On October 7, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed St. Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church.
How magnificent! I love Hildegard! Christie and I are so excited. She is my hero and favorite saint!!! Hildegard was all about balance, prayer, humility, and believed in holy listening. She was a woman so ahead of her time, a joyfilled, loving, servant leader.
Hildegard is the 4th woman of the 35 doctors of the church. The doctors of the church, saints honored for particularly important contributions to theology and spirituality, come from both the Eastern and Western church traditions.
In A Spiritual Reader: Hildegard of Bingen, author Carmen Acevedo Butcher, describes Hildegard as the ultimate in multitasking! She was amazing..."this Benedictine nun founded two convents; organized the first-ever public preaching tours conducted by a woman; authored nearly four hundred bold letters to popes, emperors, abbesses, abbots, monks, nuns and laypeople; worked as a healer, naturalist, botanist, dietary specialist, and exorcist; composed daring music; crafted poetry; wrote the first surviving sung morality play; and spent decades writing three compelling theological works."
What a powerhouse!
Here is one of my favorite passages from Hildegard's writings...
"...Continue to follow Him steadily. Love the One who is your Creator. After you become happy in God, He'll give you everything good. Life. Whatever you're looking for and whatever your heart most wants. Your trust in God permits only those things that are good to search you out.
Contemplation teaches spiritual confidence and pursues only what pleases God. So complain to God as much as you need to. Don't forget to cry out to God on behalf of your needy brother and sister. Then the aroma of good deeds - through God's love in you - rises, and God never stops fulfilling the requests you make out of kindness. A dependable person pays attention to these things and remembers them well."
Hildegard is absolutely the reason I returned to nursing. She inspired me when I felt vulnerable and had lost all confidence. At a time when women had no say in education, politics, and religion, relying on God's counsel and strength, she became a renown author, speaker, and holistic healer. She is a shining example of courage, leadership, and compassion.
Hildegard, above all, used the gifts God gave her. We are called to do the same. I am always reminding Christie to lean into and grab all the graces God is just waiting to give her. And she does! And look how God is using her life in concert with Bobby! Christie daily steps out of her comfort zone, growing and stretching, absolutely depending on God's guidance, energy, and wisdom.
Pope Benedict called Hildegard "a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times."
We are thrilled to call Hildegard a Doctor of the Church! I encourage everyone to research this wonderful woman, a treasure of the catholic church. I am grateful for the example of such a God driven servant. (I must tell you about Hildegard's analogy of the "feather" and our lives! It is so lovely...next time!)
"Through your awesome deeds of righteousness, you respond to us, O God, our Savior; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth..." Psalm 65:6
A friend recently loaned me her copy of "The Gift of the Red Bird," by Paula D'Arcy, Crossroad Press, 2003. What a gem! I cannot recommend it enough. Paula shares her journey through and beyond tragedy and deep loss to new beginnings and hope. Her writing is easy to take in. I read the book in an evening.
"Look at yourself," I hear God gently saying. "Really see yourself. See how you hold on to things. Whatever comes first...whatever you want the most...whatever you have to have, becomes your God. Put me first. That will change everything..." p.38
As a hospice nurse, I encounter much sorrow, endings, grief, and letting go, but also great love, healing and courage. The author's story gave me encouragement that when tragedy strikes one can survive and even triumph on the other side ... changed, yes, different, of course, but intact. Sadness and grief create new perspectives and clarify life for us.
"...I struggled with great sincerity to let my childhood ideas about God expand and growup, as I had. I had been taught that specific interpretations of God were the only ones which were correct. Yet God had already revealed himself to me far apart from those slim definitions. In many places where my religious programing insisted issues were black or white, I kept finding a great Mystery. The old, narrow and certain understandings were no longer big enough to contain this incredible, loving Spirit..." pg. 75
I love the way D'Arcy describes that God gently woos her to Him. This happens over several years. Living through grief can take a very long time. Everyone's experience is different. She has so many insights to offer, my book is glowing from all of the fluorescent yellow paper-sticky-arrows marking them!
"The hardest to admit is that I have often found truth in places (people/traditions) about whom I've had a lot of judgment. God is in everything. That knowledge alone, if grasped, is enough..." p.136
Paula's experience caused me to reexamine my routine, to look for God's extravagant love and expect it, and reminded me I need to let go of that prideful drive toward perfectionism that clouds good judgment.
I won't tell you what the significance of the red bird is. I will let you discover this for yourself.
I found used copies on Amazon and have already given several copies to friends. The back of the book features questions for reflection also.
I promise you will be uplifted and inspired to step outside the box. The hunt for this jewel will be well worth the time and effort. The stretching and growing are worth it. We all need a little red bird in our lives.
"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
I can't believe I am doing this!!!
Hello everybody! My wonderful friend, Christie, asked me to join her on her new project...this website. She is kinda crazy for asking me along because I am sort of silly, goofy, nutty, and well...weird...in a good way. You see...I LOVE life! God has so richly blessed me. Thank you, God! (I will say that a lot! There is sooooo much to be thankful for, even in this mixed up world.)
The reason why I am joining Christie in 10kidsofonemom.com is to uplift, inspire, motivate, encourage, challenge...well, you get the idea...
Ok...I found this cartoon over the weekend as I was quickly leafing through the newspaper, in the break room at work, and it describes me pretty well...I laughed my head off! It's a picture of someone laying on the couch in a therapist's office, except the person is levitating ABOVE the couch, and has a huge smile. The therapist sitting in the chair next to the couch says... "I'm prescribing you a mild depressant." Get it? A mild depressant!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! This describes meeeee!
This is going to be so much fun (why does my husband keep saying, "This is going to be painful!"?) You'll hear a lot about him...(He is even MORE crazy than me!)
Hey! And by the way...Christie is a gem. It is NOT easy being the wife of a crazy congressman like Bobby, much less the mom of 10 beautiful children. I admire her so.
So! Won't you join us on our new adventure?! I can't wait to get started!
Clarissa C Cook Hospice House 2546 Tech Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722-3345(563) 421-5100