Those who are familiar with the writings of St. Francis de Sales know that bees figure prominently in the examples he uses to illustrate different aspects of the spiritual life.
As we begin this most sacred season of Lent, we share with our readers an excerpt from his homily on Ash Wednesday, 9 February 1622. This selection highlights his affection for (and admiration of) bees ... and it gives us all a good reason to have arachnophobia!
"Do not act like the spider who, who represents the proud; but imitate the bee, who is the symbol of the humble soul. The spider spins its web where everyone can see it, and never in secret. It spins in orchards, going from tree to tree, in houses, on windows, on floors -- in short, before the eyes of all. . . . But the bees are wiser and more prudent, for they prepare their honey in the hive where no one can see them. Besides that, they build little cells where they continue their work in secret. This represents the humble soul, who . . . is content that God sees and knows what she does."