Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Liber Divinorum Operum: Prima Pars - Prima Visio, III (15)

Hence Her face is of such great beauty and brightness, that you are able more easily to look into the sun than it [her face], because the abundance of Charity and the gleam of Her gifts is in such great eminence, that all understanding of human knowledge, which can grasp intellectually diverse realities in the soul, is thus transcended so that by no means it may grasp Her in the senses. Yet this is made clear in meaning so that by it the former be recognized in faith, which by the seeing eyes is not seen visibly.

Unde eius facies tantae pulchritudinis et claritatis est, ut facilius solem quam ipsam inspicere possis, quoniam largitas charitatis in tanta eminentia et coruscatione donorum suorum est, ut omnem intellectum humanae scientiae, qua in anima diversas res intelligere potest, ita transcendat ut eam nullo modo in sensu suo capere valeat. Sed hic in significatione ostenditur ut per ipsam ille in fide cognoscatur, qui visibilibus oculis visibiliter non videtur.


The extent to which we can know and understand the world around us - the very power we have to know - is as though weakened when it faces the reality of Charity. We are able to grasp, to capture, to contain as it were, the intelligibility of the realities around us. But if you would attempt to know, to understand, to comprehend the sun by staring at it, it would cause you pain and you would be unable to grasp it. If even the sun is impossible to grasp by the senses, the brightness of Charity and the "gleam of her gifts," exceeds us even more. And yet, at the same time, with faith even our eyes become "seeing eyes." The vision's meaning revealed, we can perceive the blinding light of Charity in Creation through faith.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Liber Divinorum Operum: Prima Pars - Prima Visio, III (14)

III. And again I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: God, who created all things, made man according to His image and likeness, and in him [man] He signified just as much the greater as the lesser creatures, and He considered them in such great delight, that into the place from which the falling angel was expelled, He destined, and to glory and to honor, which he [man] had lost in accordance with beatitude, He set aright; this vision which you see demonstrates these. For what you see as though in the midst of the southern wind, a beautiful and wonderful image in the mystery of God, as though the form of a man, this is what in accordance with the unfailing strength of the Godhead, beautiful in election, and wonderful in the gifts of the heavenly Father's secrets Charity is, revealing man, since when the Son of God put on flesh, in accordance with the duty of Charity He redeemed broken man.

III. Et iterum audivi vocem de coelo mihi dicentem: Deus, qui omnia creavit, hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem suam fecit, et in ipso tam superiores quam inferiores creaturas signavit, eumque in tanta dilectione habuit, ut in locum de quo ruens angelus eiectus erat, destinaret, et ad gloriam et honorem, quem ille in beatitudine perdiderat, ordinaret; hoc visio haec quam vides demonstrat. Nam quod vides velut in medio australis aeris pulchram mirificamque in mysterio Dei imaginem quasi hominis formam, hoc est quod in fortitudine indeficientis divinitatis, pulchra in electione, et mirifica in donis secretorum superni Patris charitas est, hominem ostendens, quia cum Filius Dei carnem induit, in charitatis officio hominem perditum redemit.

Artwork by Preston Yancey:
"This work was for my thesis director, entitled 'Genesis 1:1/John 1:1.' As God hovered over the water in the Creation, so the God Christ enters into our midst in the Incarnation." Source

The voice from St. Hildegard's vision brings us back again to meditate upon the meaning of Creation. Creation is a work of Love, and this Love is expressed to the fullness in all creatures, "...the little no less than the great." (Ps. 115) Love is the Creator, and so He loves what He created - so much so that He destines even fallen man to glory and honor in a place that was reserved for Lucifer - above all angels - before his fall. Within this Spirit of Love, in the very heart of the mystery of God, there is an image - not unlike the image according to which He made man. Man has always been in the heart of God - even before he was created. 

Charity is the unfailing strength of the Trinity. Charity is elegant and moving in Her choices. Charity wonderfully distributes the Father's secrets. Charity is that form, like a man, in the mystery of God. Nothing is broken that Charity cannot repair. Nothing is dull or mundane about Her actions. Nothing is hidden - not even the depths of the Father's secret mystery - from those who receive Her revelation. Nothing can separate man from the Love of God, because that Love is in the flesh in the Son. "By this we know Love: He laid down His life for us."  

The Incarnation reveals the mysterious form of a man hidden in God before time - a form that first appeared in Creation in Adam and Eve. "Let us make man in our image and likeness. And so he made him: male and female he created them." God didn't just create something when He created man, He quite literally put Himself into His creation. God never intended to be separated from His Creation: after the fall, Love, the image of a man in God, operates according to what it is and becomes flesh. In one stroke, Charity is both made manifest and destroys the separation between Herself and man, which his sin established.  

Charity says, "I have not become like you to save you as though I would become any arbitrary thing: you were the one who became like me when you were created. Your first parents hid my face from you and you knew me not. I then came to you in the flesh to show you that Love has a human face." The Love of God is not revealed through the humanity of the Word, as though that humanity could have been something else entirely; it is the Word's very humanity that reveals the Love of God - because humanity itself says something deep about God's Love.