One Minute Reflection – 24 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 8:16–18

One Minute Reflection – 24 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 8:16–18 – Monday of the Twenty fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year B

“No one after lighting a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light.”…Luke 8:16

REFLECTION – “Christ,” wrote a Father of the Church, (Saint John Chrysostom), “has left us in this world to be like lamps…, to act like leaven…, to become seed, to bear fruit.”   If our lives were to have this kind of impact, we would not need to open our mouths.  Words would be unnecessary if we could show our works.   There wouldn’t be a single pagan left if we were truly christians.
We should avoid making the mistake of thinking that the apostolate consists, in the witness of a few pious practices.   We are christians, you and I but at the same time and without resolution of continuity, we are citizens and fellow-workers at very clear obligations, which we are to carry out in an exemplary fashion if we want to become holy once and for all.   It is Jesus Christ who urges us: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.   Nor do they light a lamp and then set it under a bushel basket;  it is set on a lampstand , where it gives light to all in the house.   Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:14-16)….Saint Josémaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975) Homily in Amigos de Diosno one after lighting a lamp luke 8 16 - christ wrote st john chrysostom - st josemaria - 24 sept 2018

“All of us who have received Baptism, pray that the Holy Spirit help us not to fall into these bad habits that cover the light and that He help us to carry forward, the light we received freely, that light of God that does so much good – the light of friendship, the light of meekness, the light of faith, the light of hope, the light of patience, the light of goodness.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 19 September 2016all of us who have received baptism - pope francis 24 sept 2018

PRAYER – Lord, be the beginning and the end of all that we do, all that we say, in every moment be our Light.   Prompt our actions with Your grace and complete them with Your all-powerful love.   May we always seek Your Face in every circumstance, in every moment, so that Your Light may become our life.   Blessed Anton Martin Slomsek, you lived your life in the Presence of the Holy Face of Christ our Lord, please intercede for us and for all the world.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever,


One Minute Reflection – 23 September – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:30–37 and the Memorial of St Padre Pio (1887-1968)

One Minute Reflection – 23 September – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:30–37
– Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Padre Pio (1887-1968)

“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”…Mark 9:35b

REFLECTION – “The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self:
there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection, except at the price of pain.”………St Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)the-life-of-a-christian-st-pio-23-sept-2018-mark9 35b if any would be first he must be last and servant...

PRAYER – “And you, Blessed Padre Pio, look down from heaven upon us assembled …today.   Intercede for all those who, in every part of the world, are spiritually united … and raise their prayers to you.   Come to the help of everyone;  give peace and consolation to every heart. Amen!” – from the homily of St Pope John Paul II at the Beatification of Padre Piost-pio-pray-for-us-2-23-sept-2017


One Minute Reflection – 22 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 8:4–15

One Minute Reflection – 22 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 8:4–15 – Saturday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year B

“And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bring forth fruit with patience.”…Luke 8:15and as for that in the good soil - luke 8 15 - 22 sept 2018

REFLECTION – “If you ask me what Jesus Christ means by this sower who goes out early to cast his seed over his field then, my brethren, that sower is the good God Himself, who began the work of our salvation from the beginning of the world by sending us His prophets before the coming of Christ, to teach us what was needed, if we would be saved. Not content with sending His servants, He came Himself, He marked out the way we should take, He came to make known His holy Word.
Do you know what a person is like who is not fed by this holy Word?… Such a person is like a patient without a doctor, a traveller who is lost and without a guide, a poverty stricken person without means of help.   Brethren, it is absolutely impossible to love and please God, unless we are fed by this divine Word.   What can draw us to follow Him unless by knowing Him?   And who enables us to know Him, with all His perfections, beauty and love for us, if not the Word of God, who teaches us about everything He has done for us and the good things He has in store for us in the next life?”…St John Marie Vianney (1786-1859)do you know what a person is like - st john vianney - 22 sept 2018

“This parable reminds us that we are the soil where the Lord tirelessly sows the seed of His Word and of His love.   How do we receive it?   And it will do us good not to forget that we too are sowers.   God sows good seed and here too we can also ask ourselves: which type of seed comes out of our heart and our mouth?   Remember, what counts, is … what comes out of the mouth and of the heart.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 13 July 2014god sows goiod seed - pope francis - 22 sept 2018

PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and neverending day, turn our ears and hearts to Your Word, that we may hear and live by the seed You have sown. May all that grows in us be of Your good seed and yield fruit a hundredfold.   Grant Lord, we pray, that by the prayers St Maurice and the Martyrs of Theban and St Thomas of Villanova, we may be filled with courage and love and spread Your Word by our lives. We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord and Word, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, maurice and theban martyrs - pray for us - 22 sept 2018st-thomas-of-villanova-pray-for-us 22 Sept 2017


Quote/s of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13

Quote/s of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13

“But as you have seen the power of Him that called, so consider also the obedience of him that was called – how he neither resisted, nor disputing said, ‘What is this?   Is it not indeed a deceitful calling, wherewith He calls me, being such as I am?’ nay,  for this humility again had been out of season but he obeyed straightaway and did not even request to go home and to communicate with his relations concerning this matter -as neither indeed, did the fishermen but as they left their net and their ship and their father, so did he his receipt of custom and his gain and followed, exhibiting a mind prepared for all things and breaking himself at once away, from all worldly things, by his complete obedience, he bore witness, that He who called him, had chosen a good time.

…Because He who is acquainted with the hearts and knows the secrets of each man’s mind, knew also when each of these would obey.”
(Homily 30 on Matthew)

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Churchhe who is acquainted with the hearts - st john chrysostom - 21 sept 2018 st matthew

“On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive Him,
as it were, when we freely assent to His promptings
and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done.
Christ, since He dwells in the hearts of His chosen ones
through the grace of His love, enters so that He might eat with us
and we with Him.   He ever refreshes us by the light of His presence
insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven.
He Himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.”

St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Doctor of the Churchon-hearing-christs-voice-st-bede-the-venerable-21-sept-2017

“That gaze overtook him completely, it changed his life.
We say he was converted.   He changed his life.
As soon as he felt that gaze in his heart, he got up and followed Him.
This is true – Jesus’ gaze always lifts us up.
It is a look that always lifts us up and never leaves you in your place,
never lets us down, never humiliates.   It invites you to get up –
a look that brings you to grow, to move forward, that encourages you,
because the One who looks upon you loves you.
The gaze makes you feel that He loves you.
This gives the courage to follow Him – ‘and he got up and followed Him.’”

Pope Francis 21 September 2013that gaze overtook him completely - pope francis - 21 sept 2018 feast of st matthew

“He looked on sinners,
called them
and brought them
to sit beside Him.”

Pope Francis
(2015)he looked on sinners - pope franics feast of st matthew 21 sept 2018


One Minute Reflection – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13

One Minute Reflection – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” …Matthew 9:11b

REFLECTION – “Our Lord chose Matthew, the tax collector, to encourage his fellows to join Him.   He looked on sinners, called them and brought them to sit beside Him.   What a wonderful sight!   Angels stand trembling while publicans, seated, rejoice.   The angels are struck with awe before the Lord’s greatness while sinners eat and drink with Him. The scribes choke with hatred and indignation, the publicans rejoice because of His mercy.   The heavens saw the sight and were filled with wonder;  hell saw it and was maddened.   Satan saw it and was enraged;  death saw it and withered;  the scribes saw it and were much troubled.
There was joy in heaven and happiness among the angels because the rebellious had been persuaded, the recalcitrant quieted and sinners reformed and because publicans had been made righteous.   Just as our Lord did not turn away from the shamefulness of the cross in spite of the entreaties of His friends (Mt 16:22) so he did not refuse the company of publicans in spite of the taunts of His enemies.   He despised mockery and scorned praise, thus accomplishing all that is for mankind’s good.”…St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel, or Diatessaron, 5, 17 (SC 121, p.115 rev.)why does your teacher - matthew 9 11b - he looked on sinners - st ephrem - 21 sept 2018

“He looked at Matthew calmly, peacefully. He looked at him with eyes of mercy; he looked at him as no one had ever looked at him before. And this look unlocked Matthew’s heart; it set him free, it healed him, it gave him hope, a new life, as it did to Zacchaeus, to Bartimaeus, to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, and to each of us. Even if we do not dare raise our eyes to the Lord, he looks at us first. This is our story, and it is like that of so many others. Each of us can say: “I, too, am a sinner, whom Jesus has looked upon”. I ask you, in your homes or in the Church, to be still for a moment and to recall with gratitude and happiness those situations, that moment, when the merciful gaze of God was felt in our lives.”…Pope Francis – 21 September 2015, The Feast of St Matthewjesus looked at him - pope francis - 21 sept 2018 - st matthew

PRAYER – Lord, You showed Your great mercy to Matthew the tax-gatherer,by calling him to become Your Apostle,supported by his prayer and example, may we always answer Your call and live in close union with You.   We make our prayer, in union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. St Matthew, Apostle of Christ, pray for us,


