St. Hildegard of Bingen….from Pope Benedict XVI

St. Hildegard was a woman who was a great mystic, writer, poet, musician, artist and a devout Benedictine nun!    She valued the hierachy and authority of the Church, and even sought counsel and received validation from the great mystical doctor of the Church, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. 

BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 1st September 2010

“Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In 1988, on the occasion of the Marian Year, Venerable John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Letter entitled Mulieris Dignitatem on the precious role that women have played and play in the life of the Church. “The Church”, one reads in it, “gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine “genius’ which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness” (n. 31).

Various female figures stand out for the holiness of their lives and the wealth of their teaching even in those centuries of history that we usually call the Middle Ages. Today I would like to begin to present one of them to you: St Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in Germany in the 12th century. She was born in 1098, probably at Bermersheim, Rhineland, not far from Alzey, and died in 1179 at the age of 81, in spite of having always been in poor health. Hildegard belonged to a large noble family and her parents dedicated her to God from birth for his service. At the age of eight she was offered for the religious state (in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, chapter 59), and, to ensure that she received an appropriate human and Christian formation, she was entrusted to the care of the consecrated widow Uda of Gölklheim and then to Jutta of Spanheim who had taken the veil at the Benedictine Monastery of St Disibodenberg. A small cloistered women’s monastery was developing there that followed the Rule of St Benedict. Hildegard was clothed by Bishop Otto of Bamberg and in 1136, upon the death of Mother Jutta who had become the community magistra (Prioress), the sisters chose Hildegard to succeed her. She fulfilled this office making the most of her gifts as a woman of culture and of lofty spirituality, capable of dealing competently with the organizational aspects of cloistered life. A few years later, partly because of the increasing number of young women who were knocking at the monastery door, Hildegard broke away from the dominating male monastery of St Disibodenburg with her community, taking it to Bingen, calling it after St Rupert and here she spent the rest of her days. Her manner of exercising the ministry of authority is an example for every religious community: she inspired holy emulation in the practice of good to such an extent that, as time was to tell, both the mother and her daughters competed in mutual esteem and in serving each other.

During the years when she was superior of the Monastery of St Disibodenberg, Hildegard began to dictate the mystical visions that she had been receiving for some time to the monk Volmar, her spiritual director, and to Richardis di Strade, her secretary, a sister of whom she was very fond. As always happens in the life of true mystics, Hildegard too wanted to put herself under the authority of wise people to discern the origin of her visions, fearing that they were the product of illusions and did not come from God. She thus turned to a person who was most highly esteemed in the Church in those times: St Bernard of Clairvaux, of whom I have already spoken in several Catecheses. He calmed and encouraged Hildegard. However, in 1147 she received a further, very important approval. Pope Eugene iii, who was presiding at a Synod in Trier, read a text dictated by Hildegard presented to him by Archbishop Henry of Mainz. The Pope authorized the mystic to write down her visions and to speak in public. From that moment Hildegard’s spiritual prestige continued to grow so that her contemporaries called her the “Teutonic prophetess”.

This, dear friends, is the seal of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of every charism: the person endowed with supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never flaunts them and, above all, shows complete obedience to the ecclesial authority. Every gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit, is in fact intended for the edification of the Church and the Church, through her Pastors, recognizes its authenticity.

I shall speak again next Wednesday about this great woman, this “prophetess” who also speaks with great timeliness to us today, with her courageous ability to discern the signs of the times, her love for creation, her medicine, her poetry, her music, which today has been reconstructed, her love for Christ and for his Church which was suffering in that period too, wounded also in that time by the sins of both priests and lay people, and far better loved as the Body of Christ. Thus St Hildegard speaks to us; we shall speak of her again next Wednesday. Thank you for your attention.”

God is the foundation for everything
This God undertakes, God gives.
Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.
Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.
This body is supported in every way through the earth.
Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.

Visit the Discerning Hearts
St. Hildegard von Bingen page
for more on this Doctor of the Church

 

St. Pius X – to renew all things in Christ

The Pope of the Blessed Sacrament

“Itching Ears Among Us

Saint Pius X exemplified the words of the Apostle to Timothy: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4:2–4). One hundred years after Pope Saint Pius X we have to ask ourselves if there are not still “itching ears” among us.

