If you have someone such as this, open your heart to love and appreciate this person’s presence in your life. Be grateful in this moment.
Listen with an open mind to the words that are shared by your friend. Our friends often are the messengers from the spiritual realm, in earthly form. Bringing us the news we need as guidance on our path in life.
While living at the St. Disibod Abbey, St. Hildegard became acquainted with the monk Volmar who acted as prior and father confessor to the nuns there. At this time, she had kept painfully silent about the unique visions she was experiencing. When she finally was able to gather her courage and share with others, it was Volmar who was the first person to hear about her visions and validate them as divine experiences. He soon recognized her rare spiritual gifts and became a good friend and mentor for many years in her life.
St. Hildegard often doubted herself and her abilities to share her experiences with the world. She had no formal education, as it was not available to women in these times. And, as a result, she considered herself unlearned and unworthy. She also thought of herself inferior as a woman – something that was common in the male-dominated society of the times.So, at 42, when she felt God commanded her to write down and publish what she had seen and heard in her soul, she did not respond joyously nor immediately move into action. She felt insecure and inadequate. She felt fearful and anxious. Women did not write in medieval society. Only men did. So, she resisted this call.
“Behold, in the forty-third year of my passing journey, when I clung to a heavenly vision with fear and trembling, I saw a very great light from which a heavenly voice spoke and said to me: ‘O weak person, you who are both ashes of ashes and decaying of decaying, speak and write what you see and hear. But you are shy about speaking and simple in explaining and unskilled about writing those things. So speak and write those things not according to human speech or human inventiveness but according to the extent that you see and hear those things in the heavens above in the marvelousness of God.
Bring to light those things by way of explanation. Be like a listener who understands the words of his or her own teacher but explains them in one’s own way of speaking, willingly, plainly and instructively.
So you too, o woman, speak those things which you see and hear. Write those things not according to yourself or by the standards of another person, but according to the will of the one knowing, the one who sees and arranges all things in the secrets of His own mysteries.” (Scivias, page 1)
Soon after hearing this voice, St. Hildegard became sick and interpreted her illness as a consequence of her resistance and disobedience of God.
“…I refused to write for so long that I felt pressed down under the whip of God into a bed of sickness.” (Scivias, page 3)
She turned to her teacher and friend, Volmar. She shared her experience and her self-doubt, and he strongly encouraged her to write.
Over the next 10 years, she shared her experiences in the text that would become her visionary work, Scivias (Know the Ways of God) Volmar became her secretary, writing down the words she dictated.
We see the meaningful role Volmar played in her life as I have portrayed him in my version of her Illumination called: A Self Portrait.
Recognition and validation of her work by the Church was vital to St. Hildegard’s ability to share her work with the world. Her friend and mentor, Volmar actively supported her to have her visions recognized by the Church as a divine message of God. This led to Pope Eugenius III approving of her work and moving her forward into the public light as a spiritual leader – something that was unheard of during these times, and even prohibited for women.
Volmar, St. Hildegard’s friend, confidant, and secretary, was in her life for over 40 years. When he died, she grieved deeply. In her Book of Divine Works, she shared,
“I was grief-stricken when he died. He was a happy man, and he helped me in so many ways. He served God by listening to every word of this vision, and he corrected them all and made them more orderly. He always kept me going.
He cautioned me never to stop writing because of my physical weaknesses and illnesses, but to persevere in setting down this vision. He served God until the day he died, always supporting me. I mourned him, saying: “Your will has now been done with this man, your servant, whom You gave me to help with these visions. Show me how to carry on!”
It’s clear that St. Hildegard greatly valued and appreciated her dear friend and mentor, Volmar, who supported and encouraged her. She was not alone in navigating the unprecedented path for a woman to share her visions with the world. An inspiration to us in our contemporary times.
We see how the steps on our journey are a little easier to follow when we have someone in our community that supports and encourages us. We don’t have to do it alone.
Looking for a community of supportive people who are also on a path of spiritual development just like you….. so you can unfold your gifts in the world? Where you can be who you are and express yourself on your unique journey in life? Join my series of classes on Healing with St. Hildegard that are starting in April. Register here for a discounted price.