Few medieval women deserve to be called mulier fortis as much as does Hildegard of Bingen. She was an abbess and a preacher of reform, a visionary and a writer of works in a variety of genres, including medicine and liturgical poetry. Many of us who study Hildegard were drawn to her first by her music, only to discover a unique theological vision balancing orthodox teachings with luminous images and a sensitivity to the greenness (viriditas) of nature. Hildegard’s accounts of her visions have led to speculation about medical explanations like migraine, but they convey her meaning in striking ways. Moreover, Hildegard’s descriptions of female archetypes, the Church, Wisdom and the virtues, have won Hildegard attention in the modern day she had not received in the past.2
Hildegard was born in 1098 into a noble family within the boundaries of the Empire, and she was offered as an oblate at the monastery of Disibodenberg at the age of eight. She was raised into a nun’s role by the anchoress Jutta;3 and, when Jutta died in 1136, Hildegard succeeded her as head of a growing community of nuns. In the year 1141, after an illness, Hildegard obtained permission to write down the visions she had been receiving for many years. These formed the basis for her first major work, the Scivias Domini. This work was brought to the attention of the archbishop of Mainz by the abbot of Disibodenberg, and he obtained approval from Pope Eugenius III (1147-1148).4
Such fame attracted even more nuns, and the abbess abruptly announced a divine command to move to the Rupertsberg near Bingen on the Rhine. This move, as the work translated below reveals, was resisted by the monks of Disibodenberg and by some nuns. Nonetheless, this move occurred (ca. 1150), and Hildegard continued to govern her daughters even while composing some of her many works, including liturgical and medical texts, and offering advice to laity and clergy alike. Much of this effort took place while Hildegard strove, eventually successfully, to disentangle the dowries of her nuns from the affairs of Disibodenberg. In 1158, she obtained a charter from the archbishop of Mainz confirming an agreement to divide these assets. The Explanation of the Athanasian Creed postdates this settlement.
The subsequent period was the most fertile of Hildegard’s life. She composed her other major theological works, The Book of Life’s Merits and The Book of Divine Works; and she undertook preaching journeys. Although women were not supposed to preach, a practice ascribed to the Waldensians by their orthodox foes, Hildegard’s preaching was received with remarkably little resistence. Perhaps her prophetic charism was regarded as a sufficient guarantor of her public preaching.5 Hildegard preached against the errors of the Cathars, who saw no positive value in created nature. At the same time, she reproved the clergy for their own failings. Their lapses made it easier for heresy to flourish, and their reform would advance the cause of the faith. In the 1170s, however, as ill-health and political adversity took their toll, Hildegard was limited to composing brief works and carrying on correspondence. Her last years were shadowed by an interdict imposed on the community for burying an excommunicated although repentant knight; but this censure was revoked in March of 1179, allowing the abbess to die in peace on September 17 of that year.
Hildegard’s reputation as a theologian was not long-lived in her age, but she was remembered as a prophet. Certain brief prophecies were more widely circulated than were the three great theological works. The Sybil of the Rhine was so much the figure of a prophetic woman that even the fifteenth-century theologian and prelate Pierre d’Ailly would couple her name with that of Joachim of Flora when mentioning great seers.6
The Explanation of the Athanasian Creed is one of the least-known of Hildegard’s works. Two known manuscript copies survive: in the Riesenkodex, at fol. 395vb–399va, and in Österreichische Nationalbibliothek MS 963.7 The text in the latter manuscript, moreover, is divided into separated leaves (fol. 122va– 123rb, 149va–151ra). Our knowledge of the text otherwise depends on printed sources. The oldest printed copy of the text identifiable is in Blanckwalt’s 1566 edition of Hildegard’s letters, done from a Rupertsberg manuscript, where it is followed by the life of Saint Rupert. This text, conflated at the end with the beginning of the life of Saint Rupert, was republished in the Bibliotheca Patrum (Lyons, 1677), by Migne in his Patrologia Latina (vol. 197, 1855) and then by Pitra in Analecta Sanctae Hildegardis (1882). 8 It is the more difficult to interpret because it is derived in part from a text, possibly dating to the period around 1170, addressed to her sisters, that is found among her letters. This text has been published among the letters of Hildegard in both German and English selections of the abbess’ works.9
The Explanation has been described as one of Hildegard’s later works,10 but an exact date is difficult to assign. The hortatory introduction mentions a visit to Disibodenberg, during which the difficulties over the dowries of Hildegard’s nuns were resolved. This reference has been taken as pertaining to the abbacy of Kuno.11 This seems unlikely, since a letter by the abbess from around the year 1155, now published as Letter 75, speaks of her visiting Disibodenberg and being received with hostility.12 A later date, sometime in the abbacy of Helengerus, perhaps around 1170, seems more likely.
Although included among Hildegard’s letters, the text takes less the form of a letter or an exegesis of a text than of a sermon to the nuns of Rupertsberg, beginning with personal reflections and moving into a doctrinal exposition of the so-called Athanasian Creed.13 This is one of the three great credal statements known in the twelfth-century West. The so-called Apostles’ Creed probably grew out of a Western baptismal liturgy,14 but it came to be attributed to the Apostles themselves. Manuscript copies even attribute each statement to an apostle by name. The so-called Nicene Creed, used in the Mass, grew out of the anti-Arian pronouncements of the Council of Nicaea as revised in the Greek East. It was translated into Latin, and the statement that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the father and the Son (“filioque”) was added in Spain (589 A.D.) to mark the triumph of Trinitarian orthodoxy over Arianism. The Western acceptance of this addition has remained a source of controversy between East and West down to modern times. The Athanasian Creed is falsely attributed to Athanasius, the anti-Arian patriarch of Alexandria, but it seems to have originated in North Africa or Gaul before the ninth century, reflecting the Trinitarian views of Augustine of Hippo. Since the Athanasian Creed rarely appears in the liturgy, usually being assigned to the office of Prime on a major feast, it might be suggested that this is an address for such a feast, perhaps the patronal feast of Saint Rupert. This might help explain the conflation of the exposition with The Life of Rupert in the Vienna manuscript and the printed texts.15
The exhortation to the nuns may be taken as addressing complaints within the community. It emphasises the divine impetus to move the community to Rupertsberg and to attempt reconciliation with the monks of Disibodenberg. The exhortation offers the nuns the prospect of being bereft of their spiritual mother, together with an admonition that they preserve charity among themselves; then Hildegard calls down divine punishment on any who might threaten to disrupt her community.
