downloadable PDF file: Women of Faith Resources September 2017
“Lord, it is time. The summer was very big. Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose. Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“Through this world God encircles and strengthens humankind. Through and through, great power is ours, such that all creation, in all things, stands by us.” ~ Hildegard of Bingen
“Our task, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, was and continues to be the transformation of the effects of evil into something beautiful and good.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Featured Feast Day: September 17:
Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church
Born: September 16, 1098 ~ Died: September 17, 1179
Patroness of creativity, artists and composers, and environmentalists.
Lectio Divina: Scripture for spiritual reading and meditating
For reading on Contemplative, Centering Prayer, visit Contemplative Network.
When considering Hildegard of Bingen’s life many themes can nurture contemplative prayer. Two themes are Friendship and Music as Praise.
On Friendship: John 15:14-17
Hildegard was placed in a monastery at an early age. Her mentor’s name was Jutta. With time, Hildegard moved from having Jutta as protégé and mentor to friend. This deep friendship with Jutta was a “pearl of great price” for Hildegard. Because of her relationship with Jutta, she became learned in many areas: spinning, weaving, gardening, how to prepare salves and tonics, and how to profit from the nutritional value of herbs. Jutta also became Hildegard’s soul friend and guided her on her life’s path as she was becoming ever more transformed by Jesus Christ.
Remember someone who has been mentor and/or friend and has helped you to become the person you are now. What role did that person play in your life? Pray in gratitude for this person’s accompanying you on the pathways of your life.
Remember the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:31-45) or between Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1: 1-18). Imagine what they may have said to one another as they shared the secrets within their hearts.
On Music as Praise: Psalm 92: 1-3; Psalm 108: 1-5
Hildegard has described the importance of music. She once wrote: “… The body is the garment of the soul and it is the soul that gives life to the voice. That’s why the body must raise its voice in harmony with the soul for the praise of God … God should be praised with crashing cymbals … and with all other musical instruments … For all the arts serving human desires and needs are derived from the breath that God sent into the human body.” Hildegard composed songs and chants that were overflowing with poetry, combined with simple melodies. Her songs embodied her spirituality.
In the section below, entitled Audio Divina, you will find references for her music.
Is there some piece of music that truly lifts up your soul? Play a recording of this music or hum the melody and/or sing the words. Let your heart be touched and stay with the feelings evoked by this music.
Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images
YouTube has many music videos featuring compositions by Hildegard of Bingen. Here are three of them:
Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts)
Here are two mandalas created by Hildegard of Bingen. Mandalas were visions revealed to her by God.
The Fiery Cosmic Egg
The fiery cosmic egg is an allegory of the universe as a layered structure sustained in balance by God. Starting at the outermost layer are areas of fire, representing divine purification and judgement; a watery layer for baptism; and the globe made up of four elements. Each of the heavenly bodies have meaning: the solar disk is Christ, sun of justice; the moon is the church, which reflects his light; stars are the works of piety. The egg shape, although reflecting birth, symbolizes the stages of human history.
A mandala’s meaning also lies in the inner eyes of the beholder. What do your inner eyes perceive in this mandala?
The Four Seasons
In this mandala, Hildegard depicts The Four Seasons. Enlarge the image so you can contemplate Hildegard’s vision of the turning of the four seasons: the colors, the shapes, the greening, the four elements (earth, air, fire, water.)
To learn more about mandalas see:
For Spiritual Reading: to learn more about Hildegard of Bingen
Featured “Tour” – The Land of Hildegard of Bingen
This site offers “reams” of information about Hildegard and her times. There is a focus on her influence as visionary, theologian, author, composer (art and music), naturopath, environmentalist, mystic, a friend and advisor to many persons.