Heritage and Activities and Tourism. In one chapter are briefly contained various visions of the firmament and what its thickness is, together with all the things that are attached to it; of the difficulties from some circles and how they are repelled and tempered by the opposition of others; and of the milky zone that appears in the image of a curved bow. God, the Creator of all things, strengthens the lower elements by the upper ones, and also cleanses sinners by them in punishment; what the density of the firmament and the uniform balance of the earth signify in the human person. Again on the firmament fittingly arranged by its Founder for certain functions with fire, ether, water, the stars, and the winds; where the spark-like scales come from that fall from the bright fire of the uppermost circle and injure both the earth and it inhabitants; what this means for inner retribution. On the moisture that comes forth from the thin air and what its function is; drops of rain are turned into snow by the upper cold, and the thin air defends the earth against the upper elements and makes it fecund.
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In an autobiographical passage included in the Life of St. Hildegard II. But man is also said to be the worker of the Divinity and a shadow of his mysteries, and should in all things reveal the Holy Trinity, for God made him in his image and likeness Gn Translation adapted from St. Nathaniel M. Campbell Washington, D. And I saw as if in the middle of the southern sky an image, beautiful and wonderful in the mystery of God, like a human in form.
Her face was of such beauty and radiance that I could more easily look at the sun than at her; and a great circlet of golden color surrounded her head. Above that head, moreover, in the same circlet appeared another face as of an old man, whose chin and beard touched the crown of the [lower] head.
At the tip of the arc where the right wing curves back, I saw as if the head of an eagle that had eyes of fire, in which appeared the brilliance of the angels as in a mirror.
But at the tip of the arc where the left wing curves back there was as if a human face that shined like the brilliance of the stars. And these faces were turned towards the east. Furthermore, from each shoulder of this image, a single wing stretched forth down to her knees.
She was clothed with a robe like the brilliance of the sun, and in her hands she held a lamb, shining like the light of day. Flying around the circling circlet with my upper wings—with wisdom—I have ordered all things rightly. With the airy wind I quicken all things with some invisible life that sustains them all.
For the air lives in viridity2 and in the flowers, the waters flow as if alive, and the sun lives within its own light. When the moon has waned, it is rekindled by the sunlight to live as if anew, and the stars shine bright as if by living in their own light.
I have established too the pillars that contain the whole circle of the earth—the winds. The stronger winds have wings set below them, which are the lighter winds, and these uphold the stronger winds with their lightness, lest they dangerously unleash themselves; in the same way the body covers and contains the soul, lest it should expire.
Likewise, as the breath of the soul binds together the body by strengthening it so that it does not weaken, so the stronger winds also animate those subject to them, to fulfill their functions appropriately. I am also 1 Cf. Sir Whirling, you encircle and everything embrace in the single way of life.
Explanatio Symboli Sancti Athanasii, ed. Evans, in CCCM , pp. For rationality is the root, and the resounding Word flourishes within it. For it was always determined from eternity that God would will his work—humankind—to come into being; and when he perfected this work, he gave all creation to them so that they might do their work with it, in the same way that God himself had made his work, that is, humankind.
God is this life, self-moving and active, yet one life in three energies. And again I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: God, who created all things, made humankind in his image and likeness, and in them he signified both the higher and the lower creatures. He held them in such loving affection that he destined them for that place from which the falling angel was cast out, and he ordained them for the glory and honor that that angel in his blessedness had lost.
Newman, Sister of Wisdom, p. LVM 1. Hildegard, Explanatio Symboli Sancti Athanasii, pp. Newman Sister of Wisdom, pp. Thus her face is of such beauty and radiance that you could more easily look at the sun than at her: for the abundance of Love is of so great an excellence in the flashing gleam of her gifts, that she surpasses all human understanding and the faculty of knowledge by which humans are able to understand various things in the soul— so much so that humans cannot in any way grasp Love with the senses.
