“By their purity of purpose, these women have overcome their vain, empty unpredictable desires. Through their passionate love for the true Son, they have ascended to that level beyond the confines of prescribed laws and now they breathe a new air, an air pure beyond the clarity of the purest water; and they shine with radiance beyond the radiant glory of the sun. In the green life of their virginity and in the blossoming of body and spirit, these women have revealed their sweetest longings. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they have been filled with the fragrance and power of many virtues. And now they feel the breath of a new air, air that breathes the fresh green force of all the herbs and flowers of earth and paradise; air that is filled with the fragrance of life-giving power, just as the summer is filled with the perfume of green plants and flowers.” (The Wisdom of Hildegard of Bingen)
It’s easy to be cynical of words like this: the medieval way of thinking is certainly quite distant from our own. But aren’t they positive, reaching upwards and not inwards, revealing the need to live supernaturally, in touch with God? Don’t they paint a picture of celibates fulfilled in their union with God and satiated by the life He brings?
Hildegard thought green … abundant, verdant, well-watered, God-breathed life … O to feel the breath of a new, pure air, air that breathes the fresh green force .. air filled with life-giving power ... the Holy Spirit. How we need Him and the abundant life He brings!