Class Insights About Hildegard
Claiming only to repeat what God said gives her not only credibility, but superiority. To oppose her would be to oppose God.
Her visionary credibility is enhanced by her physical illnesses. The word of God is so powerful it's hard to imagine it wouldn't have physical effects on the person experiencing these kinds of visions.
Hildegard claims that God is present within her soul, and that visions come to her rather than seeking them out. She doesn't need to "unknow" anything in order to connect with God.
Her analogy of God's presence in the soul as a "fountain that never empties" is a beautiful teaching. It emphasizes the grace of God much more than moral progress.
Perhaps one explanation for the acceptance of women visionaries was that they were revered in their local culture and generally upheld Christian orthodoxy. They were a good line of defense against heresy.
While Hildegard remained impeccably orthodox, her claim to always have access to the living light seems to bypass the sacramental system of the Church.
It's interesting that Hildegard doesn't seem to have any aspirations toward the masculine typology of mystical union, i.e. studying scripture in a more verbal way.
Hildegard works hard to elevate the importance of the body and the senses in human communion with God.
Hildegard emphasizes the feminine aspects of God in her reliance upon cosmic women like Sapientia and Caritas and God's maternal love for humankind. This emphasis changes the social status of women because men are no longer seen as the exclusive model for divinity.
By likening the frailty of woman to the frailty of Christ, Hildegard elevates the status of women and gives them a place within the divine hierarchy of the Trinity. Similarly, her exaltation of Mary as the humble handmaid also gives human women religious status within the Church.