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The Admonisher Hildegard

The Admonisher Hildegard regarded herself as an instrument of God and continually wanted to show mankind the way to and with God. She never tired of reminding her contemporaries of God and admonishing them to return to the way of salvation. This admonition remains valid for us today as well. For Hildegard, it was all a matter of living the Christian life consistently. Everything, heaven and earth, faith and reason, the whole creation in all its facets and possibilities are for her a mirror of God’s love, they are at the same time gift and mission. No one may abdicate their responsibility. The seer becomes a teacher! A Doctor of the Church – what does that mean? Not only that she has presented the teaching of the Church, but rather that she taught the Church, that she has something to say to the Church… Nothing characterizes us more than our lack of passion for God. Precisely that characterizes the life of Saint Hildegard…Renewal of the Church – there is much talk of that these days. How can it succeed? Only by returning to the source, to the Gospel. We do not need to borrow extrinsic programmes – the gospel is programme enough. Hildegard lives, thinks, prays and writes with the Scriptures… What surprises and impresses with Hildegard is the breadth of her mind: philosophy and the study of nature, the art of healing in the sense of holistic medicine. Hildegard is not just concerned with the Church, with controversy within the Church. She is concerned with creation, with the cosmos, with the preservation of creation. As if one were reading a modern environmental paper…The environmental crisis is a crisis of mankind. Man has forgotten to whom he owes himself and the world. Whoever speaks of nature must not leave God unmentioned. As ultimately he will be perplexed by the world and will not understand himself. And I heard a loud voice which spoke to the man from the elements of the earth: We cannot walk and thus complete our way, as our lord has determined. Because humans with their bad deeds are spinning us around like a mill wheel. Therefore we reek of pestilence, and hunger for full justice. But the man answered: (…) The winds have become hoarse because of the stench, the air spews out filth, because humans do not open their mouths for integrity. Even vitality (viriditas) is withering because of the iniquitous superstition of the preposterous masses of people, who arrange everything according to their wishes and say. “Who is that Lord whom we have never seen?” And I, God, answer them: Do you not see me by day and at night? Do you not see me when you sow and when the seed is watered by rain, so that it may grow? All of creation aspires toward its creator and obviously understands that it has been created. But man is a rebel and splits his creator into many creatures. Hildegard, Liber Vitae Meritorum Franz Kamphaus Bishop em. of Limburg von

The Healer In medieval times, monasteries were also centres for treatment and healing of the sick. At Disibodenberg, Hildegard had already acquired her considerable skills in caring for the sick, and in practical and herbal medicine. Salvation and healing are inseparable for her. Humans become ill when they drop out of the originally harmonious relationship with God and the surrounding world. That is why a meaningful, value-centred and moderate way of living is the best prevention of illnesses of the body and the soul. It is not easy to approach the person of Saint Hildegard. She frequently describes herself as a simple, unlearned woman. But in reality she is one of the great women of the Middle Ages: She is a physician, composer, author of great works about the world and humanity, knows the Bible and the Church Fathers, is as well versed in the nature studies of her time, as in medicine or agriculture. Above all she was renowned for her visions. We admire this German prophet, as she may be called. Nevertheless, she will always remain unfamiliar, so that we have to make a great effort to comprehend her thought. It will be a continuing task to better understand her significance as a Doctor of the Church for our own times. Karl Kardinal Lehmann Bishop of Mainz Whilst the human body is never idle and never stops doing something, man‘s soul has, at times, on account of its nature, the duty – when tired of physical activities – to withdraw from its course, as if asleep, like a mill wheel occasionally stops working, when a rush of water has broken something at a certain point. In this way the soul is at times in silent repose, until the body is beset and aggrieved by some ill or other trepidation. Then it gathers strength and takes up its course and awakes, and it seems to that man as if he was newly born and a new person. Hildegard, Causae et Curae And the earth gave of its vitality according to the type of man, to his disposition and character and whatever the nature of his activities. That is to say, the earth reveals in useful plants, by differentiating them, the dealings of the human spirit, but shows in non-utile plants that are not usefulits negative and sinister traits. Hildegard, Physica The Hildegard-Forum herb garden at the Rochusberg in Bingen

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