But this shows symbolically that through her, he is recognized in faith who is not seen visibly with the visible eyes. So one God is understood in Trinity, who without temporal beginning before the ages was God in divinity.
For divinity holds fast the lofty reaches of supreme Love by arranging and protecting all things, as when the Son of God in his humanity led lost humankind back to heavenly things. For love of God and love of neighbor are not to be separated from each other, for they proceed through the power of Divine Love in the unity of faith and embrace that faith between them through supreme desire. At the tip of the arc where the right wing curves back, you see as if the head of an eagle that has eyes of fire, in which appear the multitude of the angels as in a mirror.
For when in the soaring heights of triumphant submission, someone makes himself subject to God and overcomes the devil, he is made lofty in the blessedness of divine protection. For this reason the blessed spirits, gazing intently upon God, rejoice because of the good works of the just and show forth these works in themselves, and so they continue in their praise of God and never grow weary, for they can never reach the end of his praise.
For truly, who can count the numberless wonders that God does in the power of his ability? No one. Indeed, there is present to the angels a many-mirrored flash in which they see that none can act and none has such power as God: there is none like him, for he has no temporality. See Nathaniel M. All things indeed that God has worked, he held in his foreknowledge before the beginning of time. For in the pure and holy divinity, all things visible and invisible appeared without movement and outside of time, before the ages, just as trees or other creatures near water are seen in the water, for although they are not physically in it, their every shape appears in it.
For as all things shine in the mirror before which they stand, so in the holy divinity all his works appeared outside of the passage of time. And how could God lack the work he foreknew, since his every work, after it is clothed with a body, fulfills the task appointed for it, because the holy divinity foreknew how to be present in knowing, understanding, and serving?
There was, however, a numberless multitude of angels who wished to exist on their own, for when they saw their own radiance, great and glorious in its flashing brilliance, they forgot their Creator. For when they saw that they could never reach the end of his wonders, they hated him; and though they ought to have praised him, with a foolish thought they declared that in their great splendor they would choose another god.
Thus they fell into darkness, reduced to such impotence that they could do nothing to any creature except inasmuch as it was allowed them by their Creator. For because God had adorned the first angel, who was called Lucifer, with all of the ornaments of creation that he would give to every created thing, so that the whole rank [of angels] received its splendor from him, so, when he rebelled, he was made more horrifying than every horror, for the holy divinity in its zeal cast him out into the place that is without light.
But at the tip of the arc where the left wing curves back there is as if a human face that shines like the brilliance of the stars. Augustine, De civitate Dei Then God caused another life, which he contained within a body, to arise, and this is humankind. To them he gave the place and the glory of the lost angel, to complete in the praise of God what the latter had refused to do. Moreover, in that human face are signified those people who, though given to the world in body, yet serve God continually in spirit and do not, on account of this body that remains in and of the world, forget what is of the spirit in the service of God.
And these faces are turned towards the east, for both spiritual and secular people who desire to serve God and keep their souls in life ought to convert themselves to the dawn of a holy way of life and blessedness. For in the knowledge of Love, humankind has been led in soul and body to the fullness of pure integrity, though they are very often moved away from an upright and steadfast posture.
When the gifts of the Holy Spirit pour forth upon them from above in pure and holy abundance, they teach them many things about heavenly and spiritual matters.
They also instruct humans in a different way about earthly concerns for the necessary use of the body—though humans understand that in these matters they are weak and infirm and mortal, despite being defended by these manifold gifts. Moreover, she is clothed with a robe like the brilliance of the sun. And in her hands she holds a lamb, shining like the light of day, for in the works of the Son of God, Love offered the gentleness of true faith, shining above all things, when he chose from among the tax collectors and sinners his martyrs, confessors, and penitents, and when out of the wicked he made the righteous, as when he made Paul from Saul, so that they might fly upon the wings of the winds Ps  , that is, upon the heavenly harmony.
