Season of Creation with St. Hildegard of Bingen (Days 15-19)
September 15, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



September 15 (Feast of the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 
My child, let your tears fall for the dead,
   and as one in great pain begin the lament.
Lay out the body with due ceremony,
   and do not neglect the burial. 
 Let your weeping be bitter and your wailing fervent;
   make your mourning worthy of the departed,
for one day, or two, to avoid criticism;
   then be comforted for your grief. 
 For grief may result in death,
   and a sorrowful heart saps one’s strength. 
 When a person is taken away, sorrow is over;
   but the life of the poor weighs down the heart. 
 Do not give your heart to grief;
   drive it away, and remember your own end. 
 Do not forget, there is no coming back;
   you do the dead* no good, and you injure yourself. 
 Remember his* fate, for yours is like it;
   yesterday it was his,* and today it is yours. 
When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest too,
   and be comforted for him when his spirit has departed.  (Ecclesiasticus 38:16-23)
Humility caused the Son of God to be born of the Virgin, in whom was found humility, not eager embraces or beauty of flesh or earthly riches or gold ornaments or earthly honors. But the Son of God lay in a manger, because His Mother was a poor maiden. Humility always groans, weeps and destroys all offenses, for this is its work. So let anyone who wishes to conquer the Devil arm himself with humility, since Lucifer fervently flees it and hides in its presence like a snake in a hole; for wherever it finds him, it quickly snaps him like a fragile thread.  And charity took the Only-Begotten of God, who was in the bosom of the Father in Heaven, and placed Him in the womb of a mother on earth, for it does not spurn sinners or publicans but seeks to save all. Therefore it often brings forth a fountain of tears from the eyes of the faithful, thus softening hardness of heart. In this, humility and charity are brighter than the other virtues, since humility and charity are like a soul and body that possess stronger powers than the other powers of soul and bodily members. How? Humility is like the soul and charity like the body, and they cannot be separated from each other but work together, just as soul and body cannot be disjoined but work together as long as a person lives in the body. And as the various members of the body are subject, according to their powers, to the soul and to the body, so also the other virtues cooperate, according to their justice, with humility and charity. And therefore, O humans, for the glory of God and for your salvation, pursue humility and charity; armed with them, you shall not fear the Devil's snares but shall have everlasting life.  Therefore whoever has knowledge in the Holy Spirit and wings of faith, let this one not ignore My admonition, but taste it, embrace it and receive it in his soul. 
Brightest Mother of holy medicine, 
through your holy Son you poured
unguents into the plangent wounds of death 
that Eve founded for torments of souls.
You destroyed death 
by founding life.
Pray to your Son for us, 
star of the sea, Mary.
Life-giving instrument 
and joyful ornament, 
sweetness of all delights
that in you will never fail.
Pray to your Son for us ...
Glory be to the Father and to the Son 
and to the Holy Spirit. 
Pray to your Son for us ... (Trad. Dennis Collins)

September 16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)