What causes one’s ears to itch? Curiosity. Lack of discernment. A weak background in Catholic doctrine. Faithful Catholics cannot permit themselves to read just anything. To read authors of dubious orthodoxy or authors critical of the Magisterium is like scratching an itch. It becomes worse. Why would one would even want to read such authors when one can choose from among the inexhaustible richness of the writings of the saints of every age?

 Children and the Eucharist

It was Saint Pius X who opened Holy Communion to little children. He invited the Catholic faithful to frequent, even daily Holy Communion. Pius X came to be known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” a title that he now shares with Pope John Paul II, the author of Ecclesia de Eucharistia and of Mane Nobiscum, Domine.” – for more go to Vultus Christi

I see that serious face of the young boy to the right, and I wonder what he is thinking.  His family was so poor.  Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born in 1835, the second of ten children.  His father was the village postman.  Though poor, his parents valued education and made every effort in securing that gift for their children.

Pope Pius was a Marian Pope, whose encyclical Ad Diem Illum expresses his desire through Mary to renew all things in Christ, which he had defined as his motto in his first encyclical. Pius believed that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary to achieve this goal (no wonder he had such a beautiful heart). Pius X was the only Pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience at the parish level, and pastoral concerns permeated his papacy; he favoured the use of the vernacular in catechesis. Frequent communion was a lasting innovation of his papacy. He spoke plainly and with strength, and because of that he was not well like by the elite and the rich.   He often referred to his own humble origins, taking up the causes of poor people. I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor

This is a wonderful prayer by the saint himself:

O Lord Jesus Christ, let Your passion be my strength to sustain, guard, and protect me. Let Your wounds be my food and drink to nourish, fill, and invigorate me. Let the shedding of Your Blood cleanse me of all my sins. Let Your death obtain eternal life for me and Your cross lead me to everlasting glory. Let these constitute for me refreshment and joy, health and uprightness of heart.   Amen.

 
St. Pius X Statue at St. Peter’s…It’s so high up. I suspect he probably would have preferred more to be on the level of the people.

IP#10 Mark Brumley – Ignatius Press and The Catholic Truth Society on Inside the Pages

Have you ever heard of  “The Catholic Truth Society”? Well thanks to Ignatius Press, you are about to.  In this edition of “Inside the Pages”, I talk with Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press and whois one of the leading Catholic apologists in the country (he’s also a really nice guy as well).  Ignatius Press is bringing the booklets, leaflets and tracks from the Society to America, and they’re fantastic.  The authors found on these booklets are enough to crow about, but the titles are so good…wow…beyond excellent.  You don’t want to miss them.  Take a look HERE! In this episode we talk the new evangelization, saints, history, apologetics…you name it.

Here are just some of the conversations Bruce and I have had with Mark Brumley in the past 

Mark Brumley Did Jesus Really Rise.mp3

Mark Brumley Handbook of Catholic Apologetics.mp3

Mark Brumley Jesus of Nazareth Study Guide.mp3

Mark Brumley Lost Gospels.mp3

IP#8 Matthew Bunson – Pope Benedict XVI and Sexual Abuse Scandal pt 2 on Inside the Pages

Here is part 2 of the discussion with Dr. Matthew Bunson, with the emphasis on the renewal and reform that has occured in the Church since the outbreak of the sexual abuse scandal.  Dr. Bunson is once again EXCELLENT in articulating the problems which have surfaced, but also the response of the Church from its heart to the issue.  It would be hard to find someone who does it better.

Dr. Bunson’s book can found at:
osv.com

IP#7 Matthew Bunson – Pope Benedict XVI and Sexual Abuse Scandal pt 1 on Inside the Pages

For 100+ reasons, I love Dr. Matthew Bunson.  No one I know has quite the depth of knowledge that he has and the ability to calmly disseminate it!  His new book, co-authored with Gregory Erlandson, is OUTSTANDING!  Please don’t say you have  formed your final opinion on this tragic period in Church history without reading “Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal”. Don’t count on the secular media (and inparticular the NYT) to educate yourself on this matter.  No one has done a better job chronicling this crisis and our Holy Father’s true response to this matter, then these two writers.  The resources and prayers in the back of the book are excellent!  Thank you Matthew and Gregory.

Dr. Bunson’s book can found at:
osv.com

Dr. Bunson has been a frequent quest on Spirit Mornings with Bruce and Kris McGregor…check him out on the archives page!  (I have got to him his own page soon…long, long overdue!!!!)

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