Thus, Love completed her work deliberately, one small and distinct piece at a time, so that in it there would be no weakness but rather all fullness. Humans cannot do this, for when they have even the slightest potential of doing something, they can barely keep at it long enough to bring it to completion so that others can see it.
A person should think upon these things within himself, for the little bird, when it first hatches from the egg and does not yet have feathers, does not hurry to fly; but after it has received its feathers, it flies to the place it sees as most fitting for itself. Moreover, she is treading with her feet a monster, dreadful in appearance and venomous and black in color, and also a serpent.
Likewise, she bruises the 14 Cf. For the serpent, who in his trickery is more cunning than other worms Gn , destroys in that cunning everything he can and turns it to himself in the worst possible way, which the various colors of his skin also signify. Satan, too, acted this way, for when he recognized his own beauty, he wished that he could be like his Creator. This is also what he whispered to Man as if through the head of the serpent, and he will not stop doing so until the end of time, as signified by his tail.
And so Love is in the wheel of eternity outside of time, 15 just as heat is in fire. For God foreknew in eternity all his created beings, which he brought forth in the fullness of Love so that humans would lack in them no refreshment or service, for he joined them to humankind as flames are to fire. Moreover, God established the first angel with very many adornments, as described above, but when the latter saw himself, he looked upon his Lord with hatred and wished himself to be lord.
But God cast him down into the well of the abyss. Then that transgressor introduced his evil plan to Man, and Man consented to it. For when God created Man, he clothed him with heavenly clothing, to shine in great radiance. Then the woman, sensing that in tasting of the fruit she had become something different, gave the fruit to her husband—and so both lost their heavenly clothing. Indeed, God joined woman to man by the oath of fidelity, so that this fidelity between them might never be destroyed, but that they should come together as one in mind, just as God joined them together into one, body and soul.
And as Adam is the father of the whole human race, so too through the Son of God, who was incarnate in virgin nature, has come forth a spiritual people, who will ascend as God promised 15 See further Book of Divine Works 3.
For as long as humans taste of what is of the flesh, they will not be able fully to grasp what is of the spirit. It shall rise up and shine many times over in blessed virtues before the supreme God, just as the stars twinkle in the firmament. So God chose from his stock that sleeping earth that had no knowledge at all of the taste of that by which the ancient serpent deceived the first woman. For when she received from the throne the message that the Highest King wished to live in her enclosure, she looked upon that earth from which she was created and replied that she was the handmaid of God Lk The woman who was first deceived [i.
Eve] did not do this, since she desired to have what she ought not to have had. Thus, the Son of God, whom the ram hanging in the thorn-bushes had prefigured, put on the clothing of flesh in her.
Furthermore, when God said that the race of Abraham would be multiplied according to the stars of heaven, he foresaw that this race should be reckoned as the full number of the celestial court.
And since Abraham trusted faithfully in God in all things, so he is called the father of those who will be the heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. And so all who fear and love God should lay open the devotion of their hearts to these words and know that they have been offered for the saving of humans in body and soul, not indeed by a human being, but by me, the One who am Ex Similar exhortations close each vision in Scivias and LVM.
Liber divinorum operum
Biography[ edit ] Hildegard was born around the year , although the exact date is uncertain. Her parents were Mechtild of Merxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim, a family of the free lower nobility in the service of the Count Meginhard of Sponheim. Her letter to Guibert of Gembloux , which she wrote at the age of seventy- seven, describes her experience of this light with admirable precision: "From my early childhood, before my bones, nerves and veins were fully strengthened, I have always seen this vision in my soul, even to the present time when I am more than seventy years old. In this vision my soul, as God would have it, rises up high into the vault of heaven and into the changing sky and spreads itself out among different peoples, although they are far away from me in distant lands and places. And because I see them this way in my soul, I observe them in accord with the shifting of clouds and other created things. I do not hear them with my outward ears, nor do I perceive them by the thoughts of my own heart or by any combination of my five senses, but in my soul alone, while my outward eyes are open.
Hildegard of Bingen
Category:Liber divinorum operum