Week 4: Get Your Sparkle On
In reading Hildegard of Bingen’s work, it becomes clear that she highly valued creation and creativity. In our final week exploring Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader, we’ll see what she says about this theme.
Two songs that Hildegard wrote tell of God as designer and animator (the titles to these songs were added by Carmen Butcher, who compiled the selections in the spiritual reader):
The First Daylight
You’re the Word of our Father,
the light of the first sunrise,
God’s omnipotent thought.
Before anything was made,
You saw it,
You designed it, and
You tucked Your all-seeing nature in the middle of Your sinew,
like a spinning wheel
with no beginning and no end,
still encircling everything.
The First Verb
The Holy Spirit animates
our past mistakes, and then
puts medicine on our wounds.
We praise this Spirit of incandescence
In her letters, Hildegard frequently reminded others of God’s creativity. To the Abbess of Bamberg, she wrote:
In the same way that the stars illuminate the sky at night, God made humanity to sparkle. We’re created for maturity. We’re made to give out light like the sun, the moon, and the stars. If a black cloud covered these, the earth and every creature in it would worry that the end had come.
In a letter to Pope Anastasius IV, Hildegard makes a striking moral statement about creativity. She tells the pope that we must reject corruption, injustice, and evil because they are not creative. They are a form of anti-creativity:
Don’t forget that whatever God made, radiates. So listen. Before God made the world, He said to Himself, “There’s My dear Son!” and from this original Word, the world was formed. Then God said, “Be!” and all kinds of animals appeared. Our God creates, but evil is never creative. It’s nothing, merely the by-product of rebellion. Through His Son, God saved humanity, clearly rejecting immorality—stealing, stubbornness, murder, hypocrisy, and bullies.
That’s why you as pope must never collude with corruption. If you do, you confuse those who look to you as their leader, because, in effect, you’re saying to them, “Embrace what’s really nothing.”