Many of us are aware of the process of the caterpillar’s transformation to a butterfly. The unique thing about this process is that while in the cocoon the caterpillar disintegrates all it’s tissue except these imaginal discs that metamorphosis into the wings, legs, eyes, antenna, etc of the butterfly by division of cells. The caterpillar basically completely dies and is rebirthed into a beautiful butterfly. Along our journey in life, many of us experience this very same process of death and rebirth. The life giving cells that bring about our rebirth can only come from one source, God. Over the years, I have felt that I personally have gone through this process but it really wasn’t until recently that I realized the amazing beauty of this process, to be transformed in one sitting, to have joy completely fill your core. To tell my story is to tell of this transformation of a caterpillar that retreated into a cocoon and eventually died within but was reborn into beauty, filled with life. This life and this beauty is my faith and how God has revealed Himself to me through my Catholic faith and my community. To tell of my story, is to tell of His presence and His hand immersed within the story. My story could never be without the presence of Jesus, without His love and it could never be without the suffering. The landscape of my story is the fruit of His presence. The life within my story is the life giving water that sits at the core of my being, my faith and trust in a Father that is love and makes all things new, even the ashes. It is in my suffering that new life was birthed, the cocoon was formed, the caterpillar disintegrated and the beautiful butterfly immersed through my faith and a Father that will never give up on me, but will always make all things good.
Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling depressed, hurt, lonely, broken, unworthy? Feeling joyful, happy, excited? Do you think God meets you in all these regards? If your answer is yes, then you are on to something. If your answer is no, then let’s take a look. When we are at our most weakest, most vulnerable moments, are we more open to God? Is that when God says “Ah hah! I have a crack, I have space to enter, I am being invited.” At our most vulnerable moments, our walls begin to lower and we become more open to accepting God and so He meets us when we are ready, when we say “ok now I want you to come walk with me, carry me, I can’t do this alone.” This is when most of us will probably grow the most in our relationship with God. We shouldn’t feel guilty that it’s in these moments we cry out to Him the most, we pray the most, we seek His understanding, His comfort, His help. These are the times where He wants to come to us to give us His love and His comfort. These are the moments where He embraces our desire for Him, where He pours out all that He is for each of us. He also meets us in those joyful, exciting, happy moments. His grace and blessings are in all good things. His goodness and His love are showered upon us. Reflect on your moments of weakness, of pain, were you vulnerable to opening your heart to grow in a relationship with God? Did you accept His invitation? Reflect on your moments of joy and happiness, did you admire the hands of God and give thanksgiving.
As a mother, I am privileged to kissing “booboos”, cleaning them up and bandaging them. The greater privilege is comforting the wounded child, letting her know it’s all going to be okay. Just as a mother nurtures her child’s wound, so does God. God so gently “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds”, Psalm 147:3. All He asks is that we trust Him to take control of the hurt and allow Him to provide the healing. He will comfort and heal the depths of the wound with His tender love, mercy, and compassion. He wants us to allow Him to guide us with His tenderness, to trust Him and not pick at the wound and reopen it. Just like a surface wound, if we pull off the band aid and pick at it, it never has the opportunity to heal. Our wounds may have lessons for us to learn as we look back upon them but God doesn’t want us to stay there picking at it. He wants us to see the disorders present and to fall into His grace and move into His loving embrace, where He will heal and bind up the wound. He cleanses our wounds with life giving water and His band aid is an everlasting covering of healing. Let Him nurture your wounds today as you open your heart to His healing love.
Take a journey with me into the woods. The morning air is brisk, yet calm and peaceful. As you embark into the woods, you aren’t sure where the journey will take you. You just know that God knows. This journey you are pursuing is not just an earthly journey through the woods, but a spiritual journey. Your mind is open to what God wants you to see, hear, smell, or touch. It is His tour. He is guiding you through the trails laid before you. As you enter the woods, everything looks brown with no room for color. Suddenly you hear a choir from Heaven, a delight to your ears, as the birds sing a beautiful tune to you and the creek beside you flows along enhancing the rhythm. As you walk along, the leaves beneath your feet crunch with each step and sprinkled throughout, you see signs of life, of hope, as you marvel at the tiny purple flowers along the path. There is life and beauty amongst the dullness and death. There are many knots along the way reminding you of the tangles and knots in your life. If only God could help you sort them and find the base of their entanglement. Further into the path, the creek is jammed and the flow of the water finds another route. The gentle peaceful flow begins to flow faster and more rapid when obstacles are in its way. Yet the creek continues to flow despite the changes. You finally reach a clearing, your destination to talk with God about all you have seen, to understand what He is telling you through all that you have seen, heard, smelt or touched. He looks at you and asks you, have you seen the beauty in the midst of the dullness, in the knots, and in the obstacles? You ponder His question and realize that all that you have seen are parallels to your life, the sorrow, lack of joyful moments, the entanglements and adversity. Then you realize that in the midst of this, you have also seen hope, beauty and peaceful surrender. At this very moment, you realize that the scenery before you was perfectly placed, just as the things in your life have been perfectly placed. You sit in the clearing for a moment and surrender your will, knowing that the fruit of what you have seen, heard, touched or smelt in the woods, despite the wilderness surrounding you, is a result of hope and life. At that moment, you feel peaceful, unafraid, and joyful because you are loved and you are not alone. Your journey bears fruit in the midst of all things, including adversity and sorrow. As you begin to journey out, you see a butterfly leading your way, a sign of your transformation from death to life.
What is an hour? It’s driving the kids to soccer practice, dance, gymnastics. It’s preparing a meal for my family. It’s working on the presentation for work. The day goes by with all these priorities and tasks at hand. Ever felt like you forgot something, forgot a high priority, Jesus? Just as he asked centuries ago, today he is asking, can you sit and watch one hour with me? How do we set aside time for Jesus in such a busy world, a world full of demands, full of activities? First we must have intent. Second we must declutter our day, and prioritize time with God, fix our eyes on Jesus. Perhaps this time is just sitting, absorbing nature or perhaps it is just gazing into the presence of Jesus found in the innocence of a child. I think if we don’t set aside some time, prioritize time with God in the business of our day, we become lost, longing for something that is missing. So, will you make time to spend one hour fixated on Jesus, the one who gave all for your salvation and paved the way for your path to Heaven?
Ever feel like God is playing hide n seek with you? He is hidden and you are seeking. Ever sit in prayer longing for God to speak to you, to answer your prayers, your cries for guidance? Or may be in a moment where you find the enemy, his temptation but you can’t find God to help you through the temptation. It’s like God is hidden. God is not hidden even when it appears as so. Look at the sun rise, the sun set, the trees, the flowers, the bees, the birds, etc. God is present all around us. He is anything but hidden, so why do we seek so fervently? Perhaps, we are not present to God? Perhaps it is our own desire we are seeking, our own satisfaction of comfort and gratification, having something tangible to know God is there. All the while, He is sitting there waiting, saying I’m here, seek my presence right next to you, within you, in this very moment. That’s where you will find me. I am not hidden, see me in the color of that flower, or in the ridges of the tree, or the designs in the clouds or even in the storm that you went through yesterday. Your inner heart is where you will really go to find me. Place your trust in me, I will never let you fall into the enemies grips, I will guide your journey if you just trust I’m with you, all around you. There is no need to seek when I am not hidden.
Thanks for joining this journey in seeking Jesus deeper in our hearts. This journey began when we opened our hearts and asked Him to reveal His presence in all things.
“Man was created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord and in this way to save his soul. The other things on Earth were created for man’s use, to help him reach the end for which he was created” – St Ignatius of Loyola