Hildegard von Bingen

Oh fire of the Holy Spirit,
life of the life of every creature,
holy are you in giving life to forms…

Oh boldest path,
penetrating into all places,
in the heights, on earth,
and in every abyss,
you bring and bind all together
From you clouds flow, air flies,
Rocks have their humours,
Rivers spring forth from the waters
And earth wears her green vigour

O ignis Spiritus Paracliti

Those are the words of Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), an inspirational woman, who coined the term “viriditas” – the greening power of God. For Hildegard, God permeated everything and because of that the Divine was to be found in everything. She despised the idea of looking down or past people or things. She saw injustice as a human flaw. She wrote;

"Do not mock anything God has created. All creation is simple, plain and good. And God is present throughout his creation. Why do you ever consider things beneath your notice? God’s justice is to be found in every detail of what he has made. The human race alone is capable of injustice. Human beings alone are capable of disobeying God’s laws, because they try to be wiser than God." – Scivas 1.2.29

This 12th century mystic had great respect for all things of creation. I am reminded of her today as I sit in my office with driving rain soaking the earth just beyond my window. It is too easy to curse the rain and curse the state of the day. But yet there is a tremendous power in what I witness. There, on the other side of this wall, is God at work. There the Greening Power of God is pushing forward. In this magnificent season we see all the power of God to bring life to all that is dormant.  In the saturation of today we can feel and see the Love of God and the Power of the Creator “penetrating into all places, in the heights, on earth, and in every abyss.”

In these days we can see things growing – day by day, even when it is a little cooler than usual, we see things progressing. It is Easter – Hildegard was no doubt a big fan of Easter. This Holy Woman saw the great nature of the Victory of God.  There is no question that she would have indeed celebrated the death to darkness and the resurrection of Light. This is a season of New Life. This is a season of Renewal. This is a season of Greening of “viriditas.”

So I will not curse the rain because in so doing I would curse the force that drives it. I will not lament the cool days as they too are from God’s creation. And as sure as I lament this part of the created order I will give myself permission to do the same with other parts of God’ created order.  I celebrate the Greening power of God!

“I am that great and fiery force
sparkling in everything that lives;
in shining of the river’s course,
in greening grass that glory gives…”
(Hildegard of Bingen)


 The Video Below is a rendering of "Vision (O Euchari in leta via)," a piece of Hildegard von Bingen music. Just click the Arrow in the center – the images are neat as well.


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