July 25, 2012

Two New Doctors of the Church to be celebrated October 7

St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen will be formally declared Doctors of the Church on October 7 of this year.   Even though they were separated culturally and historically, both of these great saints were part of efforts to renew the practice of mental prayer and the reform of the life of the Church.  St. Hildegard from the Benedictine tradition founded monasteries in Germany while St. John worked with the early Jesuits to reform the priesthood in Spain.

Mental prayer or contemplative prayer is a deep engagement of the heart and mind with the mystery of Christ.   This devotion to Christ is always fruitful in wonderful and mysterious ways.   Those who spend themselves in silence pondering the Word of God through passages of the Bible and before the Blessed Sacrament open themselves to a general loving knowledge about God and the things of God.   This mystical wisdom not only changes their lives and motivates them to do something beautiful for God, but it also infuses the whole Church with new life.

St. Hildegard and St. John discovered this in their own day when the Church most needed it and today we are still blessed.   Hopefully, their teachings and examples will inspire many more to a deeper devotion to Christ, a time when the Church needs the wisdom of God more than ever.