I can have all the right beliefs; I can do all the right things as dictated by my church, but if I don’t know what God is saying to me in this moment and the next, I am nowhere in my faith. If I don’t allow God in to teach me directly what He wants me to learn, I will stay in that safe cocoon of belief where I don’t have to change. The trouble with staying in that cocoon and not growing into the next stage of life is that the cocoon becomes the thing that kills life in me.
God is calling us from that larvae stage of the chrysalis—earth-bound and slow and stuck in a nowhere place to become a butterfly which is light and free and beautiful and no longer earth-bound.
It is amazing to think of what is happening in that cocoon to the caterpillar. It has a few tiny eyes, stubby legs and very short antennae when it weaves the cocoon. Special cells in the larva begin to grow rapidly, becoming legs, wings, eyes, antennae and other parts of the adult butterfly. When it is ready to immerge from the cocoon the wings are visible to the beholder. Now its long legs, long antennae and compound eyes are ready to do their jobs—to fly, to mate and lay eggs, and to feed on nectar from flowers. Although some species need no food at all.
A caterpillar’s egg is born with discs that, in the cocoon will grow and become the wings, antenna, long legs, etc. of the adult butterfly. They might only have a few cells in the egg, but each disc might grow to more than 50,000 cells in the adult butterfly. The traits that make it a caterpillar are dissolved in the cocoon. And so the metamorphosis goes. [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/caterpillar-butterfly-metamorphosis-explainer/]
Our own metamorphosis begins with our ability to hear God’s “gentle whisper” or “still, small voice” within us. He wants to walk us through all the changes that have to be made in us before we can fully represent God in this world. So, step by step His voice would lead us from belonging to the world and its ways to belonging to God’s. Then we can “fly” and attract attention from others to the presence of God within us just by being who we are. Then we are equipped with all that we need to carry out His work, to be who we were created to be. I have always loved Francis of Assisi’s instructions to the monks: “Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.” [see St. Francis of Assisi quotes at bing.com]
Like the discs in the egg of the future caterpillar, we are born with certain potentialities, born of the Spirit of God which will form the fully human being as we allow God to transform us into the people He created us to be. The potential in us for full life will never be activated, if we don’t rest in God’s arms and follow wherever He takes us.
We will also need to dissolve the “cells” of our former lives and attachments to the world and to bring forward the inborn “discs” that hold the full potential of us as a human being. Like the caterpillar, we will have to shed what is no longer needed or relevant to our lives.
We could think of this stage of growth as the absorbing of the ego into the soul’s realm, where the Holy Spirit dwells within us. The ego is still necessary, but it is no longer determinative. It no longer needs to call attention to itself or to defend itself or to fear anything. God is the center of the soul and of all that the person is. And we, with our lives, express our living in God’s realm through everything that we do and say.
What we become is an integrated person: what we express in the world is also our inner state. No more presenting a “prettied-up” face to the world covering our own fear and anger, suffering and failings. We stand before God naked, with all of who we are exposed, with love of our whole selves for God. Then, thanks to God’s healing and transforming us, we grow to be the same on the inside as the outside. Our inner being is the same as we present to the world. Then we are truly ready to promote the kingdom of God here on this earth. No more hidden agendas. No more hiding what we think. No more holding onto, but covering, any resentment or judgment within us. We are free to be exactly who we are: congruent, integrated, dedicated to God, compassionate, truthful, merciful and much more.
Questions to ponder over the week: Where do I see myself—in the larva stage of incorporating all the “nutrition” I can, the cocoon stage of transformation or the fully adult butterfly stage? What “nutrition” would I have to take in to enter the cocoon phase? What would I have to let go of and what would need to be transformed in me in the cocoon stage? When will I be free to “fly” unrestrained, just as I was created to be, in God himself?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are lead by God into the stage where we will gain the most in our journey into God’s world. May we allow God to heal and transform us so that in all that we do we can truly exhibit who God is and what he is offering to others through us. May we be free as butterflies to bring God’s love to everyone we meet.
Check out the archives of my blog going back to 2011 on this page.