As God is rational, how could it be that he did not act, since he allows all of his works to flourish through the human being whom he created in his own image and likeness and in whom he marked out all creatures according to their measure? But it was in eternity that God wished to create his great work – the human being – and when he had completed that work he entrusted human beings with all creation so that they could create with it in the same way that God created his work, that is, humanity. (Book of Divine Works I, 1-3)
But when humanity was lying in a great darkness of infidelity and could not raise itself, I sent My Son for its salvation, miraculously incarnate of the Virgin, true God and true man. What does this mean? That His Divinity truly came forth from Me, the Father, and His Humanity truly took flesh from, the Virgin Mother. What does this mean? O human, you are soft and delicate of body, but hard and inflexible in your incredulity. For a stone can be smoothed for a building, but you are unwilling to be smoothed by the faith. Yet listen. As a person who has a beautiful jewel in a box puts it in a metal setting to show it to people, so I, Who had My Son in My heart, willed him to be incarnate of the Virgin to save the lives of those who believe. But if I had given Him a physical father, who would He be then? Not My Son, but My servant; and that could not be. He, born of the Virgin, ate, drank, lay down to sleep and experienced bodily miseries, but He never felt the taste of sin in His flesh, for He had assumed flesh not through a lie but through truth. What does this mean? Other people, because of Adam and Eve's transgression, are born from the taste of delight, which is to say through a lie and not the truth. But My Son did not originate so, but was born in sanctity from the most chaste Virgin to redeem humanity. For like cannot loose like from a chain; a greater one must come who can save him. What does this mean? That no person born in sin could deliver sinful humanity from the perdition of death. Therefore My Son came, without sin; He conquered death and mercifully delivered humanity therefrom.  But let the one who sees with watchful eyes and hears with attentive ears welcome with a kiss My mystical words, which proceed from Me Who am life. (Scivias VI, 102)
In the beginning 
all creation was verdant, 
flowers blossomed in the midst of it; 
later, greenness sank away.
And the champion saw this and said: 
“I know it, but the golden number is not yet full.
You then, behold me, mirror of your fatherhood:
in my body I am suffering exhaustion, 
even my little ones faint.
Now remember that the fullness 
which was made in the beginning
need not have grown dry,
and that then you resolved
that your eye would never fail
until you saw my body 
full of jewels. 
For it wearies me
that all my limbs 
are exposed to mockery.
Father, behold, I am showing you my wounds.”
So now, all you people,
bend your knees to the Father, 
that he may reach you his hand. (Trans. Peter Dronke)

September 17 (Feast of St. Hildegard of Bingen)

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with the rain; on the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath* returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.  Besides being wise, the Teacher* also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and wrote words of truth plainly.  (Ecclesiastes 12: 1-9)

