Hildegard of Bingen – “Alleluia o Virga Mediatrix”

Original Text: 


Alleluia!
O virga mediatrix,
sancta viscera tua mortem superaverunt
et venter tuus omnes creaturas illuminavit
in pulcro flore de suavissima integritate
clausi pudoris tui orto.
Alleluia.

Translation: 

Alleluia!
O mediating branch
Your holy flesh has overcome death,
and your womb has illuminated all creatures
through the beautiful flower of your tender purity
that sprang from your chastity.
Alleluia.

When Hildegard of Bigen was just 14 years old, as the 10th child, she was offered up to the church as the “tithe”. A tithe is “to freely give one-tenth of one’s income annually to the Lord through His Church” (https://www.lds.org/topics/tithing?lang=eng&old=true). For the rest of her life she lived in a small room all by herself, separated from her family forever. She eventually became a saint and prophet.

I love this poem because of my own understanding of the poem. This poem speaks on the Virgin Mary and what she represents for the world of mortals. Through her personal and spiritual connection to God, she has become the bridge that connects God and mortals.

Now, lets break down the poem:

Alleluia! (Rejoice! Listen I’m about to speak on something very important in the upcoming lines)
O mediating branch
(this is Mary herself)
your holy flesh has overcome death (Mary is able to become impregnated by God, even as a virgin, and have a child without dying).
and your womb has illuminated all creatures (the concept of a Virgin birth has enlightened every creature on this Earth about the existence of a higher being, God, and the miracles he can perform)
through the beautiful flower of your tender purity (this miracle could only transpire due to Mary’s state: 1- being a virgin & 2- strong connect with God)
that sprang from your chastity. (her responsibility of carrying the Son of God is seen as a gift from God himself to Mary due to her faithfulness to her religion)
Alleluia. (Rejoice! for the lords work is good)

Music available to listen on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/27ol_QffDhE 

Forney, Kristine, et al. The Enjoyment of Music: Essential Listening. New York, NY, Norton, 2013, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

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