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St. Hildegard's prophecies: discussion thread

Discussion in 'The Saints' started by Vouthon, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    This is a thread for discussing the prophecies of St. Hildegard of Bingen, a greatly revered Doctor of the Church.

    If anyone has any queries regarding her then please post them here.

    I would like to begin by quoting her Letter to the Clergy of Trier, from Volume III of the Oxford Scholarship book on her letters. It's too large to fit into one post, so I have pruned the relevant section:

    "... Hildegard to the Clerics


    In response to the provost's request, Hildegard sends the sermon she delivered at Trier, warning them of God's vengeance because of the corruption among the church officials. The sermon itself was delivered at Trier on the feast of Pentecost, 1160.

    I, a poor little form of a woman with neither health, nor strength, nor courage, nor learning, a woman totally subordinate to my superiors, I heard these words from the mystical light of a true vision...

    The law is neglected by spiritual people, who disdain to teach and do good works. Both the teachers and the prelates are asleep: they have abandoned justice. Therefore, I heard this voice from heaven, saying: O daughter of Sion, your crown will fall from your head, your cloak of increasing riches will shrink, your numbers will be forcibly reduced, and you will be banished from one place to another. Many cities and monasteries will be wrenched away by powerful individuals, and princes will say, “Let us take away from them that iniquity which, through them, is overwhelming the whole world.” And I saw and I heard that all these dangers and griefs will befall regions and monasteries because they have turned aside from obedience and other precepts of the law. And I saw that even amidst sins of this kind there are some who will cling to God and will sigh unto Him, just as in the time of Elijah [cf. I Kings 18.18ff]. And because they have turned aside from evil, as Noah and Lot did, these people will be highly honored and will be regarded as a burnt offering to God [cf. Gen 6.8; 19.1ff].

    This cleansing will have modest beginnings in this womanish time but later will grow stronger, until a manly time will arise, in which there will be wars and battles arising from God's righteous judgment. And more than half of this womanish time has already elapsed.

    Afterward, the justice and judgment of God will arise, and the people will know the discipline and fear of God. There will also be good and just individuals among the spiritual people, who, nevertheless, will remain few in numbers because of their humility, but who, like the hermits, will turn back to the first dawn. And they will do this out of fear for times past that, they will understand, had been pernicious to them.

    And, at that time, people will no longer cling to the foolishness of lasciviousness like children; they4 will arise and prophesy, and they will gather together all things old and new from the Scriptures and all that has been uttered through the Holy Spirit, and they will adorn their understanding of these things as if with a necklace set with precious jewels. Through their influence and that of other wise people, many of the laity will become virtuous and will live saintly lives.

    This zeal for sanctity will not wither quickly, but will last for a long time, for all these things will come to pass because of that earlier degenerate time, when there will have been many martyrs for the faith. For a Warrior will accomplish these things, who sees in them the beginning and end of his works; in this way, he reins in the errant people. For he will establish the prophets first to be the head, the wise to be the eyes, the teachers to be the mouth, just as all things came into being by the Word of God [cf. John 1.3]. And, then, because the rest of the body, that is, the faithful, will do good works, as I have said, God will place their head in his lap, that is to say, he will reveal the meaning of prophecy to them. Then, princes will turn their harps and drums into sounds of sorrow, just as the sons of Israel had done when they were led into captivity [cf. Ps 136.2–3].

    After these things take place, all things spiritual will be strengthened, with no weariness or flaw, and people will look into the eye of the Living Book. Then strength and courage and health will return to the people, because the Warrior will fill the air with health and will bring forth the viridity of virtues, so that the faithful will not grow weak in body and spirit in this wayward time. That era will last until a wayward time when the faithful will rush to death as if to a feast. And this time of error will endure in this fashion until in His zeal God graciously and compassionately dispels it.

    During all these times, the Gardener will cast unwholesome weeds out of His garden and will gather unto Himself all the wholesome plants, just as it is written: “The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongeth: the God of revenge hath acted freely” [Ps 93.1]. Here is the meaning of this verse: In His zeal God crushes the head of all iniquity [cf. Gen 3.15] and brings it down, because all iniquity is of the devil, who is buried in hell. He is “the God of revenge” because He has not looked upon, or regarded, anything that requires either addition or subtraction, for He distributes, establishes, and brings into being each and everything in Himself. And He has acted freely in this way because He alone is just and good, and is greatly to be feared in all His judgments. God takes vengeance on those who are lost because they turned aside from the good, and so He condemns them with the devil. But He willingly bends His head to many who have suffered grief and freely raises them up again to become like the pillars of heaven because of their good works, just as He turned many publicans and sinners into saints.

