Green Men and Women according to Thurman and Hildegard, continued

Hildegard, like Thurman, calls out about our “pillaging of nature.”  She thunders: Now in the people who were meant to green there is no more life of any kind, there is only shriveled barrenness. The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings-on.

An electrical storm at night in Sexsmith, Canada. Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash.

Thunderstorms menace, the air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples. There pours forth an unnatural loathsome darkness that withers the green, wizens the fruit that was to serve as food for the people. Sometimes this layer of air is full of fog, which is the source of any destructive and barren creatures that destroy and damage the earth, rendering it incapable of sustaining humanity… God desires that all the world be pure in his sight. The earth should not be injured, the earth should not be destroyed.

Prophetic words, these—as applicable as any to today’s situation vis-a-vis the pain and suffering of Mother Earth and all her creatures.

Time and again Hildegard talks about the “web of creation,” of which we are an integral part. A web has give and take to it; it isn’t rigid but bends with the breeze. But injustice creates a rupture in the web, and Hildegard warns that “as often as the elements of the world are violated by ill treatment, so God will   cleanse them through the sufferings, through the hardships of humankind.”

Life on earth from space. Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

Such hardships today include the great migrations of people who are leaving their homelands because of drought or rising seas. I’ve met people from the Pacific islands who tell me they had to pack up and leave because, as a result of global warming, the waters are inundating their freshwater tables, which means they can no longer grow crops. Thus they must abandon their islands.  They are canaries in the mine about what awaits our species if we remain stuck in denial and anthropocentrism.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks working with President Biden, climate change and the fight against Covid-19. Originally posted to YouTube by NBC News.

Hildegard saw the problem of eco-destruction rooted in a sick human consciousness when she writes that we have neglected our erotic bond with nature, and the divine’s erotic bond with nature.  Recovering that bond is so healing and so needed. Eros is the opposite of denial. Eros isn’t cold, indifferent, lazy, apathetic, or uncaring. Eros awakens. Hildegard put it this way: “The mysterious gifts of the Holy Spirit touch us human beings, who have begun to become dull as a result of our boredom. As a result, we shall awaken from our dullness and arise vigorously toward justice.”  Eco-justice flows from waking up.  It flows from falling in love with the Earth once again.  “O human, why do you live without passion?  Why do you live without blood?” Hildegard asks.  For we are related to creation as lover to lover she insists.  And God is too.  

Injustice arises from a dry soul: “When you lack the verdancy of justice, your soul is dry totally without her tender goodness, totally without illuminating virtue.” 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, a Saint For Our Times, pp. 41-43, 33.  And from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works with Letters and Songs, p. 64.

Banner Image: Greenery in Bitmore Park, Asheville, United States. Photo by Chris Abney on Unsplash

Are you learning to arise vigorously from dullness to justice?  What is inspiring you to do that?  Are you assisting others to do the same?

Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century

Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
“This book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.

Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs

Today there are many websites and Hildegard groups that celebrate and honor Hildegard’s teachings, philosophy, art, and music. Author Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her. In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice. A sixteenth century follower of Martin Luther called her “the first Protestant” because of her appeals to reform the church. As a writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, healer, artist, feminist, and student of science, Hildegard was a pioneer in many fields in her day.

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