This beautiful Hildegard of Bingen Trinity and Unity Greeting Card is a customer favorite. Measuring 5.75 x 4.5 inches, the greeting card is blank inside. Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), the “Sibyl of the Rhine” who is now a Doctor of the Church, was an incredibly gifted woman of many talents: writer, composer, philosopher, polymath, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and mystic.
The True Trinity in the True Unity
In Scivias, Saint Hildegard’s first book of visions, the second vision is of Christ as a sapphire blue figure, standing in the midst of two circles: the first one golden-colored with a diameter corresponding to Christ’s height, and the second circle in a silvery color, surrounding and encompassing the smaller figure. These two circles are in turn superimposed on a blue background framed with floral designs. Saint Hildegard asserts that this powerful image is not just of Christ, but is in fact a vision of the Holy Trinity:
This is the perception of God’s mysteries . . . that bright light bathes the whole of the glowing fire, and the glowing fire bathes the bright light; and the bright light and the glowing fire pour over the whole human figure, so that the three are one light in one power of potential.
The largest circle represents light—the light of God. The inner circle signifies the fire of the Holy Spirit. And of course, the figure, washed in a rich, marine blue, is Christ — not Christ as a solitary figure, but rather Christ permeated by the fire of the Holy Spirit and the light of God the Father. This is a circular, cyclical, quasi-mandala Holy Trinity. No sharp, angular (and hyper-masculine) triangular Trinity here. Rather, Saint Hildegard presents us with a fluid, dynamic, energizing Trinity that bypasses the typical anthropomorphism for the Father and the Spirit and celebrates instead the three Persons of the Trinity both in their distinctness and in their inherent unity. The circle is a feminine archetype which understand the cosmos and time cyclically rather than linearly. This is a cosmology of inclusion and embeddedness, rather than a more linear cosmology of distinction, division, judgment, and opposition. This is a circular Trinity which still features the male Christ, but now immersed in the spherical energies of fire and light. This is a gender-balanced Trinity, an idea that is only now gaining even partial acceptance within the Christian community. Finally, the circles of fire and light, when viewed as a whole, a unity, appear very much like an eye. This evokes an appreciation of contemplation as beholding, of God as the Divine Beholder — this is at the heart of contemplative spirituality: The Father and the Spirit, through Jesus, gaze upon us. In one of her hymns, Saint Hildegard depicts God as gazing upon Mary with the same kind of contemplative attentiveness that we are called to direct to God. For out of that Divine Gaze, Christ was conceived.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen – Mystic, Composer, Doctor of the Church
Saint Hildegard wrote major works of theology (including Sci Vias, as depicted on this plaque – go to History/Story tab). She also related accounts of her mystical visions at a time when few women were even literate. Bishops, popes, and kings sought her out for her wisdom and counsel. She delved into and wrote treatises about the healing powers and medicinal uses of herbs, plants, animals, and trees. She is the earliest well-known composers of music. Her Ordo Virtutum is perhaps the oldest extant morality play and an early example of liturgical drama. Although she has been popularly held to be a saint for centuries, and more than one Pope has referred to her as such, she was never officially canonized. Pope Benedict XIV announced on May 10, 2012 that St. Hildegard of Bingen is now inscribed in the catalog of saints. On October 7, 2012, he then declared her a Doctor of the Church – along with three other female Doctors of the Church (St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Lisieux) and 30 male Doctors of the Church.