The transition from exhortation to exposition is made by introducing another virtue, wisdom, through whom charity speaks. Wisdom, one of the feminine figures well-known to readers of the abbess’ works,16 is described, in biblical terms, as a builder even of humans, who are loveable on account of wisdom and charity, which are described as one. These virtues incline the human race to humility, which submits to God; but the fall has divided many from God, just as the rebellion of the fallen angels divided the hosts of heaven. What follows in Hildegard’s text summarises much of what the abbess had written in Scivias, recounting the old covenant, the coming of the Christ, “the sun of justice”, the ordering of the Church, which is able to thunder against unrepentant sinners, especially “infidels and cruel tyrants.”17 Two leading examples of defenders of the Church are mentioned, John the Evangelist and Athanasius of Alexandria, the great enemy of the Arian heresy.
With this mention of Athanasius, the discourse moves to an explanation of the so-called Athanasian Creed. As John wrote a Gospel concerning divinity, Athanasius defended the unity of divinity, which those desiring salvation must affirm. Here Hildegard clearly affirms the Trinitarian doctrine of the Latin Church, saying:
The faith is true, that one God in Trinity of persons, the same Trinity in one God, must be honoured gloriously without any confusion [of the persons] of division of the unity, because the one God is inseparably in the one substance of divinity.
She then embarks upon a paraphrase of the Athanasian affirmation of unity and denial of confusion of the three persons. Without God nothing and no one would exist, since (here she refers once more to God), all things were made through the “Word.”
Following this affirmation, the abbess resorts to metaphor, not an unusual device of twelfth-century theologians. One need only think of Abelard’s use of wax as a metaphor in his discussion of the Trinity18 to discern this. Recall, also, the use of coloured diagrams by Joachim of Flora, near the end of the century, to relate this central Christian mystery to the unfolding of history.19 Hildegard’s metaphor of choice in this instance is that of fire.
Hildegard’s resort to this metaphor comes as no surprise to readers of Scivias, where the human figure of sapphire hue appears at the beginning of the second vision in the second book of that work.20 The same figure reappears in the third vision of the second book to skin away the blackness of sin from the baptised and clothe them in pure white.21 The exposition of the second vision emphasises the need to invoke the Trinity, one God in three persons, and identifies charity with the incarnate Son. It then offers two metaphors for the Trinity, stone and fire. In Scivias, the persons of the Trinity are identified as light, “red power” and “fiery heat,” making up a flame. The first is the Father, showing brightness to the faithful; the second, the Son; the third, the ardent Spirit.22
The Explanation takes this metaphor and expands it, working into the exposition further paraphrases of the Athanasian Creed. There the Father is the fire; the Son, the mobile flame, which is visible in its “golden colour”; the Spirit is the coruscation which is seen as the wind that moves the flame. These three share the characteristic of burning. Without these characteristics, fire would cease to be fire. One notes amid the several affirmations of the unity of the divinity and unconfused distinction of the persons a distinctly Western theology of the Holy Spirit. According to Hildegard, “The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son in the truth of prophecy, made the prophets prophecy.” This is a clear affirmation of the Latin doctrine of the double procession of the Holy Spirit, which was roundly rejected by the Eastern or “Greek” Church. This doctrine was represented in the Latin liturgy by the appearance in the Nicene Creed of the term “filioque” (“and from the Son”), an addition which would be hotly debated to the present day whenever the separated churches discussed reunion.23
Hildegard folded into this paraphrase of the Athanasian Creed a discussion of the relationship between the Trinity and the human soul, where the soul is treated as created in the image of the divinity. In the terms of her metaphor, Hildegard affirmed that “the soul is fire.” Furthermore, she affirmed that the soul’s fire pervades the whole human body. This fire is identified with rationality and its expression in speech. Here, as in the description of coruscation, identified with the Spirit, a direct tie is charted between fire and the wind which moves a flame. The emphasis is upon movement, but movement does not belong to humans of their own power. This power comes from God. Men may imitate God by creating objects, but these cannot live. Only God can bestow that gift.
The fallen human race learns this lesson of derivation by harsh experience. Like Adam they attain knowledge of good and evil, and those who imitate the diabolical author of the fall pass like wind. Nor can a human being be assimilated to the eternal godhead. The five senses cannot comprehend God, despite bearing the divine image; nor can the mind. Not even the soul can attain to God unaided.
To the human race, in this limited and fallen condition, the Son came, clothed, like Adam, in flesh. The Christ’s flesh was like a knight’s arms, which are distinguishable even while he seemingly is hidden. Through Him the human race can discern the divinity concealed from limited creatures. Hildegard compares the incarnation with a ray of solar light. The right faith, which raises the human being above these limits, affirms the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Passion, the Harrowing of Hell, the Resurrection and the Ascension. Hildegard looks beyond the First Coming of the Christ to the Second, when the judge will winnow the just from the unjust. The penitent, whether in their lives or their deathbed confessions, will be rewarded; but the wicked, including idolaters, will be thrown down into the pit together with the devil.
Hildegard concludes the Explanation with this chilling description of the judge who is to come. The last words of the text tie it back to the necessity of right belief:
Therefore, one must believe in truth and confidently: because there is one divinity in three persons and three persons in one divinity, they are like one life of eternity; and whoever does not believe this will be rooted out from the day of salvation.
Here we meet the Hildegard of the campaign against Cathar errors, which were incompatible with her emphasis on the goodness of creation,24 and she also gives us a taste of the lash she inflicted on lax monks and negligent prelates.25 But one should recall the other, more positive elements, of the discourse, its identification of fire as the nature not just of God but of the human soul. The soul also is described in windy terms, as a breath from God, “wherefore it understands many invisible things.” Moreover, the presence of the Holy Spirit is described in pleasant terms, in terms which any reader of Hildegard readily will recognise as “vivifying and moving all things. For only one root has in itself the viridity from which fruit proceeds.” The Father is that root; the Son, the fruit; the Spirit, viridity. Here is a vision not of judgment but of the soul’s green and flourishing health.
