Saint Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179) ON PRAYER

[This is the another of a an ongoing series of posts featuring a saint, mystic, or writer to include some of their thoughts on prayer as well as a prayer written by or ascribed to him or her.  Last year Pope Benedict XVI named her just the fourth female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her theological writings,  mystic poetry, and musical compositions.]


Underneath all the texts, 
all the sacred psalms and canticles, 
these watery varieties of sounds and silences, 
terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle 
must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. 
My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.

When the words come, they are merely empty shells without the music. They live as they are sung, for the words are the body and the music the spirit.

Dare to declare who you are.
It is not far from the shores of silence 
to the boundaries of speech. 
The path is not long, but the way is deep. 
You must not only walk there, 
you must be prepared to leap.

A Prayer by Hildegarde of Bingen
What is wrong with me?
I know nothing that is good;
I cannot even think of it. 

I, a sinner — alas, what can I do?
I do not know and cannot even think
what will become of me
because of my many, many sins.

Oh, where shall I turn,
to whom shall I run for help
to cover my shameful sins
and remove them with repentance?

I will turn back in my heart,
return in true repentance
to you, God, who have touched my wounds.

Awakened from the sleep of death,
I will not sin again
in thought word or deed.

Source of prayer 

[Here are two examples of her chant. The first is a five minute excerpt from an amazing group of women who specialize in medieval chant. The second is a much longer 19 minutes sample. Both are good to help one settle down for prayer or to use as background when praying.]



About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Prayer, Quotations, Songs and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s