One Minute Reflection – 20 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:36–50

One Minute Reflection – 20 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:36–50 – Thursday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of the Korean Martyrs – Sts Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang & Companions – 103 saints and beati & St Eustachius & family (died 2nd century) – Martyrs

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much”….Luke 7:47

REFLECTION – “Today, in particular, Jesus brings us to inner conversion:  He explains why He forgives us and teaches us to make forgiveness received from and given to, our brothers and sisters – the “daily bread” of our existence.
…Dear friends, from the Word of God we have just heard emerge practical instructions for our life.   Jesus does not enter into a theoretical discussion with His interlocutors on this section of Mosaic Law;  He is not concerned with winning an academic dispute about an interpretation of Mosaic Law but His goal is to save a soul and reveal that salvation is only found in God’s love.   This is why He came down to the earth, this is why He was to die on the Cross and why the Father was to raise Him on the third day.
Jesus came to tell us, that He wants us all in Paradise and that hell, about which little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to His love. …it is stressed that there is no forgiveness without the desire for forgiveness, without opening the heart to forgiveness – here it is highlighted, that only divine forgiveness and divine love, received with an open and sincere heart, give us the strength to resist evil and “to sin no more”, to let ourselves be struck by God’s love so that it becomes our strength.   Jesus’ attitude, thus becomes a model to follow, for every community, which is called to make love and forgiveness the vibrant heart of its life.”…Pope Benedict XVI – Sunday, 25 March 2007her sins which are many - luke 7 47 and there is no forgiveness without - pope benedict - 20 sept 2018

” Salvation enters the heart, only when we open the heart, in the truth of our sins.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 18 Sept 2014 (“Pope Francis” painting by Natalia Tsarkova)salvation enters the heart only when we - pope francis 20 sept 2018

PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation, so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You faithfully, all the days of our life.   Give us Holy Father, a true desire for repentance and forgiveness and teach us each day, to forgive all with love.   Holy Martyrs, St Eustachius and family and those who so filled with love, died for the faith in Korea, please pray for us that we too may be filled with holy love and courage.   We make our prayer through our Lord, Jesus Christ in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, eustachius and family martyrs - pray for us - 20 sept 2018holy-martyrs-of-korea-pray-for-us-20-sept-2017


One Minute Reflection – 19 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:31–35

One Minute Reflection – 19 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:31–35 – Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Alonso de Orozco (1500 – 1591)

“To what then shall I compare the men of this generation and what are they like? “…Luke 7:31

REFLECTION – “It is actually the ruling class that closes the doors to the way that God wants to save us.   In this sense the powerful dialogues between Jesus and the ruling class of His time are understandable:  they argue, they put Him to the test, they lay traps to see if he falls, because they have resistance to being saved.   Jesus says to them: “I don’t understand you!   You are like those children:  we played the flute for you and you didn’t dance;  we sang a sad song for you and you didn’t weep.   What do you want?”.

We want our own way, we want salvation to be done our way.   It comes back to this “closure” to God’s modus operandi.” …Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 3 October 2014luke 7 31 - to what shall I compare - pope francis - we want our way! - 19 sept 2018

PRAYER – Remember Lord, Your solemn covenant, renewed and consecrated by the blood of the Lamb, so that Your people may obtain forgiveness for their sins and a continued growth in grace.   Turn our hearts from stone to flesh, grant that we may want only Your will.   St Alonso de Orozco, You constantly sought the will of God, please pray for us.   We make our prayer through Christ, the Lamb of God, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, alonso de orozco pray for us - 19 sept 2018


One Minute Reflection – 18 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:11–17

One Minute Reflection – 18 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:11–17, Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Juan Macias O.P. (1585-1645) and St Joseph of Cupertino O.F.M. Conv. (1603-1663)

And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”...Luke 7:14byoung man i say to arise - luke 7 14b - 18 sept 2018

REFLECTION – “Even if the signs of death have removed all hope of life, even if the bodies of the dead lie beside the tomb, yet, at the voice of God, the corpses of those ready to decompose will rise and recover speech.   The son is restored to his mother, he is called back from the tomb, snatched out of it.   And what is this tomb?   Your own.   Your bad habits, your lack of faith.  This is the tomb from which Christ delivers you, this is the tomb from which you will return to life if you listen to the Word of God.  Even if your sin is so grave that you are unable to wash it clean for yourself with your tears of repentance, the Church, your mother, she who intercedes for each one of her children like a widowed mother for her only son, will weep for you.   For she feels for it with a kind of spiritual suffering natural to her when she sees her offspring dragged down to death by lamentable vices…
Let her weep, then, this pious mother; let the crowd accompany her – and not just a crowd but a large crowd – and may it show compassion towards this tender mother. Then you will come to life again in your tomb and will be delivered, the bearers will stop and you will start to speak the words of the living; everyone will be astonished.   The example of one will correct the many and they will praise God for having granted such remedies to us for escaping death.”…St Ambrose (c 340-397) Father & Doctor (A treatise on the Gospel of Saint Luke)young man i say to you arise luke 7 14b - the son is restored to his mother - st ambrose 18 sept 2018

God wants us to stand upright.   He created us to be on our fee,: for this reason, Jesus’ compassion leads to that gesture of healing, to heal us, of which the key phrase is:  “Arise! Stand up, as God created you!”.   Standing up.   “But Father, we fall so often” — “Onward, arise!”.   This is Jesus’ word, always.   His word revives us, gives us hope, refreshes weary hearts, opens us to a vision of the world and of life which transcends suffering and death…Pope Francis – General audience, 10 August 2016young man i say to arise - luke 7 14b - pope francis - god wants us to stand upright - 18 sept 2018

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help me to be holy in the way that You have laid out for me. Let me stand upright and carry out my duties of my state of life to the full.   Only in You may I attain holiness, learning to give myself, my will, my heart and my to You.   St Joseph of Cupertino, you who were so disadvantaged, achieved by the grace of God, sanctity in this life and now behold His Face through all eternity.   St Juan, in your lowly work, you stood in the Light of Christ, allowing the lowly and rich, to see Him who saved us.   We ask You Holy Father, that You grant, by the intercession pf St Joseph and Juan, that we may reach our heavenly home.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, sept 2017

st juan macias pray for us 18 sept 2018


One Minute Reflection – 17 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:1-10

One Minute Reflection – 17 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 7:1-10 – Monday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Robert Bellarmine SJ (1542-1621) and St Hildegard von Bingen OSB (1098-1179) both Doctors of the Church

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.”…Luke7:6b-7

REFLECTION – “This man was a pagan, for the Jewish people were occupied by the Imperial Roman army at that time.   So it was as a centurion in Judaea that he was commanding his soldiers…
But our Lord, although he was in the midst of the people of Judaea, was already talking about the Church being spread all over the earth wherever His apostles were to be sent (Mt 8:11).   Indeed, the gentiles believed in Him without having see Him… Our Lord did not physically enter the centurion’s house and, even though absent in body, He was present in majesty and healed both that house and its faith.   Similarly, our Lord stood physically only amongst the people of Judaea -other peoples did not see His being born of a virgin, or suffering, or walking, or subject to the condition of human nature, or carrying out divine miracles.   None of these things were done amongst the gentiles and yet it was amongst them that what was said about Him was fulfilled:  “A people I did not know have served me.”   In what way did they serve Him?   The Psalm continues:  “As soon as they heard me, they obeyed me” (Ps 18[17]:44-45).”…St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Churchlord i am not worth - luke 7 6b-7 and indeed the gentiles believed - st augustine - 17 sept 2018

“When we go out to meet the Lord, we in some sense are masters of the moment. However, when we allow ourselves to be encountered by Him, He enters into us and renews us from within.   This is what it means for Christ to come, to renew all things, to renew hearts, souls, lives, hope and the journey.   We are on a journey of faith, like the faith of this centurion, to encounter the Lord and to allow ourselves to be encountered by Him.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 2 December 2013lord i am not worth - luke 7 6b-7 and this is what it means pope francis - 17 sept 2018

PRAYER – Lord God and holy Father, guard our faith we pray and grace us with Your mercy.   Keep us every faithful to Your precepts and bring us to Your home, to look upon Your Face.   May the prayers of Your saints assist us on our journey.   In your untiring life of trust in God, St Hildegard von Bingen, you sought to make Him the goal of all and the love of all, please pray that we may imitate your zeal and love.   St Robert Bellarmine, as you worked tirelessly for the salvation of souls, so now pray for us all, as tirelessly, that we may achieve eternal joy.   We ask all this through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, hildegard von bingen pray for us 17 sept 2018st-robert-bellarmine-pray-for-us-17-sept-2017-no-2