This mixture of fire and wind has other resonances in the abbess’ works besides the reference to Scivias made above. In that work, in the third vision of the first book, wind can be found representing the devil’s rage or the unity of faith, which carries truth to the ends of the earth.26 The Book of Divine Works shows the winds resisting the cruel North Wind, the devil’s cold blast. Moreover, in the same book, the author makes extensive use of the metaphor of fiery wind, where the fruitfulness of the Earth is credited to the air and fruitful human actions are credited to the Holy Spirit’s grace. The Spirit appears there too as fire, which warms the human being against “the coldness of indifference and neglect.” This fire is credited with the good fruit yielded by those who serve God.27
It is worth wondering whether these metaphors of fire and fiery wind did not appeal all the more in a monastery ill heated by wood fires, where cold northern blasts could chill the fingers of the scribe copying the texts of Hildegard’s visionary works. This closeness to the elements, including the longing to see the viridity of spring return, might offer us another clue, alongside the usual speculations about migraine, to help us explain the human dimension of the visionary experience of Hildegard of Bingen. On a loftier level, in an age which seemed to many plagued by error rather than rich in faith, cold rather than warm in charity, even the commanding abbot Bernard of Clairvaux and his protegé Eugenius III, a monk who became the Roman pontiff, may have found it comforting to warm themselves from the visionary work of a German abbess, who expressed basic orthodox doctrines in fiery metaphors, seeing God as fire, flame and coruscation, all expressing the burning nature of divinity, unity of nature with distinction of persons, and the human soul as an image of that fire.28
This translation was done from the version published in the Patrologia Latina, but it was corrected later against the Vienna manuscript and then against the Riesenkodex. The decision to end where the commentary on the Athanasian Creed finishes is my own, based on the fresh beginning, an exhortation to theologians, mentioned in the notes to this introduction. Neither the Vienna manuscript nor Migne ends there, but neither offers a better point of termination. Moreover, the twelfth- century note at this place in the Riesenkodex confirms my hypothesis. More work, however, remains to be done on the tradition of this text and its relationship to the Life of Saint Rupert.
The initial translation was suggested by Pastor Gretchen Cranz, and its revision for publication was urged by Margaret Schaus (Haverford College). Certain of the issues pertaining to the text were discussed with Grover Zinn (Oberlin College), and the introduction is based on a paper presented to a session sponsored by the International Hildegard von Bingen Society during an International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. Katherine Christensen (Berea College) obtained the copy of the Vienna manuscript and a reference to the most recent article on the letters of Abbess Hildegard.
Oh daughters, you have followed Christ’s footsteps for love of chastity and have elected me, a poor little thing, as your mother in humility and subjection for the sake of supernal exaltation, I say to you, not on account of myself but by a divine showing through a maternal womb. This place, the resting place of the relics of the blessed confessor Rupert, to whose protection you have fled, I found through evident miracles by God’s will for a sacrifice of praise. I came to it with the permission of my masters; and, with divine aid, I attained it freely for me and all those following me. Afterwards, however, by God’s admonition, I went to the mountain of blessed Disibod, from which I had seceded with permission, and laid this petition before all those living there, that our place and the lands given to us as alms should not be bound by them but loosed, nevertheless, seeking for profit in the salvation of our souls and solicitude for monastic discipline.
According to what I perceived in true vision, I said to the father, the abbot of that place:
Serene Light says, “You are the father of the provost and of the health of the souls of my daughters’ mystical plantation. Their alms pertain neither `to you nor to your brothers, but your place should be their refuge. If, however, you should wish to persevere in your contrary words, gnashing teeth against us, you will be like the Amalekites and Antiochus, of whom it is written that he despoiled the Lord’s temple (1 Mach. 1:23–24). Although some among you have said in their indignation, ‘We wish to diminish their freeholds,’ then I Who Am (Exod. 3:14) say that you are the worst of robbers. If you are tempted to take away from them the shepherd of spiritual medicine, then I say to you again that you are like the sons of Belial, and, in this, you do not look to the Lord’s justice, wherefore God’s justice will destroy you.”
And when I, in a pauper’s form, begged from the aforesaid abbot and his brothers the aforesaid liberty of the place and of my daughters’ freeholds in these words, all of them granted this to me with a permission written in a book. All, both greater and lesser, seeing, hearing and perceiving these things, had greatest benevolence in these matters, so that they even were ratified in writing at God’s command. Wherefore the faithful should know, affirm, effect and defend these things, so that they receive that blessing which God gave to Jacob and Israel.
But oh how great the plaint which those daughters of mine will raise after their mother’s death, since their mother’s words no longer will spring up; and so: Alas! Alas! We would cling for a long time, willingly, with tears, in groaning and lamentation, to our mother’s breasts, if we had her present with us now!
For which reason, oh daughters of God, I admonish that you have charity between you, just as I, your mother from my girlhood, have warned you, so that you may be in most clear29 light with the angels because of your benevolence and most strong in your strengths, just as your father Benedict taught you. May the Holy Spirit confer gifts on you, because, after my end, you will not hear my voice any longer. But may my voice, which frequently sounded among you in charity, never fall into oblivion among you. My daughters now glow red in their hearts on account of the sadness which they have for their mother, panting and sighing for things celestial. Afterwards they will shine with a most clear and ruddy light by God’s grace and be the strongest knights in his household.
Wherefore, if anyone wishes to arouse discord in this throng of my daughters and disruption of this habitation and its spiritual discipline, may the gift of the Holy Spirit turn this away from that his heart. Nevertheless, if, feeling contempt for God, he should do it, let the Lord’s hand kill him before all the people, because he is worthy of being confounded.
For this reason, oh daughters, inhabit this place which you have chosen for soldiering for God with all devotion and stability, so that you may attain supernal prizes in it. Wherefore charity says through wisdom:
I was ordained from of old (Ecclesi. 24:14); and I was at the formation of the first man, when he was molded by God, because God created heaven, earth and the rest of the creatures wisely on account of man, so that he might be sustained and fed by them.
Wherefore wisdom rightly can be called a builder, since she went around heaven and earth and weighed them with a fair weight. The flesh of man, however, is fully infused with the soul in the veins and nerves, so that the flesh always is sustained by the soul; and, because man even knows creatures through the soul, he has them in delight and joy. For thus man is loveable in flesh and soul, because of mercy and charity, since wisdom and charity are one.