    Then, the devil, raising himself up in his lost son, seeks to fly on the wings of the winds.e But God arranges all things in Himself as He wishes, (p.23) for no one can overcome Him, and He dispels all the devil's might, just as a craftsman destroys all useless material; and in His zeal He extends His hand, just as He did when He cast Satan into the abyss in the first fall. Therefore, just as a snake enters its hole, the devil hides away in the abyss, and will never again raise himself, because he is now totally deceived. Afterward, divinity, unperceived by all creation, will be active, because no human being knows when the world will be cleansed by fire [cf. II Peter 3.10].

    I saw that Trier at first was adorned among the faithful with the new fire that appeared to the disciples in tongues of fire [cf. Acts 2.1–4], so that in its golden faith all its streets were spread with miracles. But now it is hedged in by unstable, squalid morals and with weariness as if it did not know God, and it has been polluted with many other evils. It has become worn out with weariness and no longer enjoys the joy and beauty of its original, honorable institutions. It has become heedless of its many sins. Therefore, fiery vengeance will come upon it from its enemies, unless those sins are wiped out by penitence, as happened in the case of Jonah [cf. Jonah 2–3]..."​
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
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  2. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    I had not read this before, but it is a beautiful overview of the times. It is a resounding voice for those that fear God that they have a big job ahead and that keeping the faith is what is essential through all the tribulation. It is interesting how history continues to repeat itself. We can learn allot about our God from the past periods of history. ​
    Mary's child, AED and Vouthon like this.
  3. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Thanks, Vouthon, for starting this thread. I expect to have lots of questions about St. Hildegard.
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  4. AED

    AED Powers

    I appreciated this. I am struck by how the more things change the more they remain the same. There is nothing new under the sun. It is written of the impurities of the late Middle Ages when the Church had become corrupt in many places and yet it could be written of our time. Dead on accurate. And then I think of the great saints that were raised up during that dark time of the Protestant revolt. Maybe we have a glorious holy time ahead of us!!
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  5. Mary's child

    Mary's child Archangels

    Thank you Vouthon, truly awe inspiring the similarities of these prophecies in relation to today's times.
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  6. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Vouthon, Thank you for posting this. I am going to read the book you suggested on another thread and then hopefully I will be able to ask some good questions.
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  7. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    I thought of something to ask you, this is probably a lot to ask but when you have time can you give more details about Saint Hildegard's Five Ages? TY
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  8. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    Yes, indeed. I will provide further information concerning the Five Ages later this week. I had planned to do so earlier in the month but was distracted by my work schedule.
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  9. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Vouthon, Thank you again.
  10. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels


    Something just came back to me today. I recall being asked by you if St. Hildegard referred at all to "three days of darkness".

    She does describe an event which is rather similar to this in her her Liber Vision 10: 24 but doesn't specify any duration:

    "...A time will come when unbelievers and dreadful people will break everywhere into the property and possessions of the Church and strive to destroy them...At this time Christians especially will be oppressed in many ways as a punishment for their sins...

    Then a mighty storm will descend from the North, bringing a heavy fog and a very thick cloud of dust. This storm will blind the eyes of the foes with fog and dust, and it will rage against them in accord with the divine judgement so that their eyes will be full of dust and their throats full of fog. Then the foes will reduce their savagery and they will be full of amazement.

    Then the holy Godhead will accomplish signs and wonders within the Christian people, as it did at the time of Moses with the pillar of cloud...As a result, a great number of heathens at this time will join the Christians in true faith..."
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  11. djmoforegon

    djmoforegon Archangels

    Thank you, Vouthon. This is a wonderful time to examine the life and writings of someone who leaves no doubt of authenticity.
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  12. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    sounds a bit like Irlmaier
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  13. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers


    Thank you. I forgot that I had asked about that.

    So what you stated above appears to occur during the Pale Horse period which Saint Hildegard described as the following:

    3. Pale Horse
    Description of Time Period:
    Time of sorrows
    --Church polluted
    --persecution of Christians by heathens
    --Christians saved by miracle and conversion of heathens ***
    --Papacy and Empire dispersed
    --Church returns to pristine discipline --renewal of spiritual strength again revealed through prophecy, abundance and peace but also heresies cropping up everywhere in anticipation of the coming of Antichrist


    That is a good observation!

