Dominican Father Jonathan Kalisch blessing the bees and the hives at Our Lady of Grace Monastery, North Guilford. For us, asking for God’s blessings upon things helps to remember God’s goodness and constant care for us. As a gardener, I am keenly reminded that without the bees we would not be eating too well, plus the honey produced by the bees is part of our diet and good health since it has curative properties. As a Catholic I can’t help not remembering the references to bees in the Exultet sung at the Paschal Vigil. There we hear:
This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness. The sanctifying power of this night dispels all wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty. On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.
BLESSING OF BEES
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Let us pray.
Lord God almighty, who made the heavens and the earth, and all living things in the air and on land for the use of mankind; You hold all creation in the palm of your hands. With compunction, we pray to You, O all-good One: as in ancient times You granted the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, and as you were well-pleased to nourish Your baptizer John in the wilderness with wild honey. You ordered, through the ministers of holy Church, that candles made from the industry of bees should be lighted during the solemn mystery in which the most sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ, your Son, is confected and consumed; send your blessing + upon these bees and these beehives. Let none of these hives which You have fashioned be deprived of bees, but let them always be filled with honeycomb causing them to multiply, to produce and to be kept from harm, so that their yield of wax can be turned to your honor, to that of the Son and Holy Spirit, and to the veneration of the blessed Virgin Mary; through Christ our Lord.
~ Our Lady of Grace, pray for us.
~ St. Ambrose, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us.
~ Blessed Simon Bellachi, pray for us.
The bees and the hives are sprinkled with holy water.
There are several pieces of sacred Scripture that reference honey and bees. My favorite is: “The bee is small among flying creatures, but what it produces is the best of sweet things” (Sirach 11:3). AND the 4th century author of The Apostolic Constitutions, one of the early documents of the Church writes: “Or else go to the bee, and learn how laborious she is, and her work how valuable it is, whose labors both kings and mean men make use of for their health. She is desirable and glorious, though she be weak in strength, yet by honoring wisdom she is improved, etc.”
The Church, the body of Christ, is a lot like a beehive: everyone has a God-given mission, a particular job to do for the Lord and the Kingdom.