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the time of affliction comes and before the years approach of which you will say: I do not like them.” What does this signify? Through your sense of reason, remember the one who created you when as it were in the days of your false confidence you consider it possible for you to proceed according to your desires: to raise yourself to the heights or plunge into the depths, to stand in prosperity or to fall in tribulation. For the sense of life which is within you is striving continuously towards perfection until that time when it will be fulfilled. How is this to be understood? The child advances from her first beginnings up to full adult stature and then remains in a state of perfection, abandoning that boisterousness which is mere foolish behaviour; but only with great trouble does she now provide carefully for those things in her life which need considering but which she used to neglect in the foolishness of her childhood. May the faithful person behave like this! May she abandon the behaviour of childhood and ascend to the fullness of the virtues! May she persevere in their strength, rejecting the arrogant desire which simmers in the foolishness of the vices! In her trials and tribulations may she meditate on what is beneficial to her, just as earlier she had inclined childishly to the behaviour of childhood!
Therefore, O human creature, embrace your God thus in the light of your vigour, before the hour arrives for the purgation of your deeds, when all things will be revealed and nothing will remain unconsidered. Then also all the times will flow past and will lack nothing of their fullness. In your sense of humanity you will grumble, saying: ‘I do not like these changeable things; I do not understand whether they will lead to prosperity or disaster’; for the human mind is always in doubt, because when it does good things it worries about whether they are pleasing to God; and when it does evil things it fears for the salvation of redemption. May whoever sees with watchful eyes or hears with echoing ears offer a kiss and embrace to these my mystical words, which are uttered by me, the Living One. (Scivias II,2:9)
Chant Prayer 
O gentlest lover,
giver of gentlest embraces: 
help us to guard
our virginity.
We are born in dust,
alas, alas, 
and in Adam’s error.
And it is very hard to resist
what the taste of the apple offers. 
Lift us up, O savior, O Christ!
We passionately desire to follow you.
O how heavy a burden it is for us wretched folk 
to imitate you,
unstained and innocent king of angels!
Yet we trust in you:
for you desire to find a gemstone
even in the midst of filth.
We call on you,
husband and comforter, 
who have redeemed us on the cross.
We are joined to you 
in marriage 
by your blood, 
rejecting men
and choosing you, 
the son of God.
O loveliest form,
o sweetest scent 
of desired delights:
always we sigh for you
in this mournful exile.
When shall we see you 
and abide with you?
We are in the world,
and you are in our minds,
and we embrace you in our hearts 
as if we had you present.
You are the strong lion 
who broke open the sky, 
descending into the Virgin’s inmost court, 
and destroyed death,
building life in the golden city.
Grant us fellowship with her,
and let us remain in you, 
O gentlest husband, 
who snatched us from the jaws of that devil 
who led our first father astray. (Trans. Lawrence Rosenwald)
September 18  
What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (Romans 1:19-23)
For God made all things through Wisdom to confound the devil’s wickedness, and so that, although he is invisible, he might be understood by the human person through faith and recognized through his work; and before time he held within himself the plan of order for his entire work, which he established in time, and in the process established humankind according to himself, first to arrange by thinking within themselves each thing that later they would administer in acting. (Book of Divine Works III 4:14)
This is the sense of God’s mystery: in order that we might clearly perceive and understand what his fullness is, the origin of which has never been seen and in which there is never any lack of the powerful strength that established all the streams of spiritual force. For if God were ever to be empty of his own greenness and power, what would become of his works? They would of course be in vain. Therefore he who is the maker is seen in the fullness of his works. (Scivias II, 2:1)
Invisible and eternal things are made known through visible and temporal things God, who created all things in his will, made them so that his name would be known and honoured. Through his creation he not only makes known visible and temporal things but also invisible and eternal things. Such matters are shown in this vision which you see. (Scivias I 3:1)
Chant Prayer
O Eternal God, now may it please you
to burn in love
so that we become the limbs
fashioned in the love you felt
when you begot your Son
at the first dawn
before all creation.
And consider this need which falls upon us,
take it from us for the sake of your Son,
and lead us to the joy of your salvation.
September 19
Wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.  Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets. (Wisdom 7:22-27)
Before the beginning of time, God held in his foreknowledge everything that he has since made. Outside of any moment or passing of time before eternity, all things visible and invisible appeared in the pure and sacred godhead, as trees and other created things when close to water are reflected in it; and though they are not actually in the water physically, nevertheless an accurate shape appears there. When God said “Fiat, let there be...”, at once all those things that did not have bodies assumed a physical shape – all those things which he had seen in his foreknowledge before the beginning of time. Just as in a mirror all things are reflected that stand before it, so all his created works appeared in holy divinity outside the passage of time. And how could God be empty of the foreknowledge of his works, since each of his creatures – once it has assumed physical form – is whole and perfect in its designated function; for the holy Divinity knew in advance how he would be present as thought, knowledge and function. A beam of light reveals the form of a created thing through its shadow, and likewise God’s pure foreknowledge perceives the form of every creature before it is embodied. Each thing that God intended to create in his foreknowledge, before it was bodied forth, shone out according to his likeness; and in the same way a man or woman will catch sight of the sun’s splendour before they actually see its substance. And just as the splendour of the sun indicates the sun itself, so also the praise of the angels reveals God, for it cannot ever be that the sun is without its light, and in the same way neither can the deity be without the praise of the angels. So the foreknowledge of God came first, and his work of creation followed; and if his foreknowledge had not preceded, then his work would not have appeared, for you can tell nothing by looking at a person’s body until you see their face: but when you see the person’s face, then you can praise their body. In this way a human being contains within him or her both the foreknowledge of God and the activity of God. (Book of Divine Works I, 1,7)
Chant Prayer
You blissful soul,
whose body, born of earth,
you trod down in the pilgrimage
of this world –
thus by divine rationality,
which made you its own mirror, 
you have been crowned.
The Holy Spirit, moreover, 
was wont to gaze upon you 
as its own dwelling-place.
Thus by divine rationality ...
Glory be to the Father and to the Son 
and to the Holy Spirit.
Thus by divine rationality ...
You blissful soul ...
Thus by divine rationality ... (Trans. Peter Dronke)