Yesterday’s meditation on Alex Grey’s painting on Greening Power ended with Hildegard’s telling us how armies of angels are busy singing “every kind of music.” Why are they singing? “With amazing voices they were glorifying God magnificently for those miracles which God performs in blessed souls.”
God brings about wonders in human souls and human works. The work of humans makes miracles or wonders, bestowing gifts and graces on one another and the Earth. Thus, all beings are “rejoicing in the joy of salvation” while bringing forth “the greatest joys in indescribable music through the works of those wonders of heavenly things that God bring about in his saints.”
Humans bringing about wonderful works set joy and music in motion. A requisite for joining this dance is that we must “hurl away injustice” and choose a path of compassion and justice.
The wings of the angels appear to be very much like human hands. Faces are smiling within the wings while we “royal persons” are called to “sing justice” back into creation and thus bring about a “new creation.”
In her painting called “Emptying: The True Spirit of Poverty,” Hildegard also presents many eyes. One figure full of eyes is without a face and represents the fear of the Lord–“viewing the Kingdom of God with humility in the presence of God.”
Cirlot informs us that an image of heterotopic eyes (eyes on different parts of the body) is “the spiritual equivalent of sight, that is, of clairvoyance.” Maybe we might say insight. Or perspective, gaining a new perspective. This is what today’s cosmology, with the help of the Webb Telescope, is gifting to us today. A New Creation is possible.
Hildegard says that Christ is “the one who gives eyes” to people. Open eyes depict a good conscience, she says. Christ brings eyes of faith, understanding, and knowledge of God. Opened eyes are part of waking up—Paul lost scales from his eyes during his conversion and was blinded for a while. To see the face of God, the glory of God, the Kingdom of God, is waking up spiritually.
Cirlot points out that numerous eyes signify “the night with its myriad stars” but also—and paradoxically—”the possessor of so many eyes is left in darkness.”
How parallel are Hildegard’s and Alex Grey’s paintings! East meeting West. Buddhism meeting Christianity. Twelfth century meeting the 21st century.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 107-116.
See also Fox, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Banner Image: The Pillars of Creation are set off in a kaleidoscope of color in NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared-light view. This is a region where young stars are forming – or have barely burst from their dusty cocoons as they continue to form. Photo Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI).
Queries for Contemplation
What does it mean to you that Christ is “the one who gives eyes” to people according to Hildegard? How does Alex Grey’s painting on Greening Power bring your eyes alive with a new perspective and insight?
Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen
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.
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter