Hildegard sees creativity at the core of our vocation as human beings, and pictures God saying, I have been moved by the form of humankind, I have kissed it, grounded it in faithful relationship. Thus I have exalted humankind with the vocation of creation. I call humankind to the same norm.
We have a vocation to create, which is why we are exalted as co-creators. This is our nobility, but also our serious responsibility.
“Humankind is full of all creative possibility,” Hildegard asserts: Humankind is God’s work [and] called to assist God and called to co-create. We can set into creation all that is necessary and life-sustaining. She is confident of our capacity to create and to make a difference.
For Hildegard, the Cosmic Christ is integral to our creativity, for “the Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity.”
For Hildegard, greening and creativity are synonyms. The divine presence is at work in us both as Holy Spirit and as the Word or the Cosmic Christ. “In the beginning was the Word.”
Hildegard recognizes “two aspects to humanity: the singing of praise to God and the doing of good works.” The via positiva is our praise, while the doing of good works is a combination of the via creativa and via transformativa. “It is in praise and service that the surprise of God is consummated.” You might say our creative work is the surprise of God.
Hildegard recognizes the damage we can with our powers of creativity– eco-wars, societal wars and much more. But she is hopeful we’ll make the right choices with our creativity.
Are we dry or wet? Says Hildegard, When a forest does not green vigorously, then it is no longer a forest. When a tree does not blossom, it cannot bear fruit. Likewise, a person cannot be fruitful without the greening power of faith. The soul that is full of wisdom is saturated with the spray of a bubbling fountain, God himself/herself.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint For Our Times, pp. 93-95.
See also Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet.
Banner Image: “Touch.” Photo by One zone Studio on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you experience your and humanity’s creativity as a vocation? In what ways? And do you experience your soul sometimes “saturated with the spray of a bubbling fountain, God herself?“
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.
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin