Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 6, 2017
Hadewijch, Serving God through Prayer
There were several Hadewijches during the medieval period in northern Europe. The editors of this “Spiritual Classics” collection believe that this particular Hadewijch was the leader of her community in Antwerp. Not an avowed person, not a religious, she nevertheless was a completely devout person who never took any sort of vows. However, she did abide by the life of poverty and contemplation, and was one of the group of women called “Beguines.” She and her community lived by a definitive Rule, followed the Hours, and essentially were nuns in all but name.
Hadewijch was so service-oriented, she had an incredibly high standard of what she expected of herself. Moreover, she was a spiritual director for the young women under her care She certainly considered all to live up to the same stringent standards.
I was not expecting Hadewijch’s description of God as Love, or Beloved. “Rejoice continually in the hope of winning love; for if you desire perfect love for God, you must not desire in return any repose whatever except Love.” 
I hadn’t been expecting it, but it seemed only natural that Hadewijch gave the young women under her care particular advice and direction on how they ought to walk in the Christian life. Except—she called it “Love.” “You are still young, and you must grow a good deal, and it is much better for you, if you wish to walk the way of Love, that you seek difficulty and that you suffer for the honor of Love, rather than wish to feel love.” 
Hadewijch does go on, and describe some of what she means exactly. I would like to revisit her discussions at some future time (when I have more time), when I have the opportunity to delve deep. Since I have the spiritual gifts of mercy and helps in abundance, I am very interested to hear what Hagenwijch has to say about these things. (Just because she was writing her thoughts down a bunch of centuries ago, doesn’t make her any more or less serious of a planner and teacher.
I’ll let Hadewijch have the last word: “Serve nobly, wish for nothing else, and fear nothing else: and let Love freely take care of itself.”  (Amen!)
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 Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 200.
 Ibid, 201.