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Extra info for Hadewijch: The Complete Works
9 INTRODUCTION That you may understand by reason What God has accomplished through you . . If you live with reason in truth, You enlighten all your labor; So your will is pleased to live well . . And then your memory becomes valiant, And within it shall reign glory, With confidence and fidelity, That it may fully contemplate its God. In Letter 4: P. 1, she states the theme in the negative:32 When reason is obscured, the will grows weak and powerless and feels an aversion for effort, because reason does not en lighten it.
HADEWIJCH'S DOCTRIN E OF THE MYSTICAL LIFE Hadewijch proposes a love mysticism that is both Christological and Trinitarian. The central theme of love had taken possession of her heart and mind very early, with her experience of Divine Love at the age of ten. Her mystical concepts, necessarily expressed in dif ferent manners in her works depending on the literary genre she em ploys, recur constantly. None of her four works, however, gives a systematic treatment of her doctrine, since all of them are made u p 7 INTRODUCTION of numerous separate pieces in which her thought presents itself as circumstances happened to call it forth.
A new and important contribution on the subject of the visions and their audience has recently been made by Vekeman. "75 Further, he points out the fact that Ruusbroec in the Espousals distinguishes between visions in which the soul is enlight ened through the intervention of Angels, and those in wh ich man is drawn above himself and above the spirit into an incomprehensible richness that God alone can achieve in man. "78 It falls into two parts; in the first, an Angel guides Hadewijch past seven trees that symbolize virtues; in the second part, the Angel leaves her, and in ecstasy she sees Christ, who speaks to her at con siderable length; he especially commands her to live his Humanity, practicing the virtues and accepting all sufferings as he himself did in his life on earth, in order to come to live his Divinity.