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The Mentor A total of

The Mentor A total of 390 letters to popes, bishops and monasteries, to secular rulers, noblemen and ordinary people have been passed down. They are evidence of admonitory concern and great foresight, of intrepid and refreshingly humorous directness, as well as personal involvement and obvious exertion of influence in (ecclesio-) political matters. They provide an immediate insight into Hildegard’s personality and inimitably, briefly and succinctly summarize her thought and work. Oh King, it is imperative that you act cautiously. I see you in a mystic vision like a child and a recklessly living person before the Living Eyes (of God). Nonetheless you still have time to rule over worldly matters. Take care, therefore, that the heavenly king does not strike you down because of the blindness of your eyes, which do not quite see how you should hold the sceptre in your hand for proper governance. See to it that you conduct yourself in a way that the grace of God does not run dry within you. Hildegard, Epistolae, Hildegard to the Roman King Frederick (later the Emperor Barbarossa) Saint Hildegard is a major prophetic figure of the Church: vigorous, courageous and, in the truest sense of the phrase, leading the way. In her work, Hildegard has presented an all-embracing relational definition of God, world and man – and that in entirely new, figurative language. She proclaimed the faith at a time when – like the present – people had increasingly forgotten God. She lived as she taught, was credible and absolutely authentic. Her theology is ‘grounded’ and orientated toward life. In this respect especially, she proves herself genuinely Benedictine. I am convinced that with her help, it can be accomplished in our present day to once again fill people with enthusiasm for God, and for living purposeful and consistent lives of discipleship. Your tongues are silent in view of the loud voice of the sounding trumpet of the Lord. They do not love holy prudence which, like the stars, moves in a circular orbit. The trumpet of the Lord is the righteousness of God which you should ponder assiduously in holiness. (…) But that you fail to do because of your inconsiderate self-will. This is why, when you preach, the firmament of divine righteousness is lacking in luminaries, as if the stars are not shining. It is because you are night, which exhales darkness, and like an indolent people, who unwillingly do not walk in the light. (…) Instead you rather do whatever your flesh demands. (…) But you are struck down, and are no support for the Church fleeing instead to the caves of your lust, and because of your disgusting opulence, your avarice and other vanities you do not teach your subordinates, nor let them seek instruction from you (…) Hildegard, Epistolae, Hildegard to the Shepherds of the Church Philippa Rath OSB Abbey of St Hildegard

The Composer Hildegard composed 77 songs as well as a musical drama. Taken together, her musical work therefore constitutes the largest corpus of medieval music. Essentially, the songs were written for liturgical use. The core themes of Hildegard’s writings are captured again in the words and as such are a synopsis of her theological and spiritual work. For the glorifying jubilations, which ring out in the simplicity of concord and love, lead the faithful to that unity where there is no discord, because they induce in those, who still abide on earth, the sigh of heart and mouth for the heavenly reward. Hildegard, Liber Scivias Yet the body is the vestment of the soul which has a resounding voice. Therefore, it befits the body which has a voice to praise God together with the soul (…) And since man, in hearing a song, often sighs deeply when he remembers the original celestial harmony, the prophet sensitively ponders the unfathomable nature of the spirit, knowing that the soul is filled with harmony (symphonialis est) … Hildegard, Epistolae Charity abounds in all things / most excellent from the depths to high above the stars. / And it is most loving to all / for to the highest king / it has given the kiss of peace. Hildegard, Symphoniae In her songs Hildegard praises in numerous variations the mystery of God, the creation, the mystery of the incarnation and the wonders of the whole cosmos. She does this with the unique imagery of music. Her compositions are based on Gregorian Chant, those ancient melodies, which belong to the oldest musical tradition of Christianity, but take it further into totally new, undreamt of ranges. For Hildegard, the soul of man is symphonic. But in the same way, the whole of the cosmos is symphonic for her, which from the beginning has been filled with the sound of music. Oh sweetest bough, / flower of Jesse‘s root, How great is your strength, / that God looked upon the most beautiful daughter, / as the eagle looks at the sun, / because the supreme father took care of the purity of the virgin, in whom he wanted his Word to take flesh. Hildegard, Symphoniae Christiane Rath OSB Abbey of St Hildegard Listen to Hildegard music on the website of the Abbey of St Hildegard Antiphon »O aeterne Deus« Antiphon »O magne Pater«

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