OREMUS: 17 September 2007

Steve Benner oremus at insight.rr.com
Mon Sep 17 15:20:07 GMT 2007


OREMUS for Monday, September 17, 2007
Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise. nnn

Blessed are you, Shepherding God,
undaunted, you seek the lost,
exultant, you bring home the found.
You touch our hearts with grateful wonder
at the tenderness of your forbearing love,
revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.

An opening canticle may be sung.

Psalm 36 [CCP]
There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked;*
  there is no fear of God before their eyes.
They flatter themselves in their own eyes*
  that their hateful sin will not be found out.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;*
  they have left off acting wisely and doing good.
They think up wickedness upon their beds
    and have set themselves in no good way;*
  they do not abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,*
  and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,
    your justice like the great deep;*
  you save both human and beast, O Lord.
How priceless is your love, O God!*
  your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They feast upon the abundance of your house;*
  you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life,*
  and in your light we see light.
Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you,*
  and your favour to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of the proud come near me,*
  nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness!*
  they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.

Psalm 41
Happy are they who consider the poor and needy!*
  the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.
The Lord preserves them and keeps them alive,
    so that they may be happy in the land;*
  he does not hand them over to the will of their enemies.
The Lord sustains them on their sick-bed*
  and ministers to them in their illness.
I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me;*
  heal me, for I have sinned against you.’
My enemies are saying wicked things about me:*
  ‘When will he die and his name perish?’
Even if they come to see me, they speak empty words;*
  their heart collects false rumours;
    they go outside and spread them.
All my enemies whisper together about me*
  and devise evil against me.
‘A deadly thing’, they say, ‘has fastened on him;*
  he has taken to his bed and will never get up again.’
Even my best friend, whom I trusted,
    who broke bread with me,*
  has lifted up his heel and turned against me.
But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up,*
  and I shall repay them.
By this I know you are pleased with me,*
  that my enemy does not triumph over me.
In my integrity you hold me fast,*
  and shall set me before your face for ever.
Blessèd be the Lord God of Israel,*
  from age to age. Amen. Amen.

A Song of Divine Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-13)

Love is patient and kind,
  love is not jealous or boastful,
  it is not arrogant or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way,
  It is not angry or resentful.

It does not rejoice in wrongdoing
  but rejoices in the truth.

Love bears all things and believes all things;
  love hopes all things and endures all things.

Love will never come to an end,
  but prophecy will vanish,
  tongues cease and knowledge pass away.

Now we know only in part
  and we prophesy only in part,

But when the perfect comes,
  the partial shall pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
  I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

But when I became mature,
  I put an end to childish ways.

For now we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror,
  but then we will see face to face.

Now I know only in part;
  then I shall know fully,
  even as I have been fully known.

There are three things that last for ever,
   faith, hope and love,
  but the greatest of these is love.

Psalm 150
Alleluia!
    Praise God in his holy temple;*
  praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
  praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram’s-horn;*
  praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
  praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
  praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
  praise the Lord.
    Alleluia!

FIRST READING [1 Timothy 2:1-8]:

1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless 
them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for 
kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as 
we worship and honor God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God 
our Savior. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, 
which is,

There is only one God,
and Christ Jesus
is the only one
who can bring us to God.
Jesus was truly human,
and he gave himself
to rescue all of us.
God showed us this
at the right time.

This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. 
I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles 
about faith and truth.
I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands toward heaven and pray, 
without being angry or arguing with each other.

HYMN
Words: O viridissima Virga. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1175)
tr June Boyce-Tillman (b.1943) Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: Gelobt sei Gott

Flourishing branch you bear rich fruit,
answer tradition's quest for truth.
new life that springs from ancient roots,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Warmth of the sun distilled in you,
glows and makes fragrant blossoms new,
balsam and rose and dusky rue.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Skies drop their dew on rolling fields;
deep in your womb the dark earth yields;
sheltering nests their fledglings shield.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Fine is the flower that grows in you,
dryness is ended, earth made new.
God's creativity breaks through.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Your greening pow'r has borne rich fruit;
from a fine trunk new branches shoot;
firmly they stand on ancient roots.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Earth is rejoicing, now made new;
blossoming power is flowing through;
paradise visions come in view.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

SECOND READING [Luke 7:1-10]:

After Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. In that 
town an army officer's servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked 
this servant very much. And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish 
leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant.

The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, "This 
man deserves your help! He loves our nation and even built us a meeting 
place." So Jesus went with them.

When Jesus wasn't far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell 
him, "Lord, don't go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to 
come into my house. And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say 
the word, and my servant will get well. I have officers who give orders to 
me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, 
`Go!' and he goes. I can say to another, `Come!' and he comes. I can say to 
my servant, `Do this!' and he will do it."

When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the 
crowd following him, "In all of Israel I've never found anyone with this 
much faith!"

The officer's friends returned and found the servant well.

The Benedictus (Morning), the Magnificat (Evening), or Nunc dimittis 
(Night) may follow.

Prayer:
All-seeing, all-loving God,
you behold the human family as one.
You regard each of us as loved, redeemed, a temple of your Spirit.
Beholding you, we respond in thanks and praise as one Church.

Renew the Church in a dynamic sense of your grace.
Renew us, O Lord.

Work in us a continuing conversion:
Renew us, O Lord.

Give all your disciples eyes to see you in the ordinary:
Renew us, O Lord.

Lift the heavy hands of oppression
from the poor, the abused and the exploited:
Renew us, O Lord.

Kindle in the suffering and desperate
the warmth of your nearness and consolation:
Renew us, O Lord.

Stir up in us attention to the Spirit breathing within us:
Renew us, O Lord.

