We bought a beehive last fall and we are awaiting the spring delivery of the Italian bees we ordered a couple of weeks ago. Imagine my delight when I received a copy of the Rural Life Prayerbook, which was published by The National Catholic Rural Life Conference in 1956 and has been re-issued this year by St. Benedict Press/TAN Books. For there, on page 178, is a “Blessing for Bees,” just what we will need when we introduce our bees to the hive this May.
Many Catholics are realizing the need to be re-connected to the land and its cycles and seasons. My daughter and her husband, like so many of their generation, raise chickens in town. Right before the blessing of bees you’ll find the “Blessing for Poultry” and, after that, the “Blessing for Salt or Feed for Animals.”
Given the wildfires that have ravaged the mountain west in the last few years, I know I will be using “A Prayer for Protection Against Fires” on page 117. People in other parts of the country will be grateful for the “Blessing Against Floods,” on page 190.
This book was compiled when a great many people still lived on farms and ranches, or in small towns surrounded by farms and ranches. But even city dwellers should be aware of the sources of their food and water and of the times and seasons that bring forth this bounty. How wonderful to have blessings for fresh fruit, for cheese or butter, for sprouting seed. Do you have a garden that is destroyed each year by pests? This book has a “Blessing of Crosses to be Set in Fields, Vineyards, etc.” (I’m guessing the backyard tomato plants can be safely covered by that “etc.”)
All of these blessings and prayers are set in the context of the Church’s day, week, and year. I am delighted that there is a “Blessing of Seeds, Flowers, and Crops on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” linking her fruitfulness to the fruitfulness of the earth.
Spring is coming. Buy a copy of this prayer book for your favorite gardener, or buy one for yourself.