Wednesday, September 20, 2023

St. Hildegard’s Encounter With Angels & Their Music

 From Catholic Exchange:

St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Doctor of the Church, was not just a Benedictine superior, mystic, diplomat, woman of letters, naturopath, and linguist but also a composer. She left us with seventy-seven liturgical chants, hymns, and sequences and a liturgical drama: The Order of the Virtues. Fr. Pierre Dumoulin wrote that these works make up one of the richest repertoires of medieval music. Yet they are not the fruit of a composition work, strictly speaking, but the transcription of celestial harmonies that the saint perceived through her visions.

Hildegard actually contemplated the heavenly myriads. “Some radiated like fire. Others were completely clear. Still others glit­tered like stars. It was a concert of voices that was like the sound of the sea.” She thought that the angel was man’s model. The angel reminded St. Hildegard that praise was her vocation: “Man, God’s creature, must praise Him because his soul is made to live in praise, like the angels.”

The Fall contributed to disturbing the original harmony whose memory lives in us and which we must rediscover: “The canticle of praise is rooted in the Church according to celestial harmony through the Holy Spirit.” St. Gregory said it before her: music is the most elevated of all hu­man activities. Hildegard believed that “when man’s spirit is well directed, he hears the song of the angels.” “The soul is itself a symphony, and it harmonizes everything.” She wrote that “the cohort of the angels yearns for God. It recognizes Him throughout the symphony of its praises and celebrates its past and present eternal mysteries.” (Read more.)

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