Saint Hildegard’s “Viriditas” refers to life force, essence. Many translators simply say that this neologism means “greening”, which it does at the most basic level, but it means so much more than that. It is power, energy, growth. It is the very marrow of what it means to be living. You know when you meet someone whether they are simply existing or truly energetically alive. This “Viriditas” is the difference. We have the ability to tap into this force, a gift from God, and be truly alive. We are then expected to use this power in the service of God to help our fellow humans.
It is what Moses talked about when he said “I set before you a blessing and a curse – therefore, choose life.” Life is the blessing. To grow, to use your gifts is the purpose of life. We must choose to tap into the power of God, and then choose to use it wisely. We are not meant to use this energy for our own personal gain, but to benefit others. We are meant to take what God has given us and magnify it.
Two men having sex together is seen as a sin in Judaism because it is “spilling of the seed” – it is seen as a waste of creative life force. The act isn’t the sin so much as the waste of creative force. Their energy is not being used to create, but is used for personal means. They are not making anything with their energy. It is a mis-use of a gift from God.
Likewise, to create laws against homosexuals is also a waste of power. Imagine how many hungry, homeless, and hurting people could have been helped with the money, time, and energy that have been spent on creating laws against people who are gay or transgendered.
The focus must always be on wisely using what God has given you. The energy must be turned outward to help people, with full trust in God.
This is what Jesus talked about in the parable of the talents. Use what you have and make more. Don’t keep energy to yourself.
This is at the heart of the miracle of the loaves and fishes – which happened twice. Take what you are given and add to it. Feed people, in as many ways as possible. Food, encouragement, love – humans need all of these. Our gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded up.
We are meant to be fruitful and multiply as much as possible, and this does not necessarily mean to have biological children. Our kindness, generosity, compassion are our children as well. Our creative acts – making music or art – are also our children.
This is also about the sanctification of time. The very first commandment that Israel received in the desert was the mitzvah of the calendar. They were to use the moon as their way to mark time, to note its passing, to remember and be mindful about time. It is important to be intentional about the use of time, because it too is a gift from God.
Take nothing for granted. Waste nothing. Trust your gifts and share them with the world, with God’s help.
Remember what Jesus did – he gave thanks to God first before he performed miracles. Tap into the “greening” power of God by giving thanks first for what you have, then turn it outwards to give to others.