Through these two virtues, wisdom and charity, angels and men submit to God in humility, since humility frequently bends itself to God’s honour; and so it gathers all the virtues to itself. And so God molded man in these virtues lest all should perish, just as all the angels did not perish, since many remained with God; others, however, fell with the ancient serpent. God created man in wisdom, vivified him in charity, ruled him in humility and obedience, so that he should understand how he should live. But the leading angel did not wish to understand these things, that he could not exist from himself, since only one life is from itself, from which all living things are. For that reason he fell from life; and he dried out, just as happens to creatures, to trees, herbs and other creatures, since any things falling from them dry out because they do not taste sap. Indeed, an angel lives from God; man, however, is God’s full work, since God always is at work in him, which man can understand in himself, because, as long as he lives in this life, he does not cease to think and do something wherever he is. When, however, he has finished in this life, he lives infinitely in another life. Thus, when man does good things, he is made like the good angels. Since, however, he does not know the great honour, how God formed him, and flees from due obedience, not acting in humility, but, wishing to exist from himself, made like the worst angels, he falls like Satan from life and dries up. You, however, oh man, wish God to be culpable in these things. For that reason he replied to you:
Did you create yourself? No. Is it better, therefore, that you serve yourself rather than Him Who created you? What price could you pay for yourself, since you did not make yourself? Nothing but the pain of fire.
Thus angels, men and the rest of God’s creatures are divided into these two parts, just as was done to you when God marked man in circumcision. Since the first deceiver deluded the first man fallaciously, so whoever is made disobedient to God consents to his words and has acted out of disobedience, as he advised him. But a part was separated out through circumcision in obedience to God’s command, when the benevolent Abraham obeyed God, acting thus just as He commanded him (Gen. 17:23). Then the deceiver murmured within himself with craft, turning loose this evil through certain men, so that it would not be possible for them to confess a God Whom they could not see, hear or touch. Thus he raged among the people who had been marked by obedience; and he recalled how he had deceived the first man, when he said, You will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5). He loosed a worse arrogance among them, that they could know God only through fornication, because He was in the form of a man; and, if God created man, why did he hide Himself so that man was unable to see, hear or comprehend Him?
The whole Old Law and the people truly marked did not and, up to then, could not vanquish this deceiver and those erring men; but God vanquished them before the last day and conquered before every people in such a way that the Old Law, with all those who practiced circumcision, even with them, because they were in the aforesaid error, lasted until the nativity of Christ, when the true sun of justice appeared in truth. The same sun gave great splendor through His doctrine; He was seen and heard in His humanity. The prophets heralded Him, just as there are planets besides the sun, which God foresaw when He fixed the firmament with all its ornaments (Gen. 1:14). To sun, moon and stars God added water; and He placed there, with the tempest, clouds which lightning bolts pierce and the sound of thunder occasionally sunders, so that they are moved about. So God established that creature, the sun, to serve man, even foreshadowing through it His Son, Whom the prophets foretold and on Whose humanity they touched in the service of prophecy, just as the planets sustain the sun by serving it. For prophecy, which said, Behold, a virgin shall conceive (Is. 7:14), touched upon His humanity, because the intactness of the Virgin conceived by the heat of the Holy Spirit, and not by the heat of the flesh. As the sun transfixes something with its rays, so that it warms all things by its heat, yet it is not consumed, so the sun of justice proceeded from the intact Virgin and illuminated the whole world. Just as the sun illuminates the whole world through the firmament, which, nevertheless remains intact, so the Virgin bore a Son, Whose name is Immanuel, because He proceeded from her in integrity, as the sun shines through the firmament, neither being divided. Therefore, He is God With Us, because in the same incarnation, which arose in the Virgin’s womb from the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, holy divinity was entirely whole, like the sun in the firmament; and the might of divinity transcends the heavens, the depths and all the creatures. Nevertheless, the Son of God was with us then through His holy humanity. By the offering of His body and His doctrine He is with us now and will be until we see Him manifestly.
The waters also are present to the Sun of Justice with the moon and stars, so that He might send His disciples into the whole world to preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). For what the prophets foretold about him He fulfilled in Himself, just as God rested from all His work on the seventh day of creation (Gen. 2:2). As God then made every creature subject to man to serve him, so now the Son of God, after His ascension, committed to the disciples the works of His incarnation, since they preach the gospel to every creature by His command. They showed men the right faith concerning the Son of God, since, while remaining with Him, they saw His miracles and knew, just as the sun shines in the firmament.
So, with an innumerable multitude of peoples receiving the faith, the Church was ordered as the moon is set in the firmament with the stars. The same peoples, with the Holy Spirit inspiring them, established among themselves diverse teachers and prelates, who sustain the whole Church, as the firmament is decked with the sun, moon and stars.
Afterwards thunder and lightning were stirred up by infidels and cruel tyrants, who attacked like wolves the Lord’s faithful, who burned for the faith like the sun shines in its strength, and shed their blood, so that there was no one left to bury them (3 Kgs. 19:10). Thunders too, which sounded first for God’s enemies who have not ceased sinning, in the case of Satan, when he was cast down into Hell, also arose; and lightning appeared to many Christians who divided the faith through infidelity and burned many Catholics, just as was done to Arius, whom Athanasius trampled down entirely. Strengthened by John the evangelist, who reclined against the breast of Jesus (Jn. 13:23), so that he soared high when he wrote by mystical inspiration a gospel about divinity, likewise the same Athanasius, fortifying the Church, wrote afterwards of the unity of divinity, that every man who wishes to be saved should hold the intact and inviolate faith, believing in God perfectly, lest, cast down to Hell, he become hellish.
The faith is true, that one Trinity of persons, the same Trinity in one God, must be honoured gloriously without any confusion of persons or division30 of unity, because the one God is inseparably in the one substance of divinity.31 Neither is the Father other in substance; nor is the Son other; nor is the Holy Spirit other. Nor are they separated from one another in substance of divinity; but in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit there is one divinity of one substance in the glory of majesty.32 Yet the person of the Father, which is neither that of the Son or that of the Holy Spirit, is other; that of the Son, which is neither that of the Father nor that of the Holy Spirit, is other; that of the Holy Spirit, which is neither that of the Father or of the Son, is other. There is one inseparable divinity of these persons, equal and stable honour, coeternal and invincible potency. For such is the Father in divinity and not in person; such is the Son in divinity and not in person; such too is the Holy Spirit in divinity and not in person.33 Although the Father is other, the Son is other and the Holy Spirit is other in distinction of persons, nevertheless, the Father is not another thing, the Son is not another thing, the Holy Spirit is not another thing in substance of divinity. How are these persons to be understood? Certainly God is understandable in his Word, and He lives. God created the world, that is, man with all his glory. What ought to be so, God always had in eternity. God alone, without Whom no one exists, made this. Without his existing, who could have been made? No one at all! God made all things in His Word, as John, who reclined against the breast of Christ (Jn. 13:23), affirms.
