Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Missed St. Benedict's Feast Day and the Blessing of the Bees...

...since I was on retreat and we were using the calendar of the pre-Vatican II Roman Missal which offers a different saint on July 11th. But I'm praying the prayer for bees today. As a matter of fact, when I was out walking the grounds of the San Damiano Retreat Center in Winchester I saw honeybees working the white clover. It was a nostalgia moment because I remember when I was a child how dangerous it was to walk barefoot in the grass. The bees were all over the clover. Now, sadly, they are few and far between. But I snapped some shots of a few busy bees. (Hat tip to Darden for sending this!)
Catholic Prayer: Blessing of Bees on the Feast of St. Benedict 
The original Benedictine monasteries were usually self-sufficient, which means the monks had to provide for all needs. One thing that would be included in every monastery was beekeeping, to make beeswax for candles and honey for food and mead.

Although not the patron of bees or beekeepers, there is a Benedictine connection. Here is a blessing over the bees. This blessing is from the older form of the Roman Ritual.

St. Benedict's feast was formerly March 21, but it is now celebrated on July 11.


St. Benedict is the patron of bee-keepers, and those who themselves have bees could not do better than mark his day by praying for their hives. Farmers can pray for their cattle and their barns; fishermen for their fishing boats and the fish in the sea, why should bee-keepers do less? In some parts of France it was, and may still be, customary for bee-keepers to have a medal of St. Benedict affixed to their hives:

O Lord, God almighty, who hast created heaven and earth and every animal existing over them and in them for the use of men, and who hast commanded through the ministers of holy Church that candles made from the products of bees be lit in church during the carrying out of the sacred office in which the most holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ thy Son is made present and is received; may thy holy blessing descend upon these bees and these hives, so that they may multiply, be fruitful and be preserved from all ills and that the fruits coming forth from them may be distributed for thy praise and that of thy Son and the holy Spirit and of the most blessed Virgin Mary.

Prayer Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945 

No comments: