Did you know that every single caterpillar that ever creeped upon this earth was intended to become a butterfly or moth? Do you know why? Because each caterpillar had either butterflies or moths for parents. Amazing! They grow up to resemble those who created them.
Did you know that we also are to grow to resemble he who created us? Just as the caterpillar goes through several “instars” before reaching its “imago” stage (full adulthood, what it was “imagined” to be when it was created) so, too, must we.
In studying the Eastern Migrating Monarch Butterfly (Danaus Plexippus), I made the most fascinating discovery. Its life cycle is almost the perfect picture of our own spiritual growth and development.
A mother Monarch lays each of her eggs intentionally and only one at a time on a singular variety of foliage, a milkweed leaf, because that is the only food that her soon to hatch larva will be able to consume.
Locked inside each tiny deposited egg (which is about the size of a pinhead), is a microcosm of mystery and wonder. Microscopic cells, engines of change called imaginal discs will, over time, shape and sculpt the tiny worm-like creature into a beautiful, fully mature butterfly.
Like the Monarch, our heavenly father very intentionally and uniquely created each of us, purposefully placing us here at this time for his loving and good pleasure. At our Baptism, he gave us himself in the form of the Holy Spirit. Like the imaginal discs inside the caterpillar, by his grace, He will sculpt and change us to grow to look just like him, if we cooperate.
Why? Because he is our loving Father, who imagined what we would be like when he created us. No matter what the circumstances of your birth may have been, God the father created you for a relationship with him and loves you beyond all telling.
The Psalmist states it like this: “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands, when I complete them, still you are with me “ Psalm 139: 13-18.
How incredible to contemplate! Even before God made us, he mused about us, busily planning and writing down the story He was imagining for us! What beautiful dreams God has for you and me! He wants for us to share in his divine life. He wants for us to have a full and flourishing life like his own. He put this desire for something greater in our hearts and he fulfilled it. Jesus states: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it like this in 27: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.”
Amazing! You were made by love and for love. You were created to not only be like your heavenly Father, but to be with him, fully alive!
May this incredible truth, sink deep into your heart and begin to transform you as you renew your mind to it daily. Because like the tiny, intentionally created and purposefully placed Monarch butterfly egg, God has big dreams