But God is fire, and flame hides in this fire. This flame is mobile in life. In this fire, however, there is not division except distinction of persons. Material and visible fire is of a golden colour; and, in this fire, flame, which blows in a strong wind, coruscates. Any fire would not coruscate here unless it were flaming, and it would not be mobile except by means of the wind. Wherefore there are three words for this fire. For flame is from fire; and fire coruscates from flame and only is mobile by means of a strong wind. Fire also burns with flame; and this whole burning equally pervades and fills fire and flame. If there were no burning in fire, it would not be fire; nor would it have the thunder of flame.
But the soul is fire; and its fire pervades the whole body in which it is, that is, the veins with blood, the bones with nerves and the flesh with colour. It is inextinguishable. The fire of the soul has burning in rationality, by means of which it utters speech. If the soul were not fiery, it would not melt what has frozen; nor could it build up the body with blood-filled veins. Because the soul is windy with rationality, it divides its heat rightly through every place in the body, lest the body should lose shape. When the soul extracts itself from the body, the body fails, since wood cannot burn without the burning of fire. For man, like God, is rational; and the rationality of man resounds in the wind with fire. Rationality, then, is a great force, fiery and undivided. If it were not fiery, it would not be windy; and, if it were not windy, it would not resound.
So God created all things; and, apart from Him, no one ever made anything living, although by his art a man may fabricate something which, nevertheless, cannot live, since man has a beginning. He Who created all things was not created, because there was no beginning before Him; but He is without beginning, and all things are in Him, since all things were made through Him (Jn. 1:3). Through those things which man flees from fear, lest they injure him, he has trust in the Lord, crying out that he should succor him or keep him in the repose of rest. Through those things which are on account of man and which exist for him, since he works with them, and which are present to him placidly and conveniently, he learns to have love for God.
If man knew nothing except what is mild and pleasant for him, he would not know, which would be the same thing, what it is called. Wherefore he has deepest knowledge from the weight of the harshness of harmful things and knows what is good and evil; and, like Adam, he knows how to name them (Gen. 2:19). For, if he knew only one thing, the work of God would not be perfect in him. He would not know the thing he saw; and he would not know what and of what sort was the thing which he heard. For that reason he would be empty and extinguished, just as that which is burned is converted into charcoal. And so, as was said,34 the Father is uncreated, the Son too is uncreated, and so the Holy Spirit is uncreated, since these three persons are one God, and all creatures were created by the same God without Whom nothing was made (Jn. 1:3). Indeed the devil wishes in the beginning, which was at the beginning, the likeness of Him Who is without beginning, which in no way could have been done, because he was nothing, since life and truth are in God; but there is vanity, which is inflated pride, which passed like the wind, in the fallen angel and man. What is done by God and in God is life in itself; and God crushed the head of the one who first sowed the aforesaid evils (Gen. 3:15) and threw the one who is without life into Hell. The Father, Who can be compassed by no capacity nor limited by number, like those things which were made at the beginning can, is immense.35 God had all things in His presence, but He did not create all of them at once. Wherefore there even is a certain sequence in creatures, just as in man, who is made an infant, a boy, a youth, an old man and decrepit, which anyone can comprehend. It must be understood that in the Son and the Holy Spirit are immensities; nor can they be comprehended by capacity or number. The Father also is eternal in that eternity which never began and in which, like a revolving wheel, neither beginning nor end is perceived.
God is a spirit (Jn. 4:24). Certainly every spirit is incomprehensible and indivisible. For eternity, without all commutation, is what is said: He was and is; He remains eternal. Nor is anyone assimilated to God in it, for eternity is unique; and all His creatures were made through it.
The Son, eternal with the Father in divinity, imbued what was taken from a creature, that is man.36 Divinity so clarified what was taken on, just as a ray is imprinted by the sun. The sun, however, sheds its light on the earth; nor is it augmented or diminished on account of this. The Son of God, coming into the world, was neither augmented nor diminished in divinity, since He imbued what He had taken on, just as God had clothed Adam, made from a fragile creature, lest he should seem nude (Gen. 4:21). Certainly man never could see eternity except in humanity, because divinity lies concealed in humanity. Thus the Son is known by the putting on of humanity, as an armored man is known by his arms, so that he does not seem hidden in them.
The Holy Spirit, Who was present at the beginning of every creature and made it active by breathing into it, is eternal and coeternal with the Father and the Son. There are not three eternities in God; but one eternity is in Him, and not three, as Arius made fragments of Him, like the members of a man cut off in amputation. But eternity is one divinity which the rationality of man, despite his strongest works, cannot name with one name. Since man has a beginning, he returns to ash; therefore, he is unable to declare the things which are before the beginning and after the end. But, holding one faith in his soul, he speaks of the substance of God, which is spiritual. The soul is a breath from God; wherefore it understands many invisible things and senses in right faith the unity of divinity, because there are not three uncreated gods; but there is one God, uncreated and immense, neither in three ways nor divided into three parts.37 The Father is omnipotent, Who, through His Word, Who is His omnipotent Son, created all things, which the Holy Spirit, Who is life, so passed through that the warmth of fire and flames burns. Nevertheless, there are not three omnipotent ones; but God in three persons is one omnipotent God.38 As it would be inconvenient for a man, who is one man with a rational soul, to be divided into three, since then there would be no whole life but a mortal corpse, how could a unique life, in which there is no mortality of beginning and change, be divided? But God is the Father, Who is powerful; God is the Son, Who is the potency of the Father; God is the Holy Spirit, Who is the life from which every life proceeds. There are not, however, three gods; but there is one unique deity without any division, whose powerful force is named with individual names.39 So by ruling the Lord is the Father; by working the Lord is the Son; by vivifying the Lord is the Holy Spirit. These are a whole divinity with three names, just as God indicated all His work in one force of divinity. Nor are there three Lords ruling individually; but one divinity with full integrity is in the three forces of the three persons, ruling, working, also vivifying all creatures and moving them to their duty. And so there is one Lord.40
The Lord made these two works, that is, angel and man, with every other. An angel is a spirit; man, however, is made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), so that he works through the five sense of his body, by which he is not divided, but through them is wise, knowing and understanding how to do his works. God distinguished these three forces in man through this, that man’s soul, which moves the body to working, is rational; and in this the five senses of man’s body are perfected fully. Through sight man knows creatures; through hearing rationality tells him what he thus hears; by smell he discerns what is convenient or inconvenient to use; by taste he knows by whom and what he is fed; and by touch he does good and evil. He rules all his works with the aforesaid five senses. Thus these five senses are joined in man as if in one, so that he never lacks another; and they are in one man, who, nevertheless, is not divided into two or three men; but he perfects all his works with these five senses, and he is one man. Through the fact that a man is wise, knowing and understanding he understands creatures. Likewise, through creatures and His great works, he knows God, Whom he is not able to see except in faith. So man comprehends and knows all things in creatures through his five senses, because he loves by sight, judges by taste, discerns by hearing, chooses what is convenient to himself by smelling and does what pleases him through touch. In this he exemplifies God, Who created all creatures. So too a man, from the fact that he is wise, knows what is pleasing or harmful to him. From the fact that he is knowing, he constrains a creature by commanding, so that it is subject, ministering to him. What he wishes he draws to himself; what he does not wish he flees. From the fact that he is understanding, he knows what befits each creature as its duty. With these three powers and their appendices, a man is rational in his soul, which never is divided, so that even if some limb of a man is severed by the devil’s wiles, a rational animal is in no way divided by this. The body, however, is an edifice of the soul, which works through it according to its sensibility, just as a mill wheel is turned by water.
