I have always seen this light [the cloud of the living light]—Sometimes I behold within this light another light [the living light itself]. And when I look upon it, every sadness and pain vanishes from my memory…
Hildegard of Bingen
The Living Light
Topic: Immanence & Transcendence
From my infancy up to the present time, I now being over seventy years of age, I have always seen this light, in my spirit and not with external eyes, and I name it ‘the cloud of the living light.’ But sometimes I behold within this light another light which I name ‘the living light itself.’ And when I look upon it, every sadness and pain vanishes from my memory, so that I am again as a simple maid and not as an old woman.
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a Benedictine abbess and mystic of medieval Germany. She was born into a noble family in Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany, and entered religious life at the age of eight. She received a rudimentary education, but at the age of forty-two, she began to experience a series of visions that would shape her life and work.
Hildegard described these visions as "the living light," and they were often accompanied by physical sensations such as heat, cold, and pain. She believed that these visions were a gift from God, and she felt called to share them with the world. She began to write down her visions, and she also composed music and poetry to express her spiritual insights.
Hildegard was a prolific writer, and her works cover a wide range of topics, including theology, natural science, medicine, and music. She is best known for her three volumes of visionary theology: Scivias, Liber Vitae Meritorum, and Liber Divinorum Operum. These works are rich in symbolism and imagery, and they offer a unique perspective on the nature of God, the human soul, and the world.
In addition to her writings, Hildegard was also a gifted musician and composer. She wrote over 70 songs, including the Ordo Virtutum, an early example of liturgical drama. Her music is characterized by its simple melodies and its use of plainchant.
Hildegard was a complex and multifaceted figure, and her work continues to inspire and challenge people today. She was a visionary, a mystic, a writer, a composer, a scientist, and a healer. She was also a woman of great courage and determination, and she used her gifts to make a difference in the world.
Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman who left a lasting legacy. She was a pioneer in the fields of theology, natural science, and music, and her work continues to be studied and appreciated today. She was also a powerful voice for women's rights, and she challenged the patriarchal structures of her time. Hildegard of Bingen was a true visionary, and she continues to inspire us with her courage, her intellect, and her creativity.
Easwaran, Eknath. God Makes the Rivers to Flow, Nilgiri Press. [Ford-Grabowsky, Mary. Prayers for All People. Hildegard of Bingen. Doubleday, 1995].
Hildegard of Bingen
Theme: Immanence and Transcendence
- Saint Hildegard, German Mystic, written by: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
- Healthy Hildegard
- Hildegard of Bingen, the Mystic, Healthy Hildegard website
- Wikipedia, Hildegard of Bingen
- Mary Sarratt, Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
- Nature as a Mirror of God Monday, March 12, 2018, Richard Rohr with John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety
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