O Euchari in leta via / Sequence for Saint Eucharius

by Hildegard von Bingen

English version by Barbara Newman
Original Language Latin

Eucharius!
you walked blithely when you stayed
with the Son of God,
touching him, watching
his miracle-working.

You loved him with a perfect love
when terror fell on your friends --
who being human had no
strength to bear the brightness
of the good.

But you -- in the blaze of utmost love --
drew him to your heart
when you gathered the sheaves
of his precepts.

Eucharius!
when the Word of God possessed you
in the blaze of the dove,
when the sun rose in your spirit,
you founded a church in your bliss.

Daylight shimmers in your heart
where three tabernacles stand
on a marble pillar
in the city of God.

In your preaching Ecclesia
savors old wine with new --
a chalice twice hallowed.

And in your teaching Ecclesia
argued with such force
that her shout rang over the mountains,
that the hills and the woods might bow
to suck her breasts.

Pray for this company now,
pray with resounding voice
that we forsake not Christ
in his sacred rites,
but become before his altar
a living sacrifice.

-- from Symphonia: A Critical Edition of the Symphonia armonie celstium revelationum, by Hildegard of Bingen / Translated by Barbara Newman

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This song in praise of Saint Eucharius may feel overly... "Catholic" to some readers, but it has several truly beautiful lines.

First, who is this Eucharius praised by Hildegard? Saint Eucharius is venerated as the first bishop of Trier/Treves (in the same region where Hildegard later lived and taught). Historians think Eucharius probably lived in the later part of the third century, but Catholic legend portrays him as one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ, who was later sent to Gaul by Saint Peter to establish Christianity in the region.

I love Hildegard's lines:

when the sun rose in your spirit,
you founded a church in your bliss.

What else should a church or a life be founded on, but bliss?

May daylight shimmer in your heart!



Recommended Books: Hildegard von Bingen

Symphonia: A Critical Edition of the Symphonia armonie celstium revelationum German Mystical Writings: Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, and others Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works with Letters and Songs Women of Wisdom: A Journey of Enlightenment by Women of Vision Through the Ages The Book of the Rewards of Life: Liber Vitae Meritorum
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O Euchari in leta