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Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Prophetess of Germany

Hello, Family and welcome. We’re Bob and Penny Lord, although Penny is directing everything from Heaven. We want to share with you today, a very special Super Saint, St. Hildegard of Bingen, a visionary, a mystic, a doctor of the Church, who is not well known in the United States, but is greatly admired and venerated in Germany and other European countries.

St. Hildegard is called the Sybil of the Rhine meaning seeress. She is not only venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, but also by the Anglican and Lutheran Church and many eastern religions. She is many things. She is a visionary and mystic. She is an author, a composer, a playwright, a person of great learning in many areas, including medicine. Truth be known, there’s not a whole lot that she was not adept at. During her lifetime, she was an advisor to Abbots, Bishops, Popes, Kings as well as the everyday people who asked for her help. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin at the beginning.

She was born in 1098, at Bermersheim, near Mainz. She was the tenth and last child of a noble family. Apparently from her earliest age, she was having visions, actually what we might consider inner locutions today. There was always a bright light followed by a voice. It was an interior voice which she understood rather than heard. She and everyone around her were convinced that she heard the voice of God.

Tradition at that time was to give the tenth child back as a tithe to God by sending her to a Convent. At 8 years old, Hildegard was placed in a Benedictine monastery under the care of Jutta von Sponheim, who was the abbess. Jutta was the youngest of four born into a very rich family in what is called the county of the Rhein-Palatinate. Jutta also was a very spiritual girl. She, too, joined the Benedictine Abbey as a young girl and chose to live a solitary life, in one room with only a small window from which food was passed in and out. A few years later, she was made Abbess of her community. Jutta was a visionary as well, and attracted many young women to her community.

nto this setting young Hildegard was placed and stayed cloistered with Jutta in that one room for the rest of Jutta’s life. Jutta taught her many things about God, (the Opus Dei) the Church, how to read and write and subsequently had the child reading the Psalms, the Canonical Hours, and gave her her first lessons in music, on a zither-like stringed instrument called the psaltery. Music became a great part of Hildegard’s life from that time on.

Jutta became aware of Hildegard’s gifts, especially her visions and locutions. She mentioned them to monks in other abbeys, who were also involved in Hildegard’s Benedictine education, but no one paid much attention to them at the time, except for one Volmar, who became Hildegard’s secretary and friend. Hildegard took her vows as a Benedictine to live in the monastery for life. When Jutta died in 1136, the nuns asked Hildegard to become the Magistra, the equivalent of Consul, teacher, professor. So she was not yet elected Abbess, but she was asked to lead the convent. She eventually came out of her solitary confinement and her wings began to spread.

It was during this time that she was impelled by the Holy Spirit to write down her visions. She tried to ignore the inner voices because she feared public opinion, even though she truly believed in what she had seen and heard. She said: “Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. I also wondered and during my sickness I asked one of my nurses whether she also saw similar things. When she answered no, a great fear befell me. Frequently, in my conversation, I would relate future things, which I saw as if present, but noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent.”

The command she was given was “O fragile one, ash of ash and corruption of corruption, say and write what you see and hear.” She writes: “But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and low opinion of myself and because of diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time a call to write, not out of stubbornness, but out of humility, until weighed down by a scourge of God, I fell onto a bed of sickness.” Eventually, she could not resist the constant urging, and began to write her visions in a book she titled Scivias (Know the Ways) in 1141 when she was “forty two years and seven months”, her own words.

You have to understand that her visions and locutions were not human. They were not voices and sights which she would see with her eyes and hear with her ears. They were a stream of consciousness. They were interior visions and voices. They would come at once and she knew what they were saying.

She wrote: “A shaft of light of dazzling brilliancy came from the opened heavens and pierced my heart like a flame that warms without burning, as the sun heats by its rays. And suddenly I knew and understood the explanation of the psalms, the gospels, and other Catholic books of the Old and New Testaments.” It was a full infusion of the Holy Spirit, which opened her mind and spirit to see in her heart all that the Lord wanted her to write and say.

During the heat of writing these visions, she wrote them down on a wax tablet as she received them from above, and her secretary, Volmar the monk, would put them into written form. She said “And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God. I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me ‘Cry out therefore, and write thus.’”

It took ten years to complete this book. It represents a view of God on His Holy Mountain with man at the base. It tells of the original condition of man, his fall and redemption through Jesus on the Cross, as well as man’s ongoing struggles. It talks of the Mass, the times to come, the son of perdition and the end times. Actually, there’s not much that is not said in the book. And a lot of it has to do with our time. It’s very apocalyptic and not easy for the average person to understand. Sometimes you have to read a passage over and over two or three times before you can grasp its meaning. But the work is notably brilliant, and without doubt the words of God.

 

It was put into finished form by her abbot and presented to the Bishop of Mainz, who declared it was from God. But that was not enough for Hildegard. She needed more. She wrote a letter to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, also a doctor of the Church. Through a long, lengthy letter, she basically asked his approval of the work she was doing. His answer was much shorter, but to the point. Without going into too much detail, he told her that he believed her work was God-centered. He actually took some of her work to the Synod of Trier and presented it to Pope Eugenius III, who studied it and was so impressed; he read her writings aloud to the Cardinals at the Synod. He gave her his blessing and the title German Prophetess.

As a result of the Pope’s vocal approval of Hildegard and his subsequent l etter of blessing to her, she and her monastery became very popular. Many aspirants came to join their community. They outgrew their comfortable little convent. They were running out of room for all the new people who were coming as a result of Hildegard’s popularity. The convent was in a constant state of construction. Under these conditions, plus her day job of running the convent, it took her an additional three years after the Pope acknowledged her, to finish the book.

She felt the need for a more austere, smaller community, where she could concentrate on more prayer, less distraction and all that the Lord had to tell her. Her first attempt at independence of sorts came when Abbot Kuno asked her to be prioress of the community. She said the Lord told her to move to a poorer convent in Rupertsburg, about 30 kilometers away, which would allow the nuns more austerity in their life styles and growth. The abbot refused. Hildegard, who by this time had developed quite a reputation on her own, went over the Abbot’s head to the Archbishop who gave her permission to take her nuns and move.

Apparently, she believed she did not move quickly enough for the Lord. Hildegard was struck down with an illness which paralyzed her and made her a prisoner of her bed. She claimed this was God’s way of punishing her for not following the Lord’s command at once. The situation became so bad; Abbot Kuno could not lift her out of the bed. Finally, in frustration, he gave the nuns permission to move to Rupertsburg, at which time Hildegard was released from the bondage of her bed.

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Saint Hildegard DVD plus Minibook $21.95
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Minibook

St. Hildegard
BK311

$6.00

28 pages

 

**Classic **
D311 - Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Prophetess of Germany - Visionary - Mystic - Doctor of the Church

Come with us as we travel to Bingen, Germany and the area of the beautifl Rhine River which is where St. Hildegard lived and had her visions. It was also here where she wrote her books on her visions and many other things, like a Morality Play, put to music, which she also wrote. She wrote a book on herbal medicine which is used to this day in that area of Germany. She made speaking tours throughout Germany. She wrote letters to Abbots, Kings, Emperors and Popes, in addition to many ordinary people.

Come to her first Abbey, Disibodenberg, about 30 kilometers from Bingen, where she was placed at 8 years old and spent over half her life. She wrote her first book there. She is an outstanding woman of our Church. She is a role model for all, but especially women.

DVD D311 $19.95

For English DVD click below

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