Be as a Bee with a Queen



Consider the following example, as explained by St. Francis de Sales:

Bees cannot rest as long as they have no queen. They flutter about incessantly, wandering [here and there]; there is scarcely any repose in the hive. But as soon as their queen is born, they all gather around her, and stay there, never leaving her except to go and gather their spoils at her command.

Whenever we hear (or read) examples such as this, it’s good to actually stop and put an image in our “mind’s eye” (i.e. imagine the scene) to go along with the example: before the queen is born, the hive is in pure chaos. Of course bees cannot speak or use gestures as humans can, but they still communicate in some way so operations run smoothly in the hive. ¬†Now, those who have done any sort of project with a big group know how important it is to have someone who at least knows the “big picture” or the general process of operation. That way, the rest of the group can go to this person and ask, “What do I do next? What role do I have in this process?” Without someone¬†leading the crew, the problem arises of having too many people who think they know what’s going on, or no one knows what’s going on. Chaos is sure to follow. Direction is essential.

Back to the example with the bees… Not having a queen bee (the one who sees the big picture and knows how to make it all unfold perfectly) leads to chaos. When the queen bee is born, all the other bees approach and wait for direction. Chaos disappears and something as delicious as honey is produced (if we’re dealing with honey bees, that is). The hive thrives under the direction of the queen bee.

Let’s now apply that to humanity. Each human – you, your brother, friend, spouse, parent, me, etc. – lives according to what he “sees” in his own life. Some see outside of their own little ‘world’ but even then the scope is pretty narrow, considering the history of the entire world. No single human person can see the entirety of the big picture. Who can? God. For God, all things are one moment. Nothing escapes His vision, whether past, present, or future. He is our proverbial “queen bee”. Yet not all of us look to Him for guidance, waiting for His command for us to go and gather our spoils. Those who avoid His command live in chaos, as though they are bees without a queen. The saints, though, do nothing without receiving His command. Each day, they sit at His feet in prayer. Sometimes they are given very particular commands: feed this person, greet that person, give away this amount of money, visit this prisoner, comfort that mourner, etc. Always they are given general commands, which will allow the hive to thrive: feed the hungry, give money to the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, give shelter to the homeless, welcome the stranger, bury the dead, teach the ignorant, comfort the afflicted. Still a more general command did the saints receive from God: Be a holy priest. Be a holy nun. Be a holy husband, father. Be a holy wife, mother. Be a holy son or daughter. Be a holy disciple!

man praying in church

Prayer leads to a ‘hive’ that thrives. Prayer leads to a world that flourishes, breathes life, and produces true fruit.

Sit at the feet of God, as though you are a bee hovering around your queen. Wait for His command and then go gather your spoils for Him.

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