Hildegard Tells Us Our Work Amazes the Angels!

We have been meditating since Christmas and Channukah and Solstice time on honoring light, and more recently on how our work in particular is an expression of bringing light to the world. 

Hildegard’s illumination, “The Cosmic Wheel,” shows the universe inside God’s womb. From Matthew Fox, Illuminations.

Hildegard of Bingen goes even further—she tells us that angels, who are light beings that travel at the speed of light as Aquinas tells us, take delight in human work.  Here is how she puts it:

All of the angels are amazed at humans, who through their holy works appear clothed with an incredibly beautiful garment. 

Thus we amaze the angels by our work.  After all they learn exclusively by intuition but our learning and gifting to one another is far more complex since we learn through our senses and all. 

She continues:

For the angel without the work of the flesh is simply praise; but the human with their corporeal works are a glorification: therefore the angels praise humans’ work. 

A woman and her children are rescued from floods in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photographer unknown; credited to Al Jazeera.

Our work elicits praise from the angels.  How about that?

I find these passages to be among the most stunning in all of Hildegard’s angelology.  When most people think of angels, if they think of them at all, they are amazed at angels and feel inferior to angels.

But here we have Hildegard saying the angels are amazed at us.  What dignity and healthy pride that gives our species! 

And why are they amazed at us?  Because of our works which are “holy works.”  Angels only choose once. 

Solar panels on a school in remote hills of Puerto Rico are part of a microgrid installed by Rocky Mountain Institute following Hurricane Maria. While the January 2020 earthquakes knocked power out across the island, the microgrids continued to operate.

But we, with our constant creativity, entering so fully into the evolutionary habits of the universe, make choices all day long and especially around our work. 

I hear Hildegard saying that our works, our choices, astound the angels.  That’s wonderful.

She says the angel is simply praise, but the human being is a glorification.  That is one more reason why the angels praise humanity’s works.  She is honoring matter here, she’s honoring flesh. 

In one way she’s saying that the angels’ life compared with ours is much duller.  It’s simply praise, it’s predictable, whereas we are constantly choosing to bring new things into the world—which in turn elicit  praise from the angels.

 Animal communicator Anna Breytenbach
communicates with an abused leopard, healing
his post-traumatic aggression

We are an unusual species.  So often we see the shadow side of our being.  That is what the news brings us on a daily basis.  But it doesn’t hurt once in a while to hear about the “astounding” dimension to being human. 

We are a bridge between the material world and the spirit world, and sometimes, indeed oftentimes, it gets us down.  How badly we fail both worlds! 

But here Hildegard extols this unique experiment on God’s part, our being both spirit and body.  She’s saying that we are fascinating, we are amazing, our work is praiseworthy to the angels. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, The Physics of Angels, pp. 160f.

Banner Image: Smiling Angel, Cathedral of Reims. Photo by Claudio on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Spend time with the lessons above about angels.  Let the lessons from Hildegard speak to you.  Be with the angels. 

Meditating on the appreciation spirit-beings hold for our work might assist us to get our dignity back.  Do you agree?  When we do that, we’ll start making wiser decisions and wiser actions. 

Recommended Reading

When was the last time a scientist and a theologian discussed angels together? What are angels? Many people believe in angels, but few can define these enigmatic spirits. Now visionary theologian Matthew Fox and acclaimed biologist Rupert Sheldrake—pioneers in modern religious thinking and scientific theory—launch a groundbreaking exploration into the ancient concept of the angel and restore dignity, meaning, and joy to our time-honored belief in these heavenly beings.

An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition.  At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them. “If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.”  – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.

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4 thoughts on “Hildegard Tells Us Our Work Amazes the Angels!”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Michele,
      Thank you for writing! Once again, we humans find that we are much more than we tought. This time, it is animals who are our teachers.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  1. Carol Kilby

    A stunning meditation stretching the sacred and scientific imagination. Matt, your work must have the angels dancing ecstatically!!
    Editing, yet again, this morning, I am SO grateful to have the image of the angels encouraging me to keep on working on this book, The Evolutionary Dancer – Out, In, and On the Fringe of the Church.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Carol,
      Thank you for sharing your sentiments about this meditation. Your work on this new book must be making the angels sing. Blessings on its completion and dissemination.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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