All peoples anointed with chrism, therefore, confess the three persons to be in unity but that the three persons are one true and firm divinity. Since three souls are not one in one rational animal, which has three powers, but the soul is one, why should there be separable division in the unity of divinity, when all things were created by God?41 One must never say, therefore, that there are three gods or three Lords;42 but one is called God, because He created all things, and One is called Lord, Whom all creatures invoke as Lord and Whose sheep they are. Therefore, it is forbidden that any singularity should be had in the unity of divinity, because God is wise. The Father was made by no one, since no one appeared before Him by whom He could have been begotten or created; but He is eternal, without beginning. The Son, without any separation, is from the Father alone, not made at the beginning or created with members, but begotten, as light is from the sun, without any separation. Here He assumed flesh from the Virgin Mary; but brightness of divinity did not recede from Him, because He was with the Father in divinity eternally, although He imbued what He took on in time, flesh from the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit is the life which moves all breathing in creatures. Here life was made by no one breathing, nor created by anyone else, nor begotten by anyone else; but He exists coeternal and coequal with the Father and the Son. He was present at the first creation of the world, because the Spirit of the Lord moved above the waters (Gen. 1:2), inscribing the circle of the whole world, when the Word of God said, Let it be.
The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son in the truth of prophecy, made the prophets prophesy. They nevertheless often obscured the profundity of prophecy, although they wrote the text, since sometimes they spoke through signs in shadow and night vision. Coming upon the apostles in fiery tongues (Act 2:3), He filled all of them and made them other men than they had been, so that they saw those tongues and felt the touch of the same Holy Spirit Himself, Who had appeared to no man before the nativity of Christ nor will appear thereafter, since Christ is the only-begotten Son of God. He appeared to them in fiery tongues, because the Virgin Mary conceived the Son of God in His fiery heat; and so He proceeds from the Father and the Son. Since the apostles saw Him in fire, He spoke openly with wisdom and intelligence. Because the Son of God was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary,43 the Holy Spirit remained in Him, remains and is with Him forever; nor are they ever separated from one another. Therefore, the intact and pure faith is that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as was said above. This is what the Son, Who proceeds from the Father (Jn. 15:26), said in honour of the Father, heeding that His incarnation was in time, although there is no time with the paternal divinity.44
So there is one Father; and not three fathers, but one Father, since, if He were not the Father, He would not have begotten the Son. If the Son had not been begotten, the world would not have been created. Also, there is one Son; not three sons, but one, through Whom all things were made, consubstantial with the Father. And there is one Holy Spirit; not three holy spirits, but one, vivifying and moving all things.45 For only one root has in itself the viridity from which fruit proceeds. This is esteemed unequally; nevertheless, they are in one root. Why, therefore, would the creator of all not be in a trinity of persons? One must understand by the root the Father’s person, by the fruit the Son’s person and by viridity the Holy Spirit’s person. They are not separated from one another, but God is one.
In this unity of the Trinity, with nothing preceding before, nothing following after, nothing greater in magnificence, nothing less in potency,46 all the persons of the Trinity, without any emptiness, join Themselves into one and exist in eternity and equality, coeternal and coequal,47 so that nothing is in those persons of which it could be said, on account of divinity, that it is and was not, great and small, since God, lacking beginning and end, receives neither augmentation nor loss, because He is immutable. The work of God in a creature, previously not formed, now appears formed; and it passes through time, expanding and shrinking. There are three persons, therefore, in the unity; and one God must be worshiped in three persons, since He created all things.48 He is the life from which all living things proceed, which any of the faithful undoubtedly will accept thus. It is necessary for the faithful person, lest he separate himself from the catholic faith, to believe the incarnation of the Son of God to be true.49 He should consider himself, how he is created and how, working a body with the rational soul, he is one. God foresaw before time the form of man in which He would assume flesh; and whoever doubts this denies himself. Nor does he believe that he is one man in three ways in the two natures of body and soul, because, if one of these three, soul, body and rationality, of which man is made up, is lacking, he is not a man. For a rational man is in the soul, which perfects some things in the body with the sound of words, since the creatures are present to man like branches on a tree, because man was not created without the rest of the creatures, just as a tree is not created without branches.
In truth, therefore, the right faith is that Christ, the Son of God, born before time, is God; and He is true man by taking on flesh. And so God the Son is from the substance of the Father, since He is coeternal with Him without time and is coequal, begotten before the ages, because All things were made through Him (Jn. 1:3). But through His humanity, which time has, He is man from the substance of his mother.50 He, then, is full God in the integrity of eternity and full man with a rational soul and clean flesh, without any virile mixing of human nature. He is coequal with the Father in the eternity of divinity; He is lesser than Him, however, in humanity, which time has. He, being God and man, nevertheless, was not divided in two; but there is one Christ, not by changing of divinity in the flesh but by the assumption of flesh, which divinity joined to Itself and which He so infused with his brightness as a ray of the sun shines in the sun. Nor, on account of this, were the substance of divinity and the substance of humanity confused together; but there is one Christ, the true Son of God, in the person’s true unity. As there is no change on account of the flesh of man in a rational animal soul, since that rational spirit which infuses the whole human body, moving all the works of the man who does them, is from God, and so the soul and the flesh are one man. So too, without any doubt, the Son of God, born before the ages, imbued the flesh assumed fully from the Virgin, as was said above. Being God and man, Christ is one, certainly called Christ from the anointing of God’s grace. He was wounded in His humanity by piercing with nails and a lance (Jn. 19:34) on account of the one wound of the first man, which he inflicted on all his progeny, so that He cleansed it with the shedding of His blood, suffused it with the anointing of the oil of grace and bound it with penance, when a man bewails that he has sinned. The wounded one descended spiritually into the pit of Hell and there drew many to Himself, that is, He drew from Hell itself the first man and all who ever touched God in the conduct of human honour and placed them in the place of delights and joys which they had lost with their first parent. On the third day He rose from the death of the sleeping body.51 In this He signified the three persons of deity. Ascending in the same body, He went to heaven; and there He sits reigning at the right hand of the Father.52 This is the salvation of the people who believe, giving life to those whom He redeemed with His blood.
