Jesus honored by (means of) bees

Sculpture of Jesus made out of honeycomb by bees
Sculpture of Jesus made out of honeycomb by bees

Tomáš Gabzdil Libertiny has sculpted Jesus out of honeycomb with the assistance of 40,000 bees. It reminds me of some of the more rhapsodic Christian musing on the Paschal candle:

The wax is the work of the bee, of which Scripture says, “Go to the bee, O sluggard, and learn how she works.” So sacred is her work regarded that both kings and common folk eat her product for their own health’s sake. All admire her grace and her beauty, and no matter how frail she is, are forced to honor her ageless wisdom. Why dost thou think of us, O Christ? Why tell us to consider the bee, since she is such an insignificant insect? Because lowliness is exalted. She flies by means of two of the brightest wings. And what is more luminous than charity? For the precept of charity is likewise twofold, that we love God and that we love our neighbor, by which, as on two wings, the just man is carried up to heaven. The bee produces honey, and the just man’s mouth brings forth truth, as our Lord exclaims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And the Prophet in turn exclaims, “O taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” The bees love their queen as the just love their Christ. The bees build honeycombs as the just build churches. And as the former garner their riches from flowers, so all just men enrich themselves on the beauties of Sacred Scripture, through which they know God and glorify Him, and which are for them meadows in bloom. The bees beget offspring without lust, as the just beget Christians by the chaste preaching of the Gospel. (Augustine, Homily on the Paschal Candle)

There was an “embolism on the bee” in some of the medieval blessings of the Paschal Candle as well. The mother bee’s chaste fecundity (they were unaware of drones, but also unable to scientifically verify that the bee was female — it was just a good theological guess) was seen as a natural symbol of both Mary and Holy Mother Church.

Also, Caesarius of Heisterbach (d. c. 1240), in his Dialogue on Miracles, writes of some equally devout bees:

Once a woman kept a large number of bees, which were no profit to her, but kept dying off, and when she tried to find a remedy for this misfortune, she was told that if she placed the Lord’s body among them, the plague would quickly be stayed. She therefore went to church, and pretending that she wished to communicate, she received the Lord’s body; which she immediately withdrew from her mouth when she returned from the altar, and placed it in one of the hives. Wonderful power of God! The insects recognized their creator, and built a most beautiful chapel with wonderful skill from their sweetest honeycomb for their most gracious guest, and placed in it an altar of the same material, and laid upon it the most sacred body. And the Lord gave His blessing to all their work . . . . For although God is marvellous in His saints, He is shown yet more wonderful in these the least of his creation. (H. von E. Scott and C. C. Swinton Bland, transl.)

Enjoy your day!

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