25. Oct, 2013

MEDIEVAL SOURCES OF LIGHT

A reader has requested details of some of my spiritual references. Firstly, Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). The first feminist of her times,she wrote quite a lot about women in society. She was abbess of a large German abbey; prominent writer, poet,and composer. You may recall her music was played on the Proms. some years ago. For much of her life she experienced visions. These appeared in the Scivias, a monastic book, with all the stunning beauty of medieval craftmanship. Prominent rulers at the time would write to her for advice. Sometimes even on medical matters, for she had a remarkable knowledge of healing powers of nature. There is even a centre in Austria today, that practices her methods.

The second source is St.Thomas Aquinas, (1225-1274). Born near Naples, he eventually joined the Dominican Order. Studied under Albert the Great, the German philosopher and in his mid twenties he started an amazing stream of work, linking philosophy with theology. He left around 10 million words on so many different subjects, from his famous Five Proofs of the Existence of God through to Free Will, Psychology, God's creative power and so much, so much. Today, philosophers and Just War theorists and others make reference to his work. He was and is, an enormous influence, 'bestriding the world' as estimated by Albert the Great.

Then we have Meister Eckhart (1260-1329). Born near Erfurt in Germany, he joined the Dominican Order. He supported the Beguine Womens' movement in the Rhineland, and through his sermons and writing, evolved a theology of compassion and paradox. He has been likened to being almost a Zen Buddhist.We find life by losing it. Letting Go is a key part of Eckhart. 'Outside of God, there is nothing, but nothing'. 

Finally, Julian of Norwich (1342-14150). An anchorite nun in Norwich,she wrote much about God as mother. She experienced a short series of visions,the book, (The Revelations),which offers us an intense mystic journey towards God. -'The eye of love never leaves us, and the working of mercy ceases not.'

Thank you, Tom Baxter