    In an interview Alois Irlmaier states,"Outside, the death of dust passes, a great many people die. After 72 hours everything is over again."
    In German, "Draußen geht der Staubtod um, es sterben sehr viele Menschen. Nach 72 Stunden ist alles wieder vorbei."

    In another interview he states, "Black clouds rise and darken everything. Fog."
    In German, "Schwarze Wolken steigen auf und verdunkeln alles. Nebel."

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  14. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    You are correct, we should give priority to Saint Hildegard over Alois Irlmaier, for instance, but it is interesting that there are similarities though.
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  15. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    pieces of the puzzle, Carol55;)
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  16. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    Think of it as a confirmation in more current times of St Hildegard's prophecies
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  17. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    That's uncannily similar Carol. Uncanny.
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  18. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    Yes, St. Hildegard situated this event at the end of her Age of the Pale Horse, the basic outline of which I sketched as above from her works based upon a thesis by a scholar named Kathy Fulton. The Pale Horse precedes the Black Pig, which is the last epoch prior to the final age of the Grey Wolf, which is the reign of Antichrist. After that, we have nought but the Second Coming and the consummation of all things. There is no age of human history left past the Grey Wolf, because this animal symbol signifies the Antichrist in St. Hildegard's vision.

    Here is part 2 of an article written by Nathaniel Campbell (part 1 can be found here), the scholar who is going to publish a new translation of St. Hildegard's Book of Divine Works next year with the Catholic University of America, that might interest you in this regard:


    Nathaniel M. Campbell

    I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research

    The Pope and the Prophetess: Benedict XVI, Hildegard of Bingen, and the Reform of the Church (Part 2)

    Liber Divinorum Operum III.5,
    from the Lucca MS.
    Part 1 of this essay can be found here.

    There are two aspects of Joseph Ratzinger’s reformist vision of the Church that find particularly striking parallels in Hildegard of Bingen’s thought: the political relationship between Church and Empire (or secular world), and the renewal of the Church as a purified but dramatically reduced institution. Although Hildegard’s own reformist thought must be situated within the legacy of the Gregorian reform of the eleventh century, what is most striking are the ways in which she departs—sometimes radically—from a Hildebrandian vision of the Church; and in those departures, Ratzinger follows her....

    These themes would find their most extensive and dramatic treatment in Hildegard’s magnum opus, her last and grandest visionary work, the Liber Divinorum Operum (Book of Divine Works), completed in 1174. As Pope Benedict himself has said, in it, “[Hildegard] once again describes creation in its relationship with God and the centrality of the human being, expressing a strong Christo-centrism with a biblical-Patristic flavour.” The ten visions that make up its structure are the most complex of Hildegard’s corpus: grand female images personifying a variety of divine attributes dominate, each revealing different aspects of the Divine Work, i.e. salvation history.[7] In the last vision of the work (III.5), the recapitulations of that salvation history, a wheel held in the hands of Divine Love (Caritas)—as illustrated in the Lucca manuscript (early thirteenth century) in the image at the opening of this essay—reach in their cosmic breadth from the very beginnings of creation to its very ending.

    Freed from the constraints of the preacher’s sermon, this last vision explodes with prophetic power into Hildegard’s final and most detailed treatment of the “times to come”
    (futurorum temporum, as her redactor, Gebeno von Eberbach, would call them half-a-century later). The cycles between pessimistic corruption and optimistic reform grow sharper and more radical—the crises deeper, the renewals more holy. The key to understanding these cycles lies in Hildegard’s symbolist mode of thinking: the history of the Church after Christ recapitulates not just thematically but sacramentally, as it were, the history of the Church, Israel, the people of God, as told in Scripture. Thus, “the dialectical triad of building up, falling away, and restoration” is a key historical principal, not only foreshadowed but foreordained, as it were, in the process of Creation, Fall, and Redemption at the heart of salvation history.[8]

    This schema is to be found in the history of the Church: Creation corresponds to the foundation of the apostolic Church, while the Fall of original sin can be seen in the “womanly time” of corruption Hildegard sees all around her. In the Augustinian conception of salvation history, this triadic schema in the time of the Church takes place in each individual soul as it journeys, a pilgrim in this world, towards the restoration of its true home in the Heavenly City. Hildegard’s innovation is to see this triad reflected in the macrocosmic history of the world, as well. Although the final, complete restoration—the conclusion of the triadic cycles—will only come at the end of the world, in the Parousia and New Jerusalem, there is nevertheless the possibility for this process of establishment, crisis, and resolution to be repeated and renewed in the course of history. These cycles are the most prominent feature of Hildegard’s vision of the end times, intricately developed and refined in the Liber Divinorum Operum from the vague and simple periodization of “five ages” in Scivias III.11.

