While a lion, -the king of the jungle- was taking a stroll, he noticed that all the other animals feared him and fled from him. His mighty roar echoed through the jungle and many lions, lionesses and cubs hurried to him. They saw that he was silent. The following conversation then took place between the tribe and the lion:
“We heard you roaring, so we all came to work with you, or to rescue you from danger.”
“Thank you I’m not in any danger. I am the king and all the animals fear me. But I have an idea that I would like to suggest to you.”
“What is it?”
“Let us live like humans.”
“But what are we lacking, that would make us want to live like humans? Our bodies are stronger, and we’re free to walk anywhere in the jungle.”
“We don’t fight against each other and we don’t devour each other. These are some of the human traits.”
“But we can’t do that. We always work together, we share our preys, and we give the elderly, sick and young their shares, even if they hadn’t toiled with us.”
“Come, let’s disagree and break up into different groups; we’ll fight each other and eat each other up.”
“That’s impossible! Because if we ate each other up, we’d eradicate ourselves, since our bodies and teeth are not as weak as those of humans.”
“Let’s try! This will give us some of the experience that humans have.”
“We can’t disagree, since by nature, we work together.”
This imaginary story, written by St. John Chrysostom, stipulates that humans have fallen to a level of baseness that makes them inferior to animals and insects. The Holy Bible requires us to learn toiling and industriousness from the ant, and to learn co-operation even from wild animals such as the lion. Those animals, despite being predators, they work together rather than devour each other. In this respect, humans behave differently, even with close friends.
I recall having been asked to intervene to resolve a problem between a father and his son, who were living in North America. The two had embarked on a joint project, which turned out to be a success. The father unfortunately sued his son, claiming ownership of the entire project, and denying any partnership. He did this to his own flesh and blood!
How macabre is sin! Humans commit sins with no shame which even the wild animals won’t do.
To You I have become as a beast.
* The prophet, perceiving what sin had made of him, cried:
“Do not marvel, O Dear One, when I say,
That to You, I have become as a beast.
Since animals follow natural laws, and their behaviour is better than many humans.”
* You have granted me, O Lord, the faculty of reasoning.
You have given me the gift of free will.
These, with Your grace, will elevate me to Your heaven,
And will liken me to Your angels.
I know You, and I enjoy Your mysteries,
And I live in superb glory.
* Sin has devastated me because of my stupidity.
It has humiliated me and led me to the abyss.
But in Your love You descended to me,
To carry me in Your arms.
I live, in truth, a holy and blessed son,
Not to learn from animals, but from heaven itself.
I see the entire creation at my service,
Because of Your great love for me.
A Dialogue with an Ant
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