Our family has an established tradition of passing books around as loaners or gifts, and a related running joke about not reading them. Then dangerously, we sometimes do read them!

My late father had a saying that “If you learned one thing” from reading a certain book or attending a course or a certain workshop, it was probably worth it.

I remember, on my father’s side of the family, both my grandfather’s and my father’s enthusiasm about certain classic self-help books in positive mental attitude tradition that I eventually dutifully and substantially read. My grandfather especially liked stories in the Horatio Alger spirit of success after adversity, and also relished various guaranteed cures for arthritis (these I read in my pre-teen years, and have served me in good stead).

Grandpa used the expression, “Go Getter,” to express his approval of a person who took initiative, then with great ceremony, gave his grandchildren a quarter (because we had not as yet learned the proverbial “Value of a Dollar”). If one remained at Grandpa’s side long enough, he would tell his life story, while also explaining the Gold Standard. I recently found what I think was the book by Peter Bernard Kyne from the early 1920s that popularized this expression, Go Getter.

On my mother’s side, my Canadian great-grandmother gave me a book, The Incredible Journey, that she absolutely loved, and I never absolutely finished. Our kids did love the movie, which I watched over and again with them through various Disney movie remakes over several decades. Their great-great grandmother would be very pleased. I suspect our grandchildren will soon watch one of these movies, thereby honoring the memory of their great-great-great grandmother.

In fact, so many were the books passed on to me in my youth that my father presented me the summer gift when I was fourteen of attending an Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics course. During this course, I completed Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger in five minutes. (It’s about a man who killed an Arab on a beach, and who thought a lot about the meaning of life, right?) At my peak I was blazing along at thousands of words a minute, although this capacity has faded with the years and with the eyes. But I do recall how sad it was to read an entire comic book in a few seconds. . .

I must admit I used this speed-reading technique from time to time on books my Dad gave to me. In doing so, I performed two “Dad” acts at the same time. Our family does try to kill several birds with one stone whenever possible.

(I’m also reminded that my high school students over thirty years ago referred to Albert Camus as Famous Camus, to rhyme with a notable maker of chocolate chip cookies.)

A few weeks ago, while still recuperating from surgery, I more closely studied a book that my Dad gave to me twenty-five years ago, and to which I gave a quick skim then. This book is the Ratzinger Report (1985), based upon a series of interviews of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with journalist Vittorio Messori, the first in the now genre of Joseph Ratzinger interview books in English, which continued to currently number four, the latter three–Salt of the Earth (1997), God and the World (2000), and Light of the World (2010)–being with journalist Peter Seewald. A similar kind of record, although comprised of addresses and correspondence, can be found in Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, and Islam (2006), by Joseph Ratzinger and Marcello Pera.

Joseph Ratzinger’s (Benedict XVI’s) interview books, while formal and not aphoristic in structure, provide something of a historic, theological, and cultural counterweight to Martin Luther’s informal and aphoristic Tischreden, or Table Talk, and now outnumber the corpus of Luther’s Tischreden by a page factor of almost four to one.

(Speaking of Luther, I chanced upon a bon mot quoted by the great Luther scholar Jaroslav Pelikan in his book, Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures, in which he quotes the saying, “The Reformation began, so the saying went, when there was a pope on the seven hills of Rome, but now there were seven popes on every dunghill in Germany.”)

I have spent many hours reading (not speed-reading) the writings of Joseph Ratzinger over the past several decades, and can definitely number many more than “one thing” I learned from him. His gentle demeanor belies the prayerful depth and clarity of his insights and summations.

One key insight contained in the Ratzinger Report is an interpretation of the Vatican II concept of “People of God,” which has been popular since the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, and which seems to have dominated the theology of the Church after the Council.

“That’s true [said then Cardinal Ratzinger]. There was and there still is this emphasis, which in the Council texts, however, is balanced with others that complete it, a balance that has been lost with many theologians. Yet, contrary to what the latter think, in this way there is a risk of moving backward rather than forward. Here indeed is even the danger of abandoning the New Testament in order to return to the Old.