    While a complete analysis of Hildegard’s program cannot be offered here,[9] we can examine a few examples of her vision of the Chuch to come to see the similarities (and notable differences) from that sketched by Joseph Ratzinger four decades ago. In contrast with the almost constant evil that characterizes the five ages in Scivias III.11 (with the exception of the last), Hildegard’s later program of history to come is permeated by both the crises of human evil and the restoration of justice. An illuminating example can be found in one of the cyclic periods of crisis Hildegard elaborates out of the age of the pale horse (the third age in SciviasIII.11), described in Liber Divinorum Operum (LDO) III.5.21-26.[10] This period, as with others before it, begins with a time of peace and prosperity in Christendom...

    [At the end of it again] , “justice shall stand for a time in her uprightness, so that the humans of those days shall convert themselves with integrity to the ancient customs and hold and observe the disciplines of ancient [Christians].” This return to the simple life of the golden age of the early Church is also reflected in the renewal of creation: “The air also at that time shall again grow sweet and the fruit of the earth useful, and humanity shall be healthy and strong” (LDO III.10.26). Finally, that time will be marked by new signs of holiness:
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    I thought we might like to reflect on some of the artwork, or manuscript illumination, published with her works.

    They depict her visions in pictorial form, using the details she wrote down describing them. They were painted in the 13th century in Lucca.

    Here is the final Vision from her Liber during which all the details of the future Five Ages of Church history were revealed to her:


    Liber Divinorum Operum III.5:
    Divine Love upon the Wheel.


    The summaries below are from the "capitula" (composed sometime in the decade after the work’s completion, likely by one of Hildegard’s close secretaries or aides to frame each chapter of her Visions and summarize its contents):

    1. The final vision, in which a wheel of great size is shown and what it is is carefully described; and again the image of Divine Love is glimpsed under a different form.
    2. For it would not be possible to truly call God “one” if there were another exactly like him by nature; and the aforeshown quality of the wheel shows that God himself has neither beginning nor end and is equipped for all good things; how the whole description of that wheel refers to God’s eternity and power as well as to the salvation of souls.
    3. Why the virtue of Love is glimpsed, adorned with different trim than in the vision above.
    4. On the transparent tablet in the form of crystal that appears before the image of Love, and what it signifies that, as that image gazes upon that tablet, the line on which she sits moves; a brief repetition of the creation of heaven, earth, the angels, and humankind.
    5. Justice, moral integrity, and the dignity of the virtues grew stronger through the prophets from the days of the flood until the Lord’s coming, and then they gleamed for a long time in the Church through the apostles and teachers—but though now they are corrupted, after these days that languish in injustice, they will again be reformed among people before the end and after many tribulations.
    6. For when the heavenly Judge once receives Justice’s complaint, he will bring his vengeance upon the transgressors of equity, and in particular upon the wicked leaders of the Church through many disastrous judgments, until, purged by penitence in the trial they have earned, they recover their senses; and thus each rank will be restored to uprightness and returned to the honor of its dignity.
    7. When the ordinance of justice and peace has been settled by God’s vengeance and the correction of transgressors, tranquility will gleam before the Lord’s second coming just as it had before his first, and some part even of the Jews will be converted and will rejoice and confess that he has come whom now they deny.
    8. The words of the prophet Isaiah attesting to the Lord’s first coming (Is 4:2),[17] which will be most especially fulfilled before his second coming with the illumination of the Jews, who, blinded by the stumbling block of Christ, with his suffering withered away from the viridity of the faith and good works.
    9. Because of the restoration of Justice, the various ranks of the Church will enjoy for a time in the next-to-last days both a great plenty of temporal things and a great abundance of spiritual goods, while that portion of the Jews and heretics who persist in evil will exult with pernicious presumption at the Antichrist’s impending arrival.
    10. But because people attribute this quiet peacetime and fruitful abundance to themselves and not to God and meet once more with lethargy when it comes to religion, so many tribulations will again follow as have never before seethed within the world...
    11. For in that time, when the Christian people has been driven to repentance and exhausted by many afflictions for their sins, divine grace will come to their aid through many miracles, just as it once did for God’s people of old; and after their enemies are subdued, it will join a great multitude of the pagans to their faith.

