Tuesday 8 September 2015

Hildegard of Bingen: Songs for Saint Disibod

The universal community of the saints was a genuinely felt reality in the lives of Hildegard and her nuns, not only as an example to follow but also as a source of inspiration and a focus of devotion. This was especially true of patron saints of the locality such as Disibod, the seventh-century Irish bishop and hermit who founded a monastery on the summit of the hill that later bore his name. Hildegard spent half her life on the Disibodenberg and must have been highly familiar with its topography. She clearly associated the heights of the mountain with the spiritual nature of the saint to whom she dedicated her verses.

Antiphon for Saint Disibod

O mirum admirandum

O wondrous marvel,
a hidden form shines forth
and rises up in glorious stature
to where the living height
gives forth mystical truths.
Therefore, O Disibod, you will rise up at the end,
as once you were raised,
by the succouring blossom
of all the branches of the world.

Responsory for Saint Disibod

O viriditas digit dei

O green vigour of the hand of God,
in which God has planted a vineyard,
it shines in the heights
like a stately column,
You are glorious in your preparation for God.

And O mountain on high
you will never weaken in God’s testing
but you stand far off like an exile.
The armoured man does not have the power to seize you.
You are glorious in your preparation for God.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
You are glorious in your preparation for God.

Mark Atherton, Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings (Penguin Books, 2001), 35-36.

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