Daily Reading for April 26
Given the reality of medieval office politics (as real for us in the twenty-first century as it was in the thirteenth), Hadewijch offered two main pieces of advice: “be on your guard against instability” and “never abandon the true life of good works.” Hadewijch seems to understand how easy it is to lose one’s center, and how detrimental that can be to one’s spirituality. She writes, “For there is nothing so able and so quick to separate you from our Lord as instability.” As an antidote, she gives us a sort of mantra with a warning attached.
“Whatever troubles may come to you, do not commit the folly of believing that you are set for any other goal than the great God Himself, in the fullness of His being and His love; do not let folly or doubt deflect you from any good practice which can lead you to this goal. If you will confide yourself to His love, you will soon grow to your full stature, but if you persist in doubting, you will become sluggish and grudging, and everything which you ought to do will be a burden to you. Let nothing trouble you [as Teresa of Avila will also advise three centuries later], do not believe that anything which you must do for Him whom you seek will be beyond your strength, that you cannot surmount it, that it will be beyond you. This is the fervor, this is the zeal which you must have, and all the time your strength must grow.”
From Wisdom from the Middle Ages for Middle-Aged Women by Lisa B. Hamilton. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com