After all the animals were created, many decisions had to be made. One of these decisions involved who would be entrusted with carrying an amazing substance called 'honey'. The animals started to argue amongst each other, each trying to prove why it should be selected for this special task. The angels arranged for a competition to resolve this dispute.
First, the elephant stepped forward. "I am clearly the most qualified. Not only do I have an enormous belly where all the honey can be kept, but I also have a trunk that is perfectly designed for the task of inserting the honey into containers."
Next came the lion. He roared a few times and then said: "Honey needs to be protected and who is more qualified to protect it than the king of the jungle?"
Then the horse stepped forward:
"Honey", the horse proclaimed, "needs to be transported quickly and reliably. There is no one more qualified for this task than me".
As the animals were arguing their cases, one of the angels noticed that the bee was flying away from the scene. The angel inquired:
"Where are you going? Aren't you going to participate in the competition?"
The bee responded: "You must be kidding, how can I possibly participate in such a competition? I am completely and utterly unqualified to carry such an amazing substance. I am nothing but an insignificant insect".
At that very moment the decision was made: "Honey will be entrusted to the bee because it posses the most important quality of all. Not a large container. Not strength. Not speed. Humility."
The above story is excerpted from a book, Metaphors of Islamic Humanism, by my dear friend, Dr. Omar Imady, copyright 2005. I find the Sufism of Omar to be very close to Catholic mysticism, in some ways closer than mainstream Catholic thought and practice. Considering the interest in the previous posts on humility, I thought, as I posted this particular excerpt from Omar's book to Mahlou Musings, that the story, which comes from a Sufi cleric, would be particularly fitting to the continuation of the discussions from those posts.
Our Lady of Fatima [Flickr]
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