Today is World Bee Day. Bees are vital. Without bees, there are no fruits and vegetables. But bees are disappearing at an alarming rate and some people are not alarmed. Many kinds of bees have already gone extinct. There are increasingly few fields and meadows where bees can forage because "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swingin hot spot."* Our chem-lawns, gardens and agriculture fields are sprayed with stuff that kills any flying insect (other pollinators) including bees.
But Europe has recently enacted legislation prohibiting chemical sprays that kill bees. My goodness, most jarred honey contains traces of chemical pesticides. The farmers and the producers of killer-chemicals are not happy, but an important step has been taken to ensure an alive planet for our children and grandchildren.
Bees figure in our religion not infrequently. During the song to the Easter Candle on Holy Saturday Night we hear, "On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants' hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church."
And Saint John Chrysostom said: "The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others."
There is a lovely legend that on Christmas Night honey bees hum Psalm 100. But only those who are clean of heart are able to hear it.
O be joyful in the Lord, all you lands:
serve the Lord with gladness,
come before his presence singing for joy.
Know that he, the Lord is God.
He made us, we belong to him,
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Go within his gates, giving thanks.
Enter his courts with songs of praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love.
He is faithful from generation to generation.
The patron of bees and bee-keepers is Saint Gobnet (5th century) who was born in County Clare, Ireland. Having fled to the Aran Islands to escape a family feud, Gobnet built a church there but was instructed in a vision that this was not to be the place of her resurrection, but rather another place, where she would find nine white deer grazing. So she came to southern Ireland, founded the church of Kilgobnet and eventually settled at Ballyvourney. There she built a nunnery and was guided by St. Abban. She was a skillful bee-keeper, using honey to cure illnesses and wounds. The site of her convent with its holy well is still a place of pilgrimage. Her feast day is February 11.
Holy Gobnet, help us to save our planet.
Holy Gobnet, that we may revere every living thing.
Holy Gobnet, that we may be generous in supporting life.
Holy Gobnet, heal us of our illnesses and inner wounds.
Holy Gobnet, may no living thing go extinct on our watch.
Holy Gobnet, that we would fall to our knees in wonder.
Want to plant a Honey Bee Garden? Here are the names of thirty plants known to be favored by bees. These seeds and plants can be found in almost any nursery. All you need is some good soil and at least six hours of sun each day. And the desire to put caring into living action.
Calendula (aka Marigold)
Thrift (aka Sea Pink)
Monarda (aka Bigamist or Bee Balm)
*Big Yellow Taxi ~ Joni Mitchell 1970 And the last verse:
Hey farmer, farmer, put away the D.D.T now
give me spots on my apples
but leave me the birds and the bees ~ please!
Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got til it's gone...