Flies, Bees and Seeing One’s Own Sin

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) writes:

“Let us not bite and chew others’ wounds; let us not imitate flies, but emulate bees: flies settle on wounds, bees fly onto flowers.

Hence it is the latter who form honeycombs, whereas the former carry diseases to the bodies they alight on; they are loathed, while the bees are desirable and welcome. Let us, therefore, have our soul fly over the meadow of the virtue of holy people, and constantly stimulate the fragrance of their good deeds instead of biting the wounds of the neighbor.

If, however, we should see some people doing the latter, let us silence them, stopping their mouths with the fear of punishment, reminding them of their kinship with their brethren. But if they do not respond to any of this, let us refer to them as flies in the hope that the reproach of this name may make them desist from their wicked occupation, so that they may rid themselves of this evil pursuit and devote all their time to studying their own vices.” (Old Testament Homilies: Vol. 3, Translated by Robert Charles Hill, p 51)

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