‘People of God’ in Scripture, in fact, is a reference to Israel in its relationship of prayer and fidelity to the Lord. But to limit the definition of the Church to that expression [People of God] means not to give understanding to the New Testament understanding of the Church in its fullness. Here ‘People of God’ actually refers always to the Old Testament element of the Church, to her continuity with Israel.

But the Church receives her New Testament character more distinctively in the concept of the ‘Body of Christ’. One is Church and one is a member thereof, not through sociological adherence, but precisely through incorporation in this Body of the Lord through baptism and the Eucharist.

Behind the concept of the Church as the People of God, which has been so exclusively thrust into the foreground today, hide influences of ecclesiologies which de facto revert to the Old Testament; and perhaps also political, partisan, and collectivist influences. In reality, there is no truly New Testament, Catholic concept of Church without a direct and vital relation not only with sociology but first of all with christology. The Church does not exhaust herself in the ‘collective’ of believers: being the ‘Body of Christ’ she is much more than the simple sum of her members.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, 1985, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, pp. 46-47. Paragraphing above mine.

Then Cardinal Ratzinger’s words on the limitations of the expression “People of God,” and his preference for the simultaneous use of the expression “Body of Christ” along with “People of God,” sum up the fundamental difference between those with a mere political interpretation of Vatican II, as opposed to an integration of the social and the sacramental. I agree with Joseph Ratzinger that the Church is definitely more than the sum of her members, and that using the phrase People of God exclusively without also invoking the Body of Christ is to rely substantially upon pre-Gospel traditions. The People of God and the Body of Christ belong together not only when describing the Church, but when witnessing to Christ as part of His Church. This theology of combining the social with the sacramental is very similar to that of Msgr. Reynold Hillenbrand, of whom I’ve written previously.

On a different note, one of the theological questions that has returned to me throughout my life is the question of the Fall and of the necessity for Redemption, in other words, What happened after Creation that was so bad that it required Christ to have to suffer, die, and rise to save us?

The question of the Fall is one that Joseph Ratzinger has expressed the wish to write about in retirement because of its critical importance. Here is his answer to a question about the Fall from 1985:

“The biblical narrative of the origins does not relate events in the sense of modern historiography, but rather, it speaks through images. It is a narrative that reveals and hides at the same time. But the underpinning elements are reasonable, and the reality of the dogma must at all events be safeguarded. The Christian would be remiss toward his brethren if he did not proclaim the Christ who first and foremost brings redemption from sin; if he did not proclaim the reality of the alienation (the ‘Fall’) and, at the same time, he did not proclaim that, in order to effect a restoration of our original nature, a help from outside is necessary; if he did not proclaim that the insistence upon self-realization, upon self-salvation does not lead to redemption, but to destruction; finally, if he did not proclaim that, in order to be saved, it is necessary to abandon oneself to Love.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, 1985, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, pg 81.

The questions of the Fall (What was it?) and of Redemption (Why was Christ’s Death and Resurrection necessary?) remain challenging indeed. But I very much like Cardinal Ratzinger’s point that we must realize that we cannot save ourselves, and that to be saved we must abandon ourselves to Love.

So, although, it’s twenty-five years too late, I thank my late father again for the book (I did thank him back then as well). Had he not given it to me, I would not have encountered the holy wisdom imparted by Pope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger.

That’s the nice thing about a book as a gift. It patiently waits for one to tolle, lege, to take and to read.

© Copyright 2013, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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The Sibyl of the Rhine

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

September 17 marks the date on which several places in the world recall Benedictine Abbess St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), one of the only medieval composers to win a Grammy award centuries later, in her case for the 1982 album (recorded in 1981) A Feather on the Breath of God.

Source: Public Domain, Miniatur aus dem Rupertsberger Codex des Liber Scivias.

But Hildegard was much more than a great composer of music of incomparable beauty. She stands among the most extraordinary polymaths, or universal geniuses, in human history. Hildegard served as a fountain-head of European music and drama, of gynecology, of psychology, and mystical theology.

