Stephen M. Plustwik
Editor and publisher in Melbourne, Australia
'Holy love and holy fear are like the two eyes of the dove in the Canticle, for the dove is of all birds the most timorous and the most loving.'
—Hélinand of Froidmont [ca. 1160–after 1229], 'The Beauty of the Soul', chap. 2 [drawn from his _Liber de cognitione sui_] in _The School of Self-Knowledge: A Symposium from Mediaeval Sources_, trans. Adrian Walker and Geoffrey Webb (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1956), 15.
'The voice of this little bird [i.e., the turtle-dove] is more of a moan than a song, and thus reminds us that we are but pilgrims on the earth and have here no continuing city. So when a holy soul sighs for the presence of Christ, grieving that the coming of the Kingdom is so long delayed, and hailing from afar its longed-for fatherland with plaints and sighs, do you not think that such a soul is like the turtle-dove, that chaste and mournful bird?'
—Saint Bernard [1090 or 91–1153, Abbot of Clairvaux and Doctor of the Church], 'Of the Soul's Longing for Its Heavenly Fatherland', chap. 27.1 in _On the Song of Songs_, trans. A Religious of CSMV [i.e., Ruth Penelope Lawson] (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1952), 190.
'The turtle-dove has something else to recommend it, besides its plaintive voice. It is a chaste bird, content with one mate and living in solitary widowhood, if that mate dies; therefore its voice may be regarded as enjoining chastity.'
—'A Commendation of Virginity and Holy Widowhood', chap. 27.2 in _On the Song of Songs_, 191.
'To obtain the honey of devotion, copy the method of the little bee. Ascend, ascend, I say, to the paradise of charity, to the "depths of your heart", for, behold, he whom you seek is exalted. [. . . You should not] curtail your embrace of this Paradise [i.e., your soul, where God lives], but you should like a bee fly into each flower [i.e., wound of Christ] and lick each petal. [. . .] "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation" in the manner of the little bee, who while flying makes a continual buzz and is only silent when he enters a flower, where he gathers and sucks the sweet honey for which he has longed so much.'
—Saint Bonaventure [ca. 1217–74, Franciscan; Bishop and Doctor of the Church], 'An Exhortation to the Contemplation of the Passion and Charity of Christ', chap. 24 in _The Mystical Vine (Vitis Mystica): A Treatise on the Passion of Our Lord_, translated from the Latin by A Friar of SSF [i.e., Brother Francis, SSF] (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1955), 60–62. From the saint’s Spiritual Works.