“It was like the work which keep bees hard at their task about the flowering countryside as the sun shines in the calm of early summer...All is a ferment of activity, and the scent of honey rises with the perfume of thyme.” How aptly these words of Virgil the poet describe the scene at Rosary Convent over the last two weeks.
Like “bees in a meadow on a fine summer day settling on flowers of every kind” the sisters were busy writing assignments, compiling examination papers, writing report comments, teaching, attending classes, with frequent intervals of returning to their little chapel for prayers, spiritual reading and meditation. But in fact they would not return to their familiar and well loved little chapel for long...
...for like Shakespeare’s “singing masons building roofs of gold” they have in very fact been busy with the help of many others in the parish to prepare a new and much bigger chapel, which will be able to house growing numbers in the hive. The work involved clearing out the “old barn” which served as an area for storage, carpentry, library, lecture, and music room. Once cleared, working like bees with order and peace, serious cleaning could start, and then the all important tasks of cladding walls, installing lights, painting, carrying our new choir stalls and furnishings back in and arranging them in just the right fashion to fit maximum numbers. The Blessed Sacrament had to be removed for the moving of the altar, which proved hard work for the men and boys who assisted, and happy the moment when all was ready and Father could return Our Lord to complete the new Chapel.
Tired but thankful voices filled the new Chapel for Vespers on the Feast of St Cecilia of whom we sang “Busy like a bee, thou did serve the Lord” (Versicle of Matins for her feast). Some young postulants even had enough energy to produce little "punctum" biscuits (cookies to translate for the American clan) in the form of their favourite neum to celebrate.
St Ambrose compares holy virgins to the bee. For “the bee feeds on dew, knows no marriage couch and makes honey. ..[So] the virgin’s dew is the divine word; for the word of God descends like the dew, her modesty is unstained nature and her produce is the fruit of the lips, without bitterness, abounding in sweetness... How I wish you, my daughter, to be an imitator of these bees, whose food is flowers, whose offspring is collected and brought together by the mouth. Do imitate her, my daughter. Let no veil of deceit be spread over your words; let them have no covering of guile, that they may be pure, and full of gravity.” We pray that all in the Novitiate have drawn the honey of wisdom from their study and contemplation and as generous as the bee have given that sweetness to others, especially the children we taught in school.
"It is the spirit of wisdom and understanding which, like a bee bearing both wax and honey, is able to kindle the light of knowledge and to pour in the savour of grace...What would be the good of learning without love? It would puff up. And love without learning? It would go astray.” Pope Pius XII. We pray to do our work faithfully in order to produce not only the wax of knowledge but also the honey by which the children will acquire the taste and desire for that which is good.Sisters, while working and praying in the new Chapel,“let your spirits rise in mystic flight to experience the kindness of God, to taste the sweetness of His word and His law" (Ps. 18:11; 118: 103), to contemplate the divine light symbolized by the burning flame of the candle, product of the mother bee, as the Church sings in her admirable liturgy of Holy Saturday.