A Medieval Mystic Exults in Spirit.
August 7th, 2008
Santa Cruz, California
Received by FAB
I am here, Hildegard of Bingen.
Oh, I found the fulfillment of my heart over here, and in a way I scarce could believe on earth. The way it is here is so far superior to anything my poor little brain could conceive of. But the principles I lived for and believed in survived me and exploded into infinite possibilities. It was beyond my conception. I did have inklings of what this side of life is like, but nothing I could think of on earth could compare to what greeted me here.
The truth I discovered was an amplification of what I already knew - that reality is mystical, infinitely mysterious, and unfathomably beautiful. So my heart was satisfied. But I must say that at the beginning, my joy was so intense that it at times seemed almost painful. But as I got adjusted to this new life, I became accustomed to never-ending joy. And then, the realization that all earthly cares and problems were gone forever made me want to cry for joy.
Oh, we cannot comprehend the Love the Creator has for us! No, it’s not something that can be understood. We are all equally loved, and if only mortals would understand this, they would be so much happier, even at this time, when there is so much instability and confusion. I experienced hardships on earth, but that didn’t stop me from following the spiritual path, and because I chose this way, I was very happy on earth, and consequently, my joys in the spirit world cannot be put into words.
I know that you cannot understand why so many mortals blind themselves and harden their hearts, but if you will reflect on the great fact of free will, and how the Loving Creator will always respect it, I think you will be less exasperated and will find a greater acceptance, and therefore a greater serenity.
Hildegard was raised in a family of free nobles in the service of the counts of Sponheim, close relatives of the Hohenstaufen emperors. She was the tenth child, sickly from birth. From the time she was very young, Hildegard wrote, she experienced visions. In fact, the only surviving tale of Hildegard’s childhood involves a conversation she had with her nurse. Hildegard described an unborn calf as “white... marked with different colored spots on its forehead, feet and back.” The nurse, amazed with the detail of the young child’s account, told Hildegard’s mother, who later rewarded her daughter with the calf, whose appearance Hildegard had accurately predicted.
Perhaps due to Hildegard’s visions, or as a method of political positioning, Hildegard’s parents, Hildebert and Mechthilde, offered her as a tithe to the church at the age of eight. Hildegard was placed in the care of Jutta, the sister of Count Meinhard of Sponheim, just outside the Disibodenberg monastery in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of what is now Germany. Jutta was enormously popular and acquired many followers, such that a small nunnery sprang up around her.
Upon Jutta’s death in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as “magistra,” or leader of her sister community. The election would lead to the significant move, executed in the midst of great opposition, of twenty members of her community to her newly-formed monastery, Saint Rupertsberg at Bingen on the Rhine in 1150, where Volmar served as provost.
Hildegard “became... reticent” regarding her visions, confiding only to Jutta, who in turn told Volmar, Hildegard’s tutor and, later, secretary and scribe. Throughout her life, she continued to have many visions, and in 1141, Hildegard had what she believed to be an instruction from God, to “write down that which you see and hear.” Hildegard, hesitant to record her visions, soon became physically ill. In her first theological text, “Scivias,” or “Know the Ways,” Hildegard describes her struggle within:
I didn’t immediately follow this command. Self-doubt made me hesitate. I analyzed others’ opinions of my decision and sifted through my own bad opinions of myself. Finally, one day I discovered I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. Through this illness, God taught me to listen better. Then, when my good friends Richardis and Volmar urged me to write, I did. I started writing this book and received the strength to finish it, somehow, in ten years. These visions weren’t fabricated by my own imagination, nor are they anyone else’s. I saw these when I was in the heavenly places. They are God’s mysteries. These are God’s secrets. I wrote them down because a heavenly voice kept saying to me, “See and speak! Hear and write!” (Source: Wikipedia.)