A Divine Allegory: The Legend of the Waxen Ciborium

In the solemn stillness of a summer night within a quaint village embraced by the mystique of midnight, the Legend of the Waxen Ciborium gradually unfolds like a timeless hymn gently echoing through the silence:

A summer night in Romy, strokes of the midnight bell
Like drops of molten silver, athwart the silence fell.
Where ‘mid the misty meadows, the circling crystal streams.
A little village slumbered, lock’d in quiet dreams.

A lily, green-embower’d, beside a mossy wood,
With golden cross uplifted, the small white chapel stood.
But in that solemn hour, the light of moon and star
Upon its portal shining, revealed the door ajar!

And lo! Into the midnight, with noiseless feet, there ran
From out the sacred shadows, a masked and muffl’d man,
Who bore beneath his mantle, with sacrilegious hold,
The Victim of the altar within its vase of gold.

To right, to left, he faltered; then swift across the sward,
(Like dusty demon fleeing) he bore the Hidden Lord.
By mere and moonlit meadow his rapid passage sped,
Till, at an open wicket, he paused with bended head.

Behold, a grassy terrace, a garden widened fair.
And ‘mid the wealth of roses, a beehive nestling there.
Across the flow’ring trellis, the villain cast his cloak.
Upon the jeweled chalice, the moonbeams, sparkling, broke.

O sacrilegious fingers, your work was quickly done
Within the hive (audacious) he thrust the Holy One.
And gath’ring up his mantle to hide the treasure bright,
Flunged back into the darkness, and vanish’d in the night.

Forth in the summer morning, full of the sun and breeze.
Into his dewy garden, walks the master of the bees.
All silent stands the beehive, no little buzzing things,
Among the flower, flutter, on brown and golden wings.

Untasted lies the honey within the roses hearts.
The master paces nearer, he listens, lo he starts.
What sounds of rapturous singing. O heaven all alive
With strange angelic music, is that celestial hive.

Upon his knees adoring, the master weeping sees
Within a honeyed cloister, the Chalice of the bees.
For lo the little creatures have reared a waxen shrine.
Wherein reposes safely the Sacred Host Divine!

O happy one who listen unto this legend old
Whose snowy veil and robes of black speak of love untold.
From out the hands of sinners whose hearts are foul to see,
Behold! the dear Lord Jesus appeals to you and me.

He says, “O loving children within your hearts prepare
A hive of honeyed sweetness where I may nestle fair.
Make haste, O pure affection to welcome me therein,
Out of the world’s bright gardens, out of the groves of sin.

“And in the night of sorrow (sweet sorrow) like the bees,
Around my heart shall hover your winged ministries.
And while ye toil, the angels, shall softly singing come
To worship Me, the Captive of Love’s Ciborium.”

At the heart of this poetic tale with its lovely cadence, resonates profound allegory; a mirroring of the beauty and sacred symbols of the Catholic faith. The waxen ciborium is a cherished vessel that gently cradles the Sacred Host within the humble confines of the beehive. In the midst of the noise of the world the little bees come together to create a shrine, a place where the Divine and nature seamlessly intertwine, creating a splendid harmonious place for worship.

When we reflect on the legend, we should consider the invitation to look upon the purity of our affections for our Divine Lord and strive towards creating a hive without hearts. The hive is not meant to keep love out; acting as a fortress, but to become a sanctuary for God, a refuge that remains untouched by the shadows of sin-laden groves.

As we look even deeper upon the words of the poem, it is understood that we are being implored to quiet our hearts and listen to the call of Christ. There is a sincere plea to prepare a hive of honeyed sweetness without our hearts, that which becomes a warm and welcoming home for the Divine. We can allow our hearts to transform into a haven for the captive love of the Lord much like the bees when surrounding the honeyed cloister.

The legend is not one that is out of our reach, but in actuality is a story that is quite attainable, and teaches us about an intimate exchange between the meek and the Divine. It summons us who despite being wretched sinners can still create a sacred space within our very being meant for Christ. We can picture the allure of embracing the Captive of Love’s Ciborium.

Let us ponder upon the beautiful allegory, and let it be a source of inspiration. We can choose to be like the bees in the legend, faithful stewards of a waxen ciborium where the untold stories of love may find their cherished dwelling place.

Photo by Brittney Strange on Unsplash

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Christina M. Sorrentino resides in Staten Island, New York, and is a freelance writer, theology teacher, and author of the books Belonging to Christ and Called to Love - A Listening Heart. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Ignitum Today and has contributed to various publications including Word on Fire, Radiant Magazine, and Homiletic & Pastoral Review. She has also appeared on Sacred Heart Radio, and has been featured in the National Catholic Register's "Best in Catholic Blogging". Christina blogs at Called to Love - A Listening Heart and can be followed on Twitter @cmsorrps4610.

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