No creature has meaning
without the Word of God.
God's Word is in all creation, visible and invisible.
The Word is living, being,
spirit, all verdant greening,
all creativity.
This Word flashes out in
every creature.
This is how the spirit is in
the flesh the Word is indivisible from God.

Most glorious and holy God,
whose servant Hildegard, strong in the faith,
was caught up in the vision of your heavenly courts:
by the breath of your Spirit
open our eyes to glimpse your glory
and our lips to sing your praises with all the angels;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant us delight in the mercy that has found us
and bring all to rejoice at the feast of forgiveness. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from Celebrating 
Common Prayer (Mowbray), © The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used 
with permission.

The canticle is from Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary Edition, 
copyright © The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized 
Edition), copyright © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of 
the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by 
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing prayer use phrases from 
a prayer in Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language. Canterbury 
Press, Norwich, 1999.

Hymn © by Stainer & Bell Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, 
IL 60188).
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn, contact:
In US & Canada: Hope Publishing Company, www.hopepublishing.com
Rest of the World: Stainer & Bell Ltd., www.stainer.co.uk

The first collect is by Hildegard of Bingen and the second collect is from 
Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material 
from which is included in this service is copyright © The Archbishops' 
Council, 2000.

"Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood 
great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the 
banners of the king with great honor. Then it pleased the king to raise a 
small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather 
flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. 
Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God."

Hildegard of Bingen has been called by her admirers "one of the most 
important figures in the history of the Middle Ages," and "the greatest 
woman of her time." Her time was the 1100's (she was born in 1098), the 
century of Eleanor of Aquitaine, of Peter Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux, 
of the rise of the great universities and the building of Chartres 
cathedral. She was the daughter of a knight, and when she was eight years 
old she went to the Benedictine monastery at Mount St Disibode to be 
educated. The monastery was in the Celtic tradition, and housed both men 
and women (in separate quarters). When Hildegard was eighteen, she became a 
nun. Twenty years later, she was made the head of the female community at 
the monastery. Within the next four years, she had a series of visions, and 
devoted the ten years from 1140 to 1150 to writing them down, describing 
them (this included drawing pictures of what she had seen), and commenting 
on their interpretation and significance. During this period, Pope Eugenius 
III sent a commission to inquire into her work. The commission found her 
teaching orthodox and her insights authentic, and reported so to the Pope, 
who sent her a letter of approval. (He was probably encouraged to do so by 
his friend and former teacher, Bernard of Clairvaux.) She wrote back urging 
the Pope to work harder for reform of the Church.

The community of nuns at Mount St. Disibode was growing rapidly, and they 
did not have adequate room. Hildegard accordingly moved her nuns to a 
location near Bingen, and founded a monastery for them completely 
independent of the double monastery they had left. She oversaw its 
construction, which included such features (not routine in her day) as 
water pumped in through pipes. The abbot they had left opposed their 
departure, and the resulting tensions took a long time to heal.

Hildegard travelled throughout southern Germany and into Switzerland and as 
far as Paris, preaching. Her sermons deeply moved the hearers, and she was 
asked to provide written copies. In the last year of her life, she was 
briefly in trouble because she provided Christian burial for a young man 
who had been excommunicated. Her defense was that he had repented on his 
deathbed, and received the sacraments. Her convent was subjected to an 
interdict, but she protested eloquently, and the interdict was revoked. She 
died on 17 September 1179. Her surviving works include more than a hundred 
letters to emperors and popes, bishops, nuns, and nobility. She wrote 72 
songs including a play set to music. Musical notation had only shortly 
before developed to the point where her music was recorded in a way that we 
can read today. Accordingly, some of her work is now available on compact 
disk, and presumably sounds the way she intended. My former room-mate, a 
non-Christian and a professional musician, is an enthusiastic admirer of 
her work and considers her a musical genius. Certainly her compositional 
style is like nothing else we have from the twelfth century. The play set 
to music is called the Ordo Virtutum and show us a human soul who listens 
to the Virtues, turns aside to follow the Devil, and finally returns to the 
Virtues, having found that following the Devil does not make one happy.

She left us about seventy poems and nine books. Two of them are books of 
medical and pharmaceutical advice, dealing with the workings of the human 
body and the properties of various herbs. (These books are based on her 
observations and those of others, not on her visions.) I am told that some 
modern researchers are now checking her statements in the hope of finding 
some medicinal properties of some plant that has been overlooked till now 
by modern medicine. She also wrote a commentary on the Gospels and another 
on the Athanasian Creed. Much of her work has recently been translated into 
English, part in series like Classics of Western Spirituality, and part in 
other collections or separately.

But her major works are three books on theology: Scivias ("Know the 
paths!"), Liber Vitae Meritorum (on ethics), and De Operatione Dei. They 
deal (or at least the first and third do) with the material of her visions. 
The visions, as she describes them, are often enigmatic but deeply moving, 
and many who have studied them believe that they have learned something 
from the visions that is not easily put into words.

Her use of parable and metaphor, of symbols, visual imagery, and non-verbal 
means to communicate makes her work reach out to many who are totally deaf 
to more standard approaches. In particular, non-Western peoples are often 
accustomed to expressing their views of the world in visionary language, 
and find that Hildegard's use of similar language to express a Christian 
view of reality produces instant rapport, if not necessarily instant agreement.

Hildegard wrote and spoke extensively about social justice, about freeing 
the downtrodden, about the duty of seeing to it that every human being, 
made in the image of God, has the opportunity to develop and use the 
talents that God has given him, and to realize his God-given potential. 
This strikes a chord today.

Hildegard wrote explicitly about the natural world as God's creation, 
charged through and through with His beauty and His energy; entrusted to 
our care, to be used by us for our benefit, but not to be mangled or 
destroyed. [James Kiefer, abridged]



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