Today’s Thoughts: I ran across a story a few years ago day about a boy who stumbles across a butterfly trying to emerge from the cocoon. The boy watches the butterfly struggle. At one point the butterfly seems stuck. Concerned that the butterfly might be in trouble the boy runs into the house and gets a small knife from the kitchen and returns and carefully cuts away the cocoon. The butterfly’s body was swollen, and its wings were all shriveled. The boy waited and watched, he expected at any moment the wings would begin to expand and the butterfly would take flight. But it never happened.
Why, because a butterfly needs to struggle through the restrictive cocoon because the struggle forces fluid into the wings, giving them stability and strength so that the butterfly is ready to fly. The boy did not realize that the butterfly's freedom and flight are only possible because of the struggle and hardship it must undergo!
This little story made a lot of sense to me considering this season of Advent and our journey of faith. We are all very much aware of the pitfalls of getting things easily in life. When we do not have to work for something while the initial feeling is good it often wears off quickly and has less meaning in our life. When we truly work for something it stays with us. When struggle, difficulty and work is involved it becomes a source of strength we draw upon at other moments. It becomes part of our story of life.
The great prophets like John the Baptist and Zephaniah, the great apostles like Paul understood the need to struggle, to work, to build a life. Their messages today talk about hope and life but also the struggle that is needed to maintain hope and life in the face of our everyday world. They tell us it is not easy but possible. The only way we are be able to Hope in God's Promises, to Rejoice in God's Love is to work, to struggle, to live our relationship with God. It is never easy. There are always challenges, struggles, expectations, disappointments, actions of the world that make no sense or have no meaning, but God is still with us. Entering the struggle to make the presence of God known will give us stability and strength so that we can live the gift of this life and proclaim good news!
Remember as Emily Dickinson wrote, "hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings a tune without the words and never stop at all." Perhaps at no other time do we need to be like the butterfly and put everything into the living of life so that we can release the beautiful gift of hope to a saddened and struggling world. It will not be easy, but we have the Spirit in our souls that will never stop singing!
Have a blessed Sunday everyone and don’t forget to give God a little time today!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...