    I've taken the "capitula" above up to the end of the Age of the Pale Horse and through both the Ages of the Fiery Dog and the Yellow Lion.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  20. Vouthon

    Vouthon Angels

    Nathaniel Campbell, whose translation of the Book of Divine Works will be published in 2018 by the Catholic University of America (as I said earlier), has published in full a few of St. Hildebrand's visions from this work, such as the first vision. He has published these in advance of his complete translation which comes out next year.

    It must be borne in mind that St. Hildegard was not simply a visionary of the future but a great theologian and mystic of the Church as well.

    His translation and commentary can be read here:


    Here's a snippet with Campbell's introduction first, he explains that it is Divine Love speaking:

    "...Hildegard's final and greatest visionary work was the Liber Divinorum Operum (“The Book of Divine Works”), written between 1163 and 1172,with final revisions completed by 1174. In an autobiographical passage included in the Life of St. Hildegard (II.16), the Visionary Doctor describes the genesis of the work in her meditations on the Prologue to the Gospel of John: “For it was the Word, which before all created things had no beginning, and after them shall have no end, which summoned all created things into being. (…) Therefore man is the workof God along with every creature. But man is also said to be the worker of the Divinity and a shadow of his mysteries, and should in all things reveal the Holy Trinity, for God made him in his image and likeness (Gn 1:26).

    The figure of Caritas or Divine Love is the central character in the opening vision below, the most prominent of the work’s allegorical theophanies. Drawing inspiration from the declaration of the First Letter of John (4:8) that “God is love,”Hildegard connects several biblical images—the Ancient of Days, the woman clothed with the sun (Apocalypse 12:1), the Lamb of God, the wings of the seraph—to describe, in a whirl of symbols and ideas, the cosmic drama of creation and salvation. At center-stage of this drama is this figure of Caritas —Divine Love, the “supreme and fiery force” that both sparked and sustains creation, and at the same time reflects and sets alight the body, soul,and mind of each human being. The scope of Hildegard’s visionary theology is both cosmic and close—reflections of God’s loving revelation of himself to humanity are both grand and utterly intimate, as the Work of God reaches from the very heart of infinity down into every smallest detail of the created world

    And I saw as it were in the middle of the southern sky an image, beautiful and wonderful in the mystery of God, like a human in form. Her face was of such beauty and radiance that I could easier look at the sun than at her; and a great circlet of golden color surrounded her head...

    And this image spoke: “I am the supreme and fiery force, who sets all living sparks alight and breathes forth no mortal things, but judges them as they are. Flying around the circling circle with my upper wings—with wisdom—I have ordered all things rightly.

    But I am also the fiery life of the essence of divinity—I flame above the beauty of the fields and I shine in the waters and I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars. With the airy wind I rouse to life all things with some invisible life, which sustains all things. For the air lives in viridity and in the flowers, the waters flow as if they are alive, and the sun lives in its own light. When the moon has waned, it is rekindled by the light of the sun so that it might as it were live anew, and the stars shine bright by living as it were in their own light.

    I have also established the pillars that contain the whole circle of the earth—the winds...

    “Therefore I, the fiery force, lie hidden in these things, and they burn because of me, just as breath continually moves a human being and a flickering flame exists within the fire.

    All of these things live in their essences and were not found in death, because I am life. I am also rationality,possessing the wind of the resounding Word, through which every created thing was made; and in all these things I blow, so that none of them might be mortal in its nature, because I am life...

    For I am life, pure and whole, which was not hewn from stones, neither blossomed from branches nor took root from man’s sexual power; but every living thing has taken root in me. For reason is the root, and the resounding Word flourishes within it.

    “Therefore, because God is rational, how could it possibly be that he would not actively work, since his every work flourishes through humankind, whom he made in his image and likeness and in whom he marked out all created things according to their measure? For it was always determined from eternity that God would will his work—humankind—to come into being; and when he perfected this work, he gave all creation to humankind so that humans might do their work with it,in the same way that God himself had made his work, that is, humankind..."

    This First Vision is not about the future but about mysticism and theology. The Final Vision depicted in the illustration above from the Lucca manuscript is almost entirely eschatological in character, by contrast.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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