Nostradamus and the False Trumpet

nostradamus

In honor of Nostradamus’ birthday (Dec. 14), a number of news websites quoted the following quatrain:

Man with a false trumpet claiming he’s right,

Will rise from the tower’s of the New World

On dames he will spew tangerine venom

But victorious he will be, despite allegations being hurled.

This, they suggest, was a reference to the victory of Donald Trump. The prophecy is typical of Nostradamus’s style; there’s just enough ambiguity to make a connection appear compelling, but not quite. He actually wrote horoscopes for a living and was the court astrologist for Catherine de Medici. Astrology was closely aligned with astronomy and generally respected at the time. Paid astrologers were tolerated by the Church but not considered as having the prophetic gift. Continue reading “Nostradamus and the False Trumpet”

“O vis aeternitatis”: The Power of St. Hildegard’s Music

One of the best online resources for the study of St. Hildegard’s music is on the blog run by the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies, which includes a large collection of her works along with Latin texts and translations that can be found here. Medievalist Nathaniel Campbell, a contributor to the blog,makes the astonishing claim:

“More works can be definitely attributed to Hildegard than any other composer from the Middle Ages. The melodic variety of Hildegard’s chant, ranging from the highly florid works of her early years to the more restrained chant, reflect her intimate familiarity with chant genres and the compositional practices of late medieval chant. Where Hildegard’s musical brilliance shines brightest is the sublimity of the liturgical poetry that accompanies it.”

“…For Hildegard, music rises almost to the level of a sacrament, channeling the perfection of divine grace from the heavenly choirs down to us.”

O vis aeternitatis, “O power within eternity”, is one of her responsories:

R. O power within Eternity:
All things you held in order in your heart,
and through your Word were all created
according to your will.
And then your very Word
was clothed within
that form of flesh
from Adam born. Continue reading ““O vis aeternitatis”: The Power of St. Hildegard’s Music”

Is Our Lady of Akita Controvertible?

This apparition is an excellent case study of how one should view private revelation in the akita way God has instructed us to:

“Do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

The Japanese bishops conference had not given it’s approval to the apparition when asked by the local bishop to do so, and had discouraged pilgrimages to the convent. However, the original enthusiastic approval by the late Bishop Ito has not been negated by the subsequent bishop. The generally accepted protocol in the Church is for the decision to approve an apparition, barring intervention from Rome, initially rests with the diocesan bishop.

Donal Anthony Foley, probably the wisest voice in matters of apparition discernment, has raised a number of questions about Akita, though none of which definitively undermines its authenticity. That a Vatican spokesman stated that no decision has been made regarding the apparition does not negate the bishop’s approval. Confusion over a comment by Cardinal Ratzinger doesn’t either. So we have an approved apparition, but with some reservations being made regarding its authenticity. Continue reading “Is Our Lady of Akita Controvertible?”

The Reappearance of St. Hildegard After 800 years and Her Gift to Today’s Church

Hildegard picSt. Hildegard (1098-1179) is the perfect subject for the study of Catholic mystical literature; there are simply no red flags associated with her. We know precisely who she is, a twelfth-century nun born into a noble family and who, because of her visionary gift, was given as a child to be raised by the Church and eventually became an abbess. She is not only a saint but a Doctor of the Church. Her writing was prolific, covering her extraordinary visions of salvation history, medicine, and even music composition. We also have hundreds of her letters; she corresponded with kings, queens, popes, abbots, nuns, etc.

Hildegard was left out of the history books and it is not clear why. She fell into obscurity shortly after her death. She was rediscovered in the late twentieth century by Latin scholars looking for new material for their students; her Latin works were first translated into English in the late 1980s. She was elevated to Doctor of the Church in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. It is as though she came back after 800 years of obscurity to continue her service to the Church in a world she had described for us in her vision of five beasts, which she explained were symbols of the last days (vision 11 from her book, Scivias, Latin, “Know the Ways“)

In her letters one thing stands out as an urgent priority, the call to holiness and purity. They clearly show that for Hildegard a spiritual battle was raging in the twelfth-century, particularly with regard to corruption and immorality among the clergy. She writes with impressive authority:

“The Spirit of God says earnestly: ‘Oh shepherds, wail and mourn over the present time, because you do not know what you are doing when you sweep aside the duties established by God in favor of opportunities for money and the foolishness of wicked men who do not fear God.’  And so your malicious curses and threatening words are not to be obeyed. You have raised up your rods of punishment arrogantly, not to serve God but to gratify your own perverted will.” [Letter to Heinrich, Archbishop of Mainz. Baird, Joseph L. The Personal Correspondence of Hildegard of Bingen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, p.42.]

The correspondence on the whole gives evidence of her personal saintliness and tireless commitment to the reform of the Church. Continue reading “The Reappearance of St. Hildegard After 800 years and Her Gift to Today’s Church”

The Beasts and the Symbolism of the Ropes

If you look at the image I used for the header at the top of the page you will notice that it comes from the cover to my book. The image was divided into three parts that change randomly as you go to different pages on the blog. If you click around you will see all five beasts. These are illuminations that adorned the Rupertsberg manuscript of Hildegard’s Scivias, the book which contains the vision of the beasts, and are assumed to have been either painted by Hildegard herself or artistically directed by her..

Each beast represents a brief historical period (see here for the background). You will notice that there is something coming out of each of the beast’s mouth. Hildegard describes these as ropes that are attached to the top of a mountain. The mountain, she tells us is meant to symbolize a specific social evil that is characteristic of the individual historical era.

Continue reading “The Beasts and the Symbolism of the Ropes”