Tag Archives: Blessing of Bees

Blessing of Agriculture

“That Thou wouldst please to give and preserve the fruits of the earth…we beseech Thee hear us.”

“Bless, O Lord, Almighty God, this land; may health and purity, goodness and meekness, and every virtue reign here.”

Today we had the blessing of agriculture using the Latin prayers (with a English translation provided for some). Two of our priest friends in the Order of Preachers and some friends, came out to the North Guilford Monastery (the Dominican nuns) to bless the honey bees, the chickens, the cows, the pigs, the land, the orchard and a mode of transportation. Because the nuns are cloistered the land, gardens and forest were blessed with them in spirit.

As a beekeeper, I am keen on having my bees and hives receiving the Lord’s blessing.

Since we do not have the Catholic Rural Life chapter in Connecticut, CRL’s influence is rather negligible but as a national, Catholic nonprofit organization it is dedicated to the vitality of the America’s agriculture.

Blessing of Honey Bees

O Lord, God almighty, who hast created heaven and earth! Thou didst create all living things for man’s use. Moreover, Thou didst order by the ministry of Thy Church that candles made from the industry of bees shall burn during the Sacred Mystery in which we consecrate and consume the most holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Send Thy holy blessing upon these bees and this beehive to make them numerous and productive, and to preserve them from harm, so that their yield of wax can be turned to Thy honor, and to the honor of Thy Son and Holy Spirit and to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Blessing of agriculture

It seems that many of the clergy and laity neglect beseeching God for blessings upon agriculture. I suppose they neither see the necessity nor value in doing such. Imagine no longer giving thanks for a gift and asking for guidance! An acquaintance in New York told me the priest in her village basically refused to come to the farm to bless her cows and lands. I am happy to say that the Dominican Friars are very willing to impart the requested blessings upon cows, swine, laying hens, honey bees, the pastures, forest and gardens. We did this pious act this morning with Father Joachim, OP.

The prayers are striking for their supplication and reverence for God the Father as creator and sustainer of creation. The prayers are beautiful for the Old Testament typology and New Testament salvation in Jesus Christ. The Paschal Mystery, hence, is clearly central as is the well-being of humanity.

Why bless agriculture? In part, the blessings give perspective: God is the one who fashions all things and it is God who gives. He is the author of all nature. Moreover, it is a recognition that we live and find our true happiness in the given-ness of the world’s sacramentality. We don’t give ourselves anything. The prayers and act of praying reminds us that we are dependent on Another, that is, we are dependent on the Blessed Trinity who gives life. Theologically, without a recognition of God holding all creation in the palm of His hands we focus on ourselves and not on Him and others we are impoverished at rather deep level.

For me, the blessing of agriculture is critical these days because we our thinking and working in area of having good food for health and happiness, food security, and respect, love and beauty for the land. Blessing agriculture is educative; blessing of agriculture helps me to reflective on the place true Catholic faith and ecology intersect and interpenetrate (here I am thinking of what the Western and Eastern churches teach).

Let us pray through the intercession of Our Lady, the saints and angels, for God’s continued blessings upon us, “from whom every good has its beginning and from whom it receives its increase.”

Bee Blessing

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.

All: Amen.

~ 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.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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