All these things were foreknown before the time of every beginning, since the Word of the Father by Whom all things were made (Jn. 1:3) imbued flesh, so that He might redeem man, whom He had formed. The same Son of God will come at the end of the age as the just judge to judge the living and the dead, the living who do the works of faith, the dead who did the works of death by infidelity. With the sound of the trumpet calling, like a footstool, man will submit to the very Son of God for judgement, since, seeing Him then, he who is worthy will be known. For at the advent of that judge, by the aforesaid call, the dead will rise with their bodies (1 Thes. 4:15). As every creature proceeds from the sound of the Word of God, every creature will assemble; and all will respond to their judge for their own works, which were done in the mortal body.53 Nor will anyone be able to excuse himself, because then each will see plainly his works, which he only knew before he had done. Since this is like a garment for them, they will follow him anywhere. The one who did just and right works will go into the greater brightness of life, as the sun shines in the world, with their souls made bright by grace, wherefore the angels will praise God, because they did such great works that they are clothed gloriously, like a man who puts on a precious garment. Also, the Son of Man will raise to Himself in His blood all the innumerable multitude of those men who did penance perfectly before their end, or even at their end, and confessed their sins to God; and He will bestow mercy according to their works in this life. But the wicked, having no excuse for their unjust works and not knowing what they can say, those who adored idols through the arts of the devil and did bad works with the diabolical mob, will be clothed with their confusion; and they will descend with the devil into the pit of Hell, which he occupies since he wished to be like God.54
Therefore, one must believe in truth and confidently. Because there is one divinity in three persons and three persons in one divinity, they are like the one life of eternity; and whoever does not believe this will be rooted out from the day of salvation.55
You, oh masters and teachers of the people, why are you blind and deaf in the interior knowledge of letters, which God handed down to you, how He established the sun, moon and stars, so that a rational person may know and discern the passage of time by means of them. Knowledge of the Scriptures was handed down to you, so that in it, like in a solar ray, you may recognise any danger, so that by means of your teaching you may shed light, as the moon does into the shades of night, into the infidelity of erring men, who are like the Sadducees and heretics, and like many others who err in faith, who are included among you, and whom many of you know, living like cattle and beasts with their faces turned downward. For they do not see nor wish to know that they are rational through the breath of life. Nor do they lift up their heads to the one Who created them and Who rules through the five senses that He gave them. Why, therefore, in a rational person is there a resemblance to a downward-looking animal that is awakened by a breath of air, which it exhales again and so comes to an end, that has no knowledge except what it senses, fears injury and does nothing by itself unless it is driven to do it? And how is it fitting that a person should have fellowship with cattle, that is subject in service to someone, and is ruled by what it is fed and subject to the one who commands, since it is not rational?
The supreme Father, therefore, says to the Son, just as was written by the Holy Spirit: “Thou shalt rule them, kings, with a rod of iron, and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2:9). This means that you chastise whoever resists you, those kings, with a rod of iron, that is hard; and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel, that is made of clay, because they are of the earth. They do not enter the gate of righteousness through faith; nor are they noted for the fame of their good works, since they are thieves; they smite and destroy whatever they wish, by their own choice, because they are hypocrites, perverting the law to their own damnation.
“You, however, who are to your hearers in magisterial teaching like the moon and the stars, for whom you chew over Scripture, nevertheless, more for the sake of honor and the riches of this world than for the sake of God, hear and understand what should be much more necessary, that you dispel the nocturnal shades of erring and unfaithful men, who are ignorant in what way they would walk, so that you draw them to us by faith.
“Now, therefore, rule them, showing them by a true admonition that, in the beginning, God created heaven and earth, and the rest of creatures, for the sake of humankind, placed humanity in the pleasant place of Paradise, and gave them a command that was violated. On account of this, humanity was expelled into the darkness of this exile. In the same violation, however, is shown how great a pity it was that humanity obeyed not the Creator but the one who seduced it (Gen. 3), since it is more just to obey the Lord than a lying servant, who made himself like his Lord.”
“With these words, stir up their hearts with a rod of iron, so that they may know, lest they turn away from their Creator; or, if they fall away from Him by unfaithfulness, they may fall into the tomb of Hell with the one whom they have imitated. For those who persevere in unfaithfulness are broken like a potter’s vessel, that seems to the potter worthless and unsuitable; and, because they have not done the works of faith, they cannot enter into eternal life, just as a badly made potter’s vessel is not repaired but broken.”
Understand these things, you who rule the people; and look to the invisible God, Whom no one can overcome nor can see with carnal eyes; and understand how to rule your estate, that you have received from Him, since you have gloried in His name with great honor, and so rule the people, lest you be put to shame before Him on the day of judgment on account of your rule. Beware too lest you be so overcome with weariness by the pleasures of the flesh and the delights of the world that you scarcely can open one eye for celestial doctrine.
These things, however, are hard for you, because whoever attends diligently to things celestial in the things that he rules wounds his whole body, since he withdraws himself from the desires of the flesh. Therefore, for the sake of the fear of God, Who is the way and the truth, do not despise a person in the female form who writes these things, who is untaught in the knowledge of letters and was feeble from her childhood to the sixtieth year of her age. This writing she did not see with the eyes nor hear with the ears of an outward person, but she saw and heard this writing in the inward knowledge of her soul. Do not wish, therefore, to raise your mind high, spurning her, since God made an irrational animal speak as He wished (Numbers 22:28). This vision that I saw in a pauper’s form did not depart from my soul from my childhood to the aforesaid age; and these things that have been said I have written in that place which, destroyed by certain tyrants, remained desolate for many years. In it rest the relics of Saint Rupert, who was noble according to the dignity of the present age and whom God gathered to Himself gloriously in the twentieth year of his age. Among His wonders this place now is restored at last by God’s grace after those years of desolation.
