Catholic Voices USA, a group I am working with my friend Kim Daniels (among others) on to help get more young, fresh, faithful Catholics making the case for the Catholic Church in the public square, will be hosting a series of evening discussions in October on soon-to-be canonized Saint Hildegard of Bingen at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C.
So I’m looking for fans and students of this Doctor of the Church to share with me some of their favorite writings, poems, music, recipes. Feel free to post in the comments or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re not in D.C., I’ll be sure to share some of what is found and discussed here in the coming weeks.
Here NPR pays tribute to the composer.
On October 7, both Hildegard and St. John of Avila will be named doctors of the Church. From a Vatican dispatch this spring:
“These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and cultural environments”, he said. “Hildegard was a Benedictine nun during the height of the German Middle Ages, a true master of theology and a great scholar of the natural sciences and of music. John was a young diocesan priest of the Spanish Renaissance, who participated in the travails of the cultural and spiritual renewal of the Church and society at the dawn of the Modern Age”.
The sanctity of their lives and the profundity of their doctrine mean that these two saints “retain all their importance. The grace of the Holy Spirit enabled them to experience profound understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world, two factors which represent the perennial goal of the life and activity of the Church”.
St. John and St. Hildegard are particularly significant on the eve of the forthcoming Year of Faith, and in light of the new evangelisation to which the Synod of Bishops will be dedicating its attention. “Also in our own day, and through their teaching, the Spirit of the risen Lord continues to make His voice heard and to illuminate the path which leads to the Truth, which is the only thing that can make us free and give full meaning to our lives”, the Pope said.
The Abbess of Bingen describes “a blazing fire, incomprehensible, inextinguishable, wholly living and wholly Life, with a flame in it the color of the sky, which burned ardently with a gentle breath, and which was inseparably within the blazing fire.”
Although the vision itself was given to her in her forties, how she sees this vision is the fruit of a lifetime devoted to searching for God, quaerere Deum. She knows her glimpse into the Fire of Love is an undeserved gift. At the same time, she also knows she was able to receive because she had dedicated herself to studying our faith in the Lord with her whole mind, whole heart, whole soul and whole strength.
Anyone who commits themselves to search so great a mystery becomes acutely aware of being inadequate and unworthy. Such souls learn a humility that knows any wisdom they acquire will not be the result of their own resourcefulness. Instead, they live to behold the Living God with the eyes of faith knowing this vision as an estimable gift which inspires heart-piercing gratitude and reverent movements of adoration. The teachings of St. Hildegard ring with this mystical wisdom.
It’s worth reading it all. Hildegard was a tremendous talent, and a holy daughter of God. In celebrating the first, we’d be missing out to look over the great gift of her holy example.
And do remember to share some of what you love most from her! And do some discovering as we celebrate her life and learn from her during these next weeks.