“No woman previous to Hildegard revealed such a wide range of knowledge and creative thought. The extraordinary breadth of her writing skills, which ranged from music to drama, to scientific texts on the classification of stones and herbs, to theological speculation, to language games, to the philosophy of psychology, reveal a genius unparalleled by a woman and matched by very few men up to the twelfth century. The additional discovery that Hildegard was the first person to develop an original theory in support of the philosophy of sex complementarity makes her contribution to the history of the concept of woman in relation to man all the more significant.”

From Prudence Allen, The Concept of Woman: The Aristotelian Revolution, 750 BC-AD 1250, 1985, Eden Press, p. 295.

“Among the countless ‘firsts’ and ‘onlies’ to her credit, Hildegard was the only woman of her age to be accepted as an authoritative voice on Christian doctrine; the first woman who received express permission from a pope to write theological books; the only medieval woman who preached openly, before mixed audiences of clergy and laity, with the full approval of church authorities; the author of the first known morality play and the only twelfth-century playwright who is not anonymous; the only composer of her era (not to mention the only medieval woman) known both by name and by a large corpus of surviving music; the first scientific writer to discuss sexuality and gynecology from a female perspective; and the first saint whose official biography includes a first-person memoir.”

From Barbara Newman, Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World, 1998, University of California, p. 1.

Prudence Allen described Hildegard’s pioneering work in medicine and psychology:

“Benedictine monasteries often had a hospice for pilgrims and for the sick. Hildegard worked as a nurse-physician in the hospice connected to her monastery. As a result of her acute powers of observation and organization of information, she wrote a scientific treatise classifying the curative powers of herbs. More germane to the question of sex identity, Hildegard also wrote a text in which she analysed the biological composition of men and women and the effects of these factors on personality and human interaction. In Causae et Curae, one of the earliest books on the psychology of personality written in the west, Hildegard produced numerous personal observations on human nature. In this way, she functions as a philosopher who supports her views with empirical evidence. Therefore, although Hildegard claims to have received her knowledge directly from God, when the texts she wrote are examined in some detail, they reveal a sophisticated philosophical mind generating fresh and original hypotheses in new areas of thought.”

Prudence Allen, Ibid.

But Hildegard was also a visionary, as can be seen from her parable of the feather:

“A strong king sat in his hall, high pillars before him covered in gold bands and adorned with pearls and precious stones. And the king chose to touch a tiny feather, so that it soared up marvelously, and strong wind bore it up so that it did not fall. . . .

Listen now: a king sat on his throne, high pillars before him splendidly adorned and set on pediments of ivory. They showed the king’s vestments in great honor everywhere. then the king chose to lift a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly just as the king himself wished. But a feather does not fly of its own accord; it is borne up by the air. So too I am not imbued with human doctrine or strong powers. Nor do I desire good bodily health. Rather, I depend entirely on God’s help.”

From Mark Atherton, Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings, 2001, Penguin, p. xxvi.

In her book Scivias, (Scire or vias Domini, or vias lucis, to know the ways of the Lord, or of light), Hildegard views the human person within both a theological and anthropological perspective:

“A human being contains three paths: namely, soul, body and senses. On these three paths, human life runs its course. The soul fills the body with life and brings forth the senses; for its part the body attracts the soul to it and opens up the senses; in turn the senses touch the body and draw the soul to them. The soul provides the body with life like fire flooding the darkness with light; it has two major powers like two arms: the understanding and the will. Not that the soul has these limbs to move herself about; rather she reveals herself in these two powers like the sun manifesting itself in the splendour of its light. Therefore human being, you are not a bundle of veins; pay attention to the knowledge of the scriptures.”

Atherton, Ibid., p. 7.

Hildegard possessed great insight into human behavior. She generated a typology of both male and female personalities. According to Prudence Allen, Hildegard “developed a unique theory of the complementarity of woman and man both within the internal structure of their personal identity as well as in the external dynamics of their interaction in either married or celibate relationships.” Hildegard deeply understood the role of friendship in successful relationships between women and men, whether these relationships were physically intimate or celibate.

Hildegard also considered the physical effects of celibacy on men and women. She concluded that some types of men and some types of women needed an intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex to that point that these suffered in terms of their health and happiness without it. She also held that social, non-intimate relations between men and women contributed to their general health and happiness, and that of a certain personality group of women, “when they do avoid the company of men, they are quite difficult and unbearable in their manners.”