Saint of the Day – 17 September – St Hildegard von Bingen OSB (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 17 September – St Hildegard von Bingen OSB (1098-1179) Doctor of the Church – born on 1098 at Bermersheim, Rhineland Palatinate (modern Germany) and died on 17 September 1179 at Bingen, Rhineland Palatinate (modern Germany) of natural causes.   She was Beatified on 26 August 1326 by Pope John XXII and Canonised on 10 May 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI (equipollent canonisation) and declared a Doctor of the Church by the same Pope on 7 October 2012.   St Hildegard is also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine Abbess, Theologian, Writer, Composer, Philosopher, Poet, Mystic, Visionary, Founder, Scientist, Artist and Polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.    Hildegard was elected magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165.   One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play.   She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias.   She is also noted for the invention of a constructed language known as Lingua hildegard bio infoHILDEGARD VON BINGEN

Proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen,
professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict,
a Doctor of the Universal Church

1. A “light for her people and her time”:  in these words Blessed John Paul II, my Venerable Predecessor, described Saint Hildegard of Bingen in 1979, on the occasion of the eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of this German mystic.   This great woman truly stands out crystal clear against the horizon of history for her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching.   And, as with every authentic human and theological experience, her authority reaches far beyond the confines of a single epoch or society; despite the distance of time and culture, her thought has proven to be of lasting relevance.

In Saint Hildegard of Bingen there is a wonderful harmony between teaching and daily life.   In her, the search for God’s will in the imitation of Christ was expressed in the constant practice of virtue, which she exercised with supreme generosity and which she nourished from biblical, liturgical and patristic roots in the light of the Rule of Saint Benedict.   Her persevering practice of obedience, simplicity, charity and hospitality was especially visible.   In her desire to belong completely to the Lord, this Benedictine Abbess was able to bring together rare human gifts, keen intelligence and an ability to penetrate heavenly realities.514px-Engraving;_German_abbess_and_physician_Hildegard_von_Bingen_Wellcome_L0005783

2. Hildegard was born in 1098 at Bermersheim, Alzey, to parents of noble lineage who were wealthy landowners.   At the age of eight she was received as an oblate at the Benedictine Abbey of Disibodenberg, where in 1115 she made her religious profession. Upon the death of Jutta of Sponheim, around the year 1136, Hildegard was called to succeed her as magistra.   Infirm in physical health but vigorous in spirit, she committed herself totally to the renewal of religious life.   At the basis of her spirituality was the Benedictine Rule which views spiritual balance and ascetical moderation as paths to holiness.   Following the increase in vocations to the religious life, due above all to the high esteem in which Hildegard was held, around 1150 she founded a monastery on the hill of Rupertsberg, near Bingen, where she moved with twenty sisters.   In 1165, she established another monastery on the opposite bank of the Rhine.   She was the Abbess of both.

Within the walls of the cloister, she cared for the spiritual and material well-being of her sisters, fostering in a special way community life, culture and the liturgy.   In the outside world she devoted herself actively to strengthening the Christian faith and reinforcing religious practice, opposing the heretical trends of the Cathars, promoting Church reform through her writings and preaching and contributing to the improvement of the discipline and life of clerics  . At the invitation first of Hadrian IV and later of Alexander III, Hildegard practised a fruitful apostolate, something unusual for a woman at that time, making several journeys, not without hardship and difficulty, to preach even in public squares and in various cathedral churches, such as at Cologne, Trier, Liège, Mainz, Metz, Bamberg and Würzburg.   The profound spirituality of her writings had a significant influence both on the faithful and on important figures of her time and brought about an incisive renewal of theology, liturgy, natural sciences and music. Stricken by illness in the summer of 1179, Hildegard died in the odour of sanctity, surrounded by her sisters at the monastery of Rupertsberg, Bingen, on 17 September 1179.

3. In her many writings Hildegard dedicated herself exclusively to explaining divine revelation and making God known in the clarity of His love.   Hildegard’s teaching is considered eminent both for its depth, the correctness of its interpretation and the originality of its views.   The texts she produced are refreshing in their authentic “intellectual charity” and emphasise the power of penetration and comprehensiveness of her contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, the Church, humanity and nature as God’s creation, to be appreciated and respected.

These works were born from a deep mystical experience and propose a perceptive reflection on the mystery of God.   The Lord endowed her with a series of visions from childhood, whose content she dictated to the Benedictine monk Volmar, her secretary and spiritual advisor and to Richardis von Stade, one of her women religious.   But particularly illuminating are the judgements expressed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who encouraged her and especially by Pope Eugene III, who in 1147 authorised her to write and to speak in public.   Theological reflection enabled Hildegard to organise and understand, at least in part, the content of her visions.   In addition to books on theology and mysticism, she also authored works on medicine and natural sciences.   Her letters are also numerous — about four hundred are extant;  these were addressed to simple people, to religious communities, popes, bishops and the civil authorities of her time.   She was also a composer of sacred music.   The corpus of her writings, for their quantity, quality and variety of interests, is unmatched by any other female author of the Middle Ages.

