The Butterfly and the Cross

When reflecting upon a short video I watched on the transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly, I was struck by an interesting fact: the caterpillar digests itself and turns into ooze.

As a caterpillar hangs from a branch entering into its next life phase, its exterior hardens, transforming into the familiar cocoon.  However, its interior does the opposite.  For a period of days, the creature that was once a caterpillar turns into goo with its digestive enzymes breaking down its body.  Miraculously, the pile of ooze encased inside the cocoon will transform into a beautiful butterfly.

In this process, I see a reflection of our transformation from lowly creatures crawling about in hardships and sin to flying creatures of beauty.  I’m sure thousands of Christians have written about this parallel.  But the thing that caught my interest was the pile of goo.

That pile of goo represents everything that the caterpillar had been through and assimilated into itself during its short life.  When it becomes a butterfly, the goo is not removed with something else taking its place, but rather the goo is the very material used to transform the lowly caterpillar into a butterfly.

I see the same with us.  All our lives we accumulate these sinful passions, terrible experiences, abusive situations, anger and hate: in a word, a big sticky pile of goo that seems to have no redemptive value. Continue reading The Butterfly and the Cross

The Cross, The Suffering, and The Glory

Holy Friday iconIf any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34

These well known words by Christ are true for every Christian in every generation. Those who suffer for God take up their cross and follow Him. In the New Testament we are endlessly reminded that there is no way to the Kingdom of Heaven without suffering. To live the Christian life is to give up our ideas of comfort, security, and self-will in order to accept hardships, tribulations, and a cross.

The desert father, St. Barsanuphius, puts it so succinctly:

Pass over from the world, and henceforth mount the Cross, be lifted from the earth. Continue reading The Cross, The Suffering, and The Glory