Hildegard of Bingen

Today is the Feast Day of the 12th century visionary, Hildegard of Bingen.

We know that God communicates with people in many different ways. The way God communicated with Hildegard was through visions. As she explained once to a close friend, “I see things and I do not hear them with my bodily ears, nor with the thoughts of my heart, nor do I perceive them through a combination of my five senses, but ever in my soul, with my external eyes open.” Her visions made her feel alive and completely connected to God.

At the age of 45, Hildegard started to record her visions and the other sisters with whom she lived, under her supervision, translated some of her visions into paintings that were published along with her texts. Here is one of those paintings, along with Hildegard’s explanation. It make for a nice contemplation of the Trinity.

“Then I saw a bright light, and in this light the figure of a man the color of sapphire, which was all blazing with a gentle glowing fire. And that bright light bathed the whole of the glowing fire, and the glowing fire bathed the bright light; and the bright light and the glowing fire poured over the whole human figure, so that the three were one light in one power of potential.”

Having seen this, she heard what she called the Living Light explain to her:
“Therefore you see a bright light, which without any flaw of illusion, deficiency, or deception designates the Father, and in this light the figure of a man the color of a sapphire, which without any flaw of obstinacy, envy, or iniquity designates the Son, who was begotten of the Father in Divinity before time began, and then within time was incarnate in the world in Humanity; which is all blazing with a gentle glowing fire, which fire without any flaw of aridity, mortality, or darkness designates the Holy Spirit, by whom the Only-Begotten of God was conceived in the flesh and born of the Virgin.”

And with respect to the lights and figure bathing each other, Hildegard was told, “This means that the Father, who is Justice, is not without the Son or the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit, who kindles the hearts of the faithful, is not without the Father or the Son; and the Son, who is the plenitude of fruition, is not without the Father or the Holy Spirit. They are inseparable in Divine Majesty.”

Through this vision, Hildegard experienced in a real way God’s existence as Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “inseparable in Divine Majesty.”