Her main writings are the Scivias, the Liber Vitae Meritorum and the Liber Divinorum Operum.   They relate her visions and the task she received from the Lord to transcribe them. In the author’s view her Letters were no less important, they bear witness to the attention Hildegard paid to the events of her time, which she interpreted in the light of the mystery of God.   In addition there are 58 sermons, addressed directly to her sisters. They are her Expositiones Evangeliorum, containing a literary and moral commentary on Gospel passages related to the main celebrations of the liturgical year.   Her artistic and scientific works focus mainly on music, in the Symphonia Harmoniae Caelestium Revelationum;  on medicine, in the Liber Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum and in the Causae et Curae and on natural sciences in the Physica.   Finally her linguistic writings are also noteworthy, such as the Lingua Ignota and the Litterae Ignotae, in which the words appear in an unknown language of her own invention but are composed mainly of phonemes present in German.

Hildegard’s language, characterised by an original and effective style, makes ample use of poetic expressions and is rich in symbols, dazzling intuitions, incisive comparisons and evocative metaphors.HILDEGARD ICON

4. With acute wisdom-filled and prophetic sensitivity, Hildegard focused her attention on the event of revelation.   Her investigation develops from the biblical page in which, in successive phases, it remains firmly anchored.   The range of vision of the mystic of Bingen was not limited to treating individual matters but sought to offer a global synthesis of the Christian faith.   Hence in her visions and her subsequent reflections she presents a compendium of the history of salvation from the beginning of the universe until its eschatological consummation.   God’s decision to bring about the work of creation is the first stage on this immensely long journey which, in the light of sacred Scripture, unfolds from the constitution of the heavenly hierarchy until it reaches the fall of the rebellious angels and the sin of our first parents.

This initial picture is followed by the redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, the activity of the Church that extends in time the mystery of the Incarnation and the struggle against Satan.   The definitive Coming of the Kingdom of God and the Last Judgement crown this work.

Hildegard asks herself and us the fundamental question, whether it is possible to know God:  This is theology’s principal task.   Her answer is completely positive: through faith, as through a door, the human person is able to approach this knowledge.   God, however, always retains his veil of mystery and incomprehensibility  . He makes himself understandable in creation but, creation itself is not fully understood when detached from God.   Indeed, nature considered in itself provides only pieces of information which often become an occasion for error and abuse.   Faith, therefore, is also necessary in the natural cognitive process, for otherwise knowledge would remain limited, unsatisfactory and misleading.

Creation is an act of love by which the world can emerge from nothingness.   Hence, through the whole range of creatures, divine love flows as a river.   Of all creatures God loves man in a special way and confers upon him an extraordinary dignity, giving him that glory which the rebellious angels lost.   The human race may thus be counted as the tenth choir of the angelic hierarchy.   Indeed human beings are able to know God in Himself, that is, His one nature in the Trinity of Persons. Hildegard approached the mystery of the Blessed Trinity along the lines proposed by Saint Augustine.   By analogy with his own structure as a rational being, man is able to have an image at least of the inner life of God.   Nevertheless, it is solely in the economy of the Incarnation and human life of the Son of God that this mystery becomes accessible to human faith and knowledge.   The holy and ineffable Trinity in supreme Unity was hidden from those in the service of the ancient law.   But in the new law of grace it was revealed to all who had been freed from slavery.   The Trinity was revealed in a special way in the Cross of the Son.

A second “space” in which God becomes known is His word, contained in the Books of the Old and New Testament.   Precisely because God “speaks”, man is called to listen.   This concept affords Hildegard the opportunity to expound her doctrine on song, especially liturgical song.   The sound of the word of God creates life and is expressed in his creatures.   Thanks to the creative word, beings without rationality are also involved in the dynamism of creation.   But man of course is the creature who can answer the voice of the Creator with his own voice.   And this can happen in two ways:  in voce oris, that is, in the celebration of the liturgy, and in voce cordis, that is, through a virtuous and holy life.   The whole of human life may therefore be interpreted as harmonic and symphonic.Museum - Hildegard von Bingen

5. Hildegard’s anthropology begins from the biblical narrative of the creation of man (Gen 1:26), made in the image and likeness of God.   Man, according to Hildegard’s biblically inspired cosmology, contains all the elements of the world because the entire universe is recapitulated in him;  he is formed from the very matter of creation.   The human person can therefore consciously enter into a relationship with God.   This does not happen through a direct vision, but, in the words of Saint Paul, as “in a mirror” (1 Cor 13:12).   The divine image in man consists in his rationality, structured as intellect and will.   Thanks to his intellect, man can distinguish between good and evil;  thanks to his will, he is spurred to action.

