You of the whirling wings,
Energy of God:
You quicken the world in your clasp.
One wing soars in heaven
One wing sweeps the earth
And the third flies all around us.
Praise to Sophia!
Let all the earth praise her!
- Antiphon for Divine Wisdom: O Virtus sapientiae
For Hildegard, Wisdom offers us the face of the Divine, calling us to cooperate with the greening force of love and creative power. Wisdom is at the heart of our discernment and asks us how will we choose to act in the world - Will we act out of freedom and goodness? Will we act out of fear and grasping?
We participated in a dramatized reading of Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum, a musical play about the Virtues, in the genre of a morality play.
It is the story of a Soul in a human body, struggling with the challenges of humanity: “But I hate long working hours! I’m weary of the tedious load I carry on earth. I find it so hard to fight my humanness.”
Hildegard describes the dance between virtue and vice in our living. We tend to polarize good and evil. But for Hildegard, what we often label as evil/sin/vice is the shadow of virtue turned inward. Her invitation is to ask how do I practice a particular virtue to bring balance - greening into my life?
In our dramatic reading, I was given the virtue of Compassion: ”A person can become bitter, because, when the heart holds resentment, few things can soften it. But I’m determined to give a hand to anyone who needs it”. To which all the other Virtues respond, “Praiseworthy Mother of all pilgrims, you’re always on the move somewhere, forever anointing (and feeding) the poor and the weak”.
I am asking myself where do I need to practice compassion more - both with the shadow within myself, as well as in my relationships with others?