Florilegium: October 2008 Archives

Sant'Ambrogio scrivendo.jpg

I rejoice to celebrate the Votive Office and Mass of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Thursday whenever the rubrics permit it. At Matins I read Saint Ambrose (De Sacramentis 4:4); he is astonishing in his simplicity and clarity. How I love this text!

And yes, dear readers, that is a beehive resting on the book next to Saint Ambrose! So gifted was he at extracting spiritual honey from the Scriptures, and so sweet was his preaching to the palate of souls, that, in his iconography, he came to be depicted with bees and beehives.

The same symbolism is associated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the Doctor Mellifluus (Honey-flowing Doctor) and "the last of the Fathers."

"Ergo non otiose, cum accipis,
tu dicis: Amen;
jam in spiritu confitens,
quod accipias corpus Christi.
Dicit tibi sacerdos: Corpus Christi:
et tu dicis: Amen.
Hoc est, verum.
Quod confitetur lingua,
teneat affectus."

"Therefore it is not idly that,
when thou art a-receiving, thou sayest: "Amen";
testifying in thine heart that
That which thou art taking is the Body of Christ.
The priest saith unto thee: "The Body of Christ!" and thou answerest: "Amen"
That is to say: "It is true." What then thy tongue confesseth, let thine heart hold to."

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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