Human beings are seen as a unity of body and soul. The German mystic shows a positive appreciation of corporeity and providential value is given even to the body’s weaknesses. The body is not a weight from which to be delivered.   Although human beings are weak and frail, this “teaches” them a sense of creatureliness and humility, protecting them from pride and arrogance.   Hildegard contemplated in a vision the souls of the blessed in paradise waiting to be rejoined to their bodies.   Our bodies, like the body of Christ, are oriented to the glorious resurrection, to the supreme transformation for eternal life.   The very vision of God, in which eternal life consists, cannot be definitively achieved without the body.

The human being exists in both the male and female form.   Hildegard recognised that a relationship of reciprocity and a substantial equality between man and woman is rooted in this ontological structure of the human condition.   Nevertheless the mystery of sin also dwells in humanity and was manifested in history for the first time precisely in the relationship between Adam and Eve.   Unlike other medieval authors who saw Eve’s weakness as the cause of the Fall, Hildegard places it above all in Adam’s immoderate passion for her.

Even in their condition as sinners, men and women continue to be the recipients of God’s love, because God’s love is unconditional and, after the Fall, acquires the face of mercy. Even the punishment that God inflicts on the man and woman brings out the merciful love of the Creator.   In this regard, the most precise description of the human creature is that of someone on a journey, homo viator.   On this pilgrimage towards the homeland, the human person is called to a struggle in order constantly to choose what is good and avoid evil.

The constant choice of good produces a virtuous life.   The Son of God made man is the subject of all virtues, therefore the imitation of Christ consists precisely in living a virtuous life in communion with Christ.   The power of virtue derives from the Holy Spirit, poured into the hearts of believers, who brings about upright beha  viour. This is the purpose of human existence.   In this way man experiences his Christ-like perfection.vonbingenhildeg

6. So as to achieve this goal, the Lord has given his Church the sacraments.   Salvation and the perfection of the human being are not achieved through the effort of the will alone but rather through the gifts of grace that God grants in the Church.

The Church herself is the first sacrament that God places in the world so that she may communicate salvation to mankind.   The Church, built up from “living souls”, may rightly be considered virgin, bride and mother and thus resembles closely the historical and mystical figure of the Mother of God.  The Church communicates salvation first of all by keeping and proclaiming the two great mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation, which are like the two “primary sacraments” and then through administration of the other sacraments.   The summit of the sacramental nature of the Church is the Eucharist. The sacraments produce the sanctification of believers, salvation and purification from sin, redemption and charity and all the other virtues.   However, to repeat, the Church lives because God within her has manifested his intraTrinitarian love, which was revealed in Christ.   The Lord Jesus is the mediator par excellence.   From the Trinitarian womb He comes to encounter man and from Mary’s womb He encounters God.   As the Son of God, He is love incarnate;  as the Son of Mary, He is humanity’s representative before the throne of God.

The human person can have an experience of God.   Relationship with Him, in fact, is not lived solely in the sphere of rationalit but involves the person totally.   All the external and internal senses of the human being are involved in the experience of God.   “But man was created in the image and likeness of God, so that he might act through the five bodily  senses;  he is not divided by them, rather through them he is wise, knowledgeable and intelligent in doing his work (…). For this very reason, because man is wise, knowledgeable and intelligent, he knows creation;  he knows God — whom he cannot see except by faith — through creation and his great works, even if with his five senses he barely comprehends them” (Explanatio Symboli Sancti Athanasii in PL 197, 1073).   This experiential process finds once again, its fullness in participation in the sacraments.

Hildegard also saw contradictions in the lives of individual members of the faithful and reported the most deplorable situations.   She emphasised in particular that individualism in doctrine and in practice on the part of both lay people and ordained ministers is an expression of pride and constitutes the main obstacle to the Church’s evangelising mission to non-Christians.

