Grey & Hildegard: Angel Wings, Human Works, “Singing Justice”

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.”

“All Beings Celebrate Creation,” from Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias.

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.”

“Emptying: The True Spirit of Poverty” by Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias.

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?

Recommended Reading

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

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4 thoughts on “Grey & Hildegard: Angel Wings, Human Works, “Singing Justice””

  1. Avatar

    Beautiful DM Matthew!
    I agree with Hildegard when she says that “Christ gives us eyes to see” and you interpret as “Christ brings eyes of faith, understanding, and knowledge of God.. To see the face of God, the glory of God, the Kingdom of God, is waking up spiritually.”
    Christ, the Divine Nature of God, is part of and within Our Eternal Souls, and our human spiritual journey is to become aware/ conscious of this transformative realization of Divine Love~Wisdom with-in our inner and outer compassionate lives with one another, and All of ongoing Evolving Co-Creation in the Cosmos, especially our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth, with all Her living creatures and graceful abundance… COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS….

  2. Avatar

    Perhaps it brings on a “dark night of the soul” when we awaken, we do experience a blindness, or grappling about in the darkness. Perhaps this happens because opening eyes to Christ or Christ opening eyes in our life causes the stories that we have inherited, internalized and used as masks to fall down like scales…and we have to relearn how to see, or learn to see in a new way, which causes us to have a new relationship with everyone and everything, becoming more like Christ, or shaping and growing into God’s design, which is ever-evolving, a new relationship with self and our experience of being alive.

  3. Avatar

    Christ is the non-dualistic “eye” of Divine “Sight”/Know-ing/relating to God, through Whose Act (“Sight”), in transcendent consciousness, we come into mystical Awareness of the utter uniqueness of God/The One, and also (as the Bible declares), the One in Whom we discover that God is not defined by or confined to that which is matter/Creation (“pantheism”), but is radically more complex and non-dualistic.

    Christ is ONE/GOD AS-THE KNOWING/LOVING/SHARING/ ETERNAL, timeless ACT, the One relat-ing Act that Lovingly Reflects (“sees”) God’s Essence, and in that process eternally IS ONE and GIVES the Divine-Essence as One Divine (Good) template that’s also directly Lov-ingAct-ing/Becom-ing an unlimited conduit of the non-dualistic God-Love into Form (Overflowing endlessly).
    Christ(God) is/relates/is in a mode that is “beyond duality”, not limited to separations of “I-Thou” or limitations of time, space, and matter, but is also IN them, is not excluded from them. Those things flow through/from Christ, the Loving non-dualistic Divine-Action template, into the Form/Act of Original Non-dualistic Goodness (“Creation”).

    Jesus acted as the Divine invitation and exemplar for the highest-possible-level of human Goodness (God-Ordained-human-life) and as Divine, non-dualistic, direct conduit of God’s Love to all people, forever.

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