One fiery type of man was to be avoided by women:

“[These] love coition with women and are anxious to get out of other men’s way and to avoid them, for they are more inclined to women than to men. . . . As soon as they get sight of a woman, hear of one or simply fancy one in thought, their blood is burning with a blaze. Their eyes are kept fixed on the object of their love like arrows as soon as they catch sight of it.”

Prudence Allen, Ibid., p. 305

Hildegard considered another type of man as being hateful of women. But she regarded a second, more balanced personality type of man who:

“tames the fiery power within themselves. . . That is why one refers to them as a golden edifice of sexual embrace. . . With women they can have an honorable and fruitful relationship. The eyes of such men can meet squarely with those of the women, much in contrast to those other men’s eyes that were fixed on them like arrows.”

Prudence Allen, Ibid.

There is so much more to Hildegard of Bingen than the short excerpts above. I highly recommend Prof. Barbara Newman’s edited volume herein mentioned, Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World. Of Sr. Prudence Allen, RSM’s multi-volume work, The Concept of Woman, the several pages (292-315) of the first volume devoted to Hildegard of Bingen provide an essential summary of Hildegard’s views on sexual complementarity and personality.

I might add that Sr. Allen’s magisterial multi-volume work, the Concept of Woman, provides a critical resource for insight into human society and ideas, and is too often the intellectual road not taken by those who begin their expositions on “race, class, and gender” without sufficient study or reflection.

I must in addition emphatically state that Professor Barbara Newman is a stupendous scholar who has opened up new views of the medieval world. Her earlier book on St. Hildegard, Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard’s Theology of the Feminine, merits close study and reflection.

The following resources also provide useful introductions to the significance of Hildegard of Bingen–

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07351a.htm


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen

One partial online edition of: Scivias.

Atherton’s edited: Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings.

Benedict XVI recently spoke about St. Hildegard during his 9/1/10 General Audience and his 9/8/10 General Audience. Multilingual videos of these audiences are also available:

9/1/10 audience video

9/8/10 audience video

In his 9/8/10 General Audience, Benedict XVI referred in several ways to St. Hildegard as an example for today’s Christian faith, witness, and for church reform. I think it better to combine the entire 9/1/10 and 9/8/10 audience statements below to keep these reflections in context:

Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In 1988, on the occasion of the Marian Year, Venerable John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter entitled Mulieris Dignitatem on the precious role that women have played and play in the life of the Church. “The Church”, one reads in it, “gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine “genius’ which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness” (n. 31).

Various female figures stand out for the holiness of their lives and the wealth of their teaching even in those centuries of history that we usually call the Middle Ages. Today I would like to begin to present one of them to you: St Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in Germany in the 12th century. She was born in 1098, probably at Bermersheim, Rhineland, not far from Alzey, and died in 1179 at the age of 81, in spite of having always been in poor health. Hildegard belonged to a large noble family and her parents dedicated her to God from birth for his service. At the age of eight she was offered for the religious state (in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, chapter 59), and, to ensure that she received an appropriate human and Christian formation, she was entrusted to the care of the consecrated widow Uda of Gölklheim and then to Jutta of Spanheim who had taken the veil at the Benedictine Monastery of St Disibodenberg. A small cloistered women’s monastery was developing there that followed the Rule of St Benedict. Hildegard was clothed by Bishop Otto of Bamberg and in 1136, upon the death of Mother Jutta who had become the community magistra (Prioress), the sisters chose Hildegard to succeed her. She fulfilled this office making the most of her gifts as a woman of culture and of lofty spirituality, capable of dealing competently with the organizational aspects of cloistered life. A few years later, partly because of the increasing number of young women who were knocking at the monastery door, Hildegard broke away from the dominating male monastery of St Disibodenburg with her community, taking it to Bingen, calling it after St Rupert and here she spent the rest of her days. Her manner of exercising the ministry of authority is an example for every religious community: she inspired holy emulation in the practice of good to such an extent that, as time was to tell, both the mother and her daughters competed in mutual esteem and in serving each other.

During the years when she was superior of the Monastery of St Disibodenberg, Hildegard began to dictate the mystical visions that she had been receiving for some time to the monk Volmar, her spiritual director, and to Richardis di Strade, her secretary, a sister of whom she was very fond. As always happens in the life of true mystics, Hildegard too wanted to put herself under the authority of wise people to discern the origin of her visions, fearing that they were the product of illusions and did not come from God. She thus turned to a person who was most highly esteemed in the Church in those times: St Bernard of Clairvaux, of whom I have already spoken in several Catecheses. He calmed and encouraged Hildegard. However, in 1147 she received a further, very important approval. Pope Eugene iii, who was presiding at a Synod in Trier, read a text dictated by Hildegard presented to him by Archbishop Henry of Mainz. The Pope authorized the mystic to write down her visions and to speak in public. From that moment Hildegard’s spiritual prestige continued to grow so that her contemporaries called her the “Teutonic prophetess”. This, dear friends, is the seal of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of every charism: the person endowed with supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never flaunts them and, above all, shows complete obedience to the ecclesial authority. Every gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit, is in fact intended for the edification of the Church and the Church, through her Pastors, recognizes its authenticity.

I shall speak again next Wednesday about this great woman, this “prophetess” who also speaks with great timeliness to us today, with her courageous ability to discern the signs of the times, her love for creation, her medicine, her poetry, her music, which today has been reconstructed, her love for Christ and for his Church which was suffering in that period too, wounded also in that time by the sins of both priests and lay people, and far better loved as the Body of Christ. Thus St Hildegard speaks to us; we shall speak of her again next Wednesday. Thank you for your attention.

BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 1st September 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I would like to take up and continue my Reflection on St Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the Middle Ages who was distinguished for her spiritual wisdom and the holiness of her life. Hildegard’s mystical visions resemble those of the Old Testament prophets: expressing herself in the cultural and religious categories of her time, she interpreted the Sacred Scriptures in the light of God, applying them to the various circumstances of life. Thus all those who heard her felt the need to live a consistent and committed Christian lifestyle. In a letter to St Bernard the mystic from the Rhineland confesses: “The vision fascinates my whole being: I do not see with the eyes of the body but it appears to me in the spirit of the mysteries…. I recognize the deep meaning of what is expounded on in the Psalter, in the Gospels and in other books, which have been shown to me in the vision. This vision burns like a flame in my breast and in my soul and teaches me to understand the text profoundly” (Epistolarium pars prima I-XC: CCCM 91).

Hildegard’s mystical visions have a rich theological content. They refer to the principal events of salvation history, and use a language for the most part poetic and symbolic. For example, in her best known work entitled Scivias, that is, “You know the ways” she sums up in 35 visions the events of the history of salvation from the creation of the world to the end of time. With the characteristic traits of feminine sensitivity, Hildegard develops at the very heart of her work the theme of the mysterious marriage between God and humanity that is brought about in the Incarnation. On the tree of the Cross take place the nuptials of the Son of God with the Church, his Bride, filled with grace and the ability to give new children to God, in the love of the Holy Spirit (cf. Visio tertia: PL 197, 453c).

From these brief references we already see that theology too can receive a special contribution from women because they are able to talk about God and the mysteries of faith using their own particular intelligence and sensitivity. I therefore encourage all those who carry out this service to do it with a profound ecclesial spirit, nourishing their own reflection with prayer and looking to the great riches, not yet fully explored, of the medieval mystic tradition, especially that represented by luminous models such as Hildegard of Bingen.