One of the salient points of Hildegard’s magisterium was her heartfelt exhortation to a virtuous life addressed to consecrated men and women.   Her understanding of the consecrated life is a true “theological metaphysics”, because it is firmly rooted in the theological virtue of faith, which is the source and constant impulse to full commitment in obedience, poverty and chastity.   In living out the evangelical counsels, the consecrated person shares in the experience of Christ, poor, chaste and obedient and follows in his footsteps in daily life.   This is fundamental in the consecrated life.hildegard statue

7. Hildegard’s eminent doctrine echoes the teaching of the Apostles, the Fathers and writings of her own day, while it finds a constant point of reference in the Rule of Saint Benedict.   The monastic liturgy and the interiorisation of sacred Scripture are central to her thought which, focusing on the mystery of the Incarnation, is expressed in a profound unity of style and inner content that runs through all her writings.

The teaching of the holy Benedictine nun stands as a beacon for homo viator.   Her message appears extraordinarily timely in today’s world, which is especially sensitive to the values that she proposed and lived.   For example, we think of Hildegard’s charismatic and speculative capacity, which offers a lively incentive to theological research;  her reflection on the mystery of Christ, considered in its beauty;  the dialogue of the Church and theology with culture, science and contemporary art;  the ideal of the consecrated life as a possibility for human fulfilment; her appreciation of the liturgy as a celebration of life;  her understanding of the reform of the Church, not as an empty change of structure but as conversion of heart;  her sensitivity to nature, whose laws are to be safeguarded and not violated.

For these reasons the attribution of the title of Doctor of the Universal Church to Hildegard of Bingen has great significance for today’s world and an extraordinary importance for women.   In Hildegard are expressed the most noble values of womanhood – hence the presence of women in the Church and in society is also illumined by her presence, both from the perspective of scientific research and that of pastoral activity.   Her ability to speak to those who were far from the faith and from the Church make Hildegard a credible witness of the new evangelisation.

By virtue of her reputation for holiness and her eminent teaching, on 6 March 1979 Cardinal Joseph Höffner, Archbishop of Cologne and President of the German Bishops’ Conference, together with the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops of the same Conference, including myself as Cardinal Archbishop of Munich and Freising, submitted to Blessed John Paul II the request that Hildegard of Bingen be declared a Doctor of the Universal Church. In that petition, the Cardinal emphasized the soundness of Hildegard’s doctrine, recognized in the twelfth century by Pope Eugene III, her holiness, widely known and celebrated by the people, and the authority of her writings. As time passed, other petitions were added to that of the German Bishops’ Conference, first and foremost the petition from the nuns of Eibingen Monastery, which bears her name. Thus, to the common wish of the People of God that Hildegard be officially canonized, was added the request that she be declared a “Doctor of the Universal Church”.

With my consent, therefore, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints diligently prepared a Positio super Canonizatione et Concessione tituli Doctoris Ecclesiae Universalis for the Mystic of Bingen.   Since this concerned a famous teacher of theology who had been the subject of many authoritative studies, I granted the dispensation from the measures prescribed by article 73 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.   The cause was therefore examined and approved by the Cardinals and Bishops, who met in Plenary Session on 20 March 2012.   The proponent (ponens) of the cause was His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. At the audience of 10 May 2012, Cardinal Amato informed us in detail about the status quaestionis and the unanimous vote of the Fathers at the above-mentioned Plenary Session of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.   On 27 May 2012, Pentecost Sunday, I had the joy of announcing to the crowd of pilgrims from all over the world gathered in Saint Peter’s Square the news of the conferral of the title of Doctor of the Universal Church upon Saint Hildegard of Bingen and Saint John of Avila at the beginning of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and on the eve of the Year of Faith.

Today, with the help of God and the approval of the whole Church, this act has taken place.   In Saint Peter’s Square, in the presence of many Cardinals and Prelates of the Roman Curia and of the Catholic Church, in confirming the acts of the process and willingly granting the desires of the petitioners, I spoke the following words in the course of the Eucharistic sacrifice:  “Fulfilling the wishes of numerous brethren in the episcopate and of many of the faithful throughout the world, after due consultation with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, with certain knowledge and after mature deliberation, with the fullness of my apostolic authority I declare Saint John of Avila, diocesan priest and Saint Hildegard of Bingen, professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict, to be Doctors of the Universal Church.   In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”HILDEGARD VON BINGEN-LG

I hereby decree the present Letter to be perpetually valid and fully effective, and I establish that from this moment anything to the contrary proposed by any person, of whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, is invalid and without force

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, under the ring of the Fisherman, on 7 October 2012, in the eighth year of my Pontificate.