The Lord then was mindful in the case of this His saint of what He said to His disciples, saying, But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Mt. 10:30), nor did He wish to omit why He revealed this. We must write about the merits of the saints, how their good and right fame resounds in the ears of the faithful. The creature sings praises to God because he was created by Him. God then is eternal; and it is the creature’s work to praise His name, since, if the soul were not in the body of a human being, that person would not live, nor can the flesh move without the soul. So an angel is praise in God, and a human being is work in God. And so His praise is in all His wonders and in the merits of the saints. He is true eternity, creating all things and renewing heaven and earth on the latest day. His height and depth no one else has touched, and the breadth of His knowledge no one else could grasp. And so this text of Scripture must be heard and understood by the faithful, “Oh how glorious is the Divinity Who, by creating and doing, reveals Himself through His own creature, just as He did in the three children, whom He so protected that, without any vision of the Scriptures and without any teaching of men, they praised Him in the midst of the fire” (cf. Daniel 3). Just as the happy soul, having put aside the flesh, desires to grasp and know nothing other than God, so these three blessed boys, still living in the flesh, by desiring God ardently, depict the nature of the soul. God the Father also wished His Son to be named by the unbelief of ignorance in Nabuchodonosor, just as the evil spirits know Him, although they, to whom God so often showed His wonders, do not praise Him.
So too He manifested His omnipotence in the most mighty Samson, who, although he overcame lions and wild beasts with his strength (Judges 14:5–6), was deceived by his wife, as Adam was by Eve. He, nevertheless, recovering his strength, overcame that woman and the rest of his foes (Judges 16:28–30), just as Christ, harrowing Hell, broke the might of His foes. David prefigured Him in the most harsh battle with Goliath (1 Kings [1 Samuel] 17:49–50), that He would bind the ancient serpent through the humanity of His Son. He sent such might into a soft womanly disposition that a woman, killing Holofernes in the night, freed the people of Israel (Judith 13:8–11). In this she prefigured the mother of the Son, through whom the faithful people would be freed.
He prefigured in the ancient saints, by the prophecy of the prophets and the holocausts of rams and bulls, the pact of the bond, because he foretold that the Church would be joined to His Son by the bond of matrimony. Through the taking on of humanity by the Son of God, the Church adheres to the Son of God, Who dowered her with His blood as a heritage for Himself, so that she might bear anew to life through baptism the offspring that Eve bore to death. For Christ married the Church to Himself in His blood, just as through the oath Abraham’s servant swore under the thigh of his master (Gen. 24:2) is prefigured that the Church must be married to Christ. But when Lucifer, with all those united to him, discerned that God the Father openly held a wedding for His Son, he roared within himself. As Cain spilled the blood of Abel (Gen. 4:8), so he invaded the hearts of the unbelievers and tyrants, so that they would seize, wound and kill the just, good and elect of God. This is what Christ said to His disciples, the parable of the king who sent his servants to invite guests to a wedding. But when they were unwilling, he sent other servants to them, so that they would come, since the feast was prepared (Mt. 2–4). But, when they neglected this, they bound his servants and killed them with contempt. So too the Jews and other unbelievers, often gathering with great joy, blotted out from the earth the ancient saints whom God first sent and the apostles who were sent afterwards.
God, however, by means of a bow set in the clouds of heaven, was mindful of His oath (Gen. 9:13–18), when His Son, Whom the bow signified, Whom He wished to be born of an intact virginal nature triumphed, subduing all his foes powerfully. Although human beings were blotted out by means of the water of the flood (Gen. 7:21–23), nevertheless, in the new age of human beings recovered through the water of baptism, Christ reigns in the Church, appearing in the clouds like a bow. The Church then is joined to the Son of God, just as circumcision was to the Law, the observance of which anticipated the Church by signification. But the new age, that is gilded by the ornament of the Church, never will be derided entirely for some defect. Just as the bow in heaven does not fail, but is beheld with such fear that is scarcely can be seen with one eye, likewise this will be repeated in the Son of God. In the varied colors of the aforesaid bow, the might of the virtues of the thousand-fold number of the saints is signified. In the fiery color, chastity and continence; in purple, the martyrdoms of the martyrs; in jacinth, the teachings of the ancestors; in green, however, are represented the virtues of the good works of the saints, that, breathed out by the Son of God, proceed like rays from the sun.
The aforesaid king, however, having sent his armies, killed those murderers and burned their city (Mt. 22:7), because, when they multiplied sorrows, that is by surpassing the ancients, almighty God was angered against His foes, when the Roman princes destroyed Jerusalem, which was suffused with the blood of the true Lamb and the blood of the other saints, by undermining all of it. They destroyed all the citizens who dwelt in it by killing and selling56 them. Then the Church was rebuilt yet again, when the holy city, New Jerusalem, descended from heaven (Apoc. 21:2), prepared by God as a bride adorned for her husband, since the Lamb gathered to Himself humanity of infant, childish, youthful, mature and decrepit age, with whom He bedecked the Church in the newness of good works and in the humility of those virtues descending from heaven. Just so He perfects any of their good and holy works adorned by the Holy Spirit as a bride is adorned for her husband, when she burns with love for him. As the Church is joined to Christ, so too His elect, that is, blessed Rupert. God made him, whom He gave everything in his infancy, and whom He led to a good end, who was brilliant of birth and in the riches of this world, to be dear to God by the liberty of God’s blessing.57
For I see as in a true vision our blessed patron Rupert, deprived of his father, with his mother, a widow, living in this place, overflowing with good works and serving God in chastity, humility and sanctity, having bought eternal rewards with things perishable and temporal.
Just the living Light showed me in a true vision and taught me, so I will speak of it. Everywhere the opinion about true sanctity was that it could stay and remain there for a long time; where true sanctity was not, there a lie could long remain, as divine majesty showed openly when it transferred me, and some sisters with me, by a great miracle of great visions to the place of his relics, as openly appears to all who perceive.
The father of the mother of blessed Rupert, therefore, originated in Lorraine etc.
Those things that follow are read at the beginning of the life of Saint Rupert written by the same Hildegard.