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Hildegard of Bingen: Humble Divinity

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

"I consider myself as almost nothing; I yearn towards the living God and leave all things in His hands, so that He, who has neither beginning nor end, may preserve me from evil on every occasion." - Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen was a pioneer navigating the difficult waters of patriarchy as a woman who felt called by the Divine to proclaim good news in the twelfth century. Her understanding of Divine humility guided her footsteps on sure ground and she was rewarded with the listening ears of the powerful including the pope of her time. Her persuasiveness was grounded in the Christian scriptural understanding that God uniquely works through those who by human determination are deemed nothing, unworthy, or weak. By locating her power in the Divine as revealed through Biblical scripture, she was validated to speak truth to power. Throughout her life she was vocal in defending the rights of those she served from the oppression of the powerful.

How might Hildegard's understanding of power and influence speak to us today? When the world declares physical perfection, youth, financial reward and social media influence to be desired above all else, how might Hildegard's example guide us in understanding how God works differently? In her writings, Hildegard speaks of the Divine's "vermilion verdity" - -the paradox within the flame of light that is a once both brilliant red and verdant green. God holds the full spectrum of humanity's colors through which God's love shines brightly. That which we might disregard, God holds dear and lifts up to a place of prominence. Indeed, in that space which society ascribes nothingness, God's viridity or greening up is powerfully at work.


O God of splendid light, thank you for your 'greening' in our lives. Lead us by the colorful flame of your Light that we, like Hildegarde who has come before us, may speak truth to power in our day and time and stand in solidarity with those who are suffering. Amen.

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