The Rhenish mystic is also the author of other writings, two of which are particularly important since, like Scivias, they record her mystical visions: they are the Liber vitae meritorum (Book of the merits of life) and the Liber divinorum operum (Book of the divine works), also called De operatione Dei. In the former she describes a unique and powerful vision of God who gives life to the cosmos with his power and his light. Hildegard stresses the deep relationship that exists between man and God and reminds us that the whole creation, of which man is the summit, receives life from the Trinity. The work is centred on the relationship between virtue and vice, which is why human beings must face the daily challenge of vice that distances them on their way towards God and of virtue that benefits them. The invitation is to distance themselves from evil in order to glorify God and, after a virtuous existence, enter the life that consists “wholly of joy”. In her second work that many consider her masterpiece she once again describes creation in its relationship with God and the centrality of the human being, expressing a strong Christo-centrism with a biblical-Patristic flavour. The Saint, who presents five visions inspired by the Prologue of the Gospel according to St John, cites the words of the Son to the Father: “The whole task that you wanted and entrusted to me I have carried out successfully, and so here I am in you and you in me and we are one” (Pars III, Visio X: PL 197, 1025a).

Finally, in other writings Hildegard manifests the versatility of interests and cultural vivacity of the female monasteries of the Middle Ages, in a manner contrary to the prejudices which still weighed on that period. Hildegard took an interest in medicine and in the natural sciences as well as in music, since she was endowed with artistic talent. Thus she composed hymns, antiphons and songs, gathered under the title: Symphonia Harmoniae Caelestium Revelationum (Symphony of the Harmony of Heavenly Revelations), that were performed joyously in her monasteries, spreading an atmosphere of tranquillity and that have also come down to us. For her, the entire creation is a symphony of the Holy Spirit who is in himself joy and jubilation.

The popularity that surrounded Hildegard impelled many people to seek her advice. It is for this reason that we have so many of her letters at our disposal. Many male and female monastic communities turned to her, as well as Bishops and Abbots. And many of her answers still apply for us. For instance, Hildegard wrote these words to a community of women religious: “The spiritual life must be tended with great dedication. At first the effort is burdensome because it demands the renunciation of caprices of the pleasures of the flesh and of other such things. But if she lets herself be enthralled by holiness a holy soul will find even contempt for the world sweet and lovable. All that is needed is to take care that the soul does not shrivel” (E. Gronau, Hildegard. Vita di una donna profetica alle origini dell’età moderna, Milan 1996, p. 402). And when the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa caused a schism in the Church by supporting at least three anti-popes against Alexander iii, the legitimate Pope, Hildegard did not hesitate, inspired by her visions, to remind him that even he, the Emperor, was subject to God’s judgement. With fearlessness, a feature of every prophet, she wrote to the Emperor these words as spoken by God: “You will be sorry for this wicked conduct of the godless who despise me! Listen, O King, if you wish to live! Otherwise my sword will pierce you!” (ibid., p. 412).

With the spiritual authority with which she was endowed, in the last years of her life Hildegard set out on journeys, despite her advanced age and the uncomfortable conditions of travel, in order to speak to the people of God. They all listened willingly, even when she spoke severely: they considered her a messenger sent by God. She called above all the monastic communities and the clergy to a life in conformity with their vocation. In a special way Hildegard countered the movement of German cátari (Cathars). They cátari means literally “pure” advocated a radical reform of the Church, especially to combat the abuses of the clergy. She harshly reprimanded them for seeking to subvert the very nature of the Church, reminding them that a true renewal of the ecclesial community is obtained with a sincere spirit of repentance and a demanding process of conversion, rather than with a change of structures. This is a message that we should never forget. Let us always invoke the Holy Spirit, so that he may inspire in the Church holy and courageous women, like St Hildegard of Bingen, who, developing the gifts they have received from God, make their own special and valuable contribution to the spiritual development of our communities and of the Church in our time.

BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Paul VI Hall,
Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Let’s let St. Hildegarde speak in her own words:

O choruscans lux stellarum,
o splendidissima specialis forma
regalium nuptiarum,
o fulgens gemma,
tu es ornata in alta persona,
quae non habet maculatam rugam.

Tu es etiam socia Angelorum
et civis sanctorum.

Fuge, fuge speluncam antiqui perditoris,
et veniens veni in palatium Regis.

If you search the Web on any five or six consecutive words of text above, you will surely find a translation.

For Hildegard events and items of interest, consult the website of the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies.

(The name Hildegard refers to a battle stronghold. I offer this post in honor of my great aunt, Hildegarde A. Schorsch, MD (1903-2000), a pioneering female physician in Chicago and faithful Catholic.)

© Copyright 2010, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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