Mountains and Valleys

In Nazaré, Portugal

Towards the end of one of her most well known letters (defending her practice of letting her nuns dress up for feast days and let their hair down), Saint Hildegard speaks about the humility to know what we are capable of:

It is not good for people to grab hold of a mountain which they cannot possibly move. Rather, they should stand in the valley, gradually learning what they are capable of.

Maybe some bodies and souls, with their interweaving and difficult-to-discern histories, are made for mountain heights and some for valleys, or made for moving mountains and some for learning about valleys. Maybe some are capable of great honour, both in the world and in feats of mortification or asceticism. Maybe some are not. None of this matters greatly. What counts in the end is love, how much each act is done with love. And a love that knows the merely human limits in which God has placed oneself is a love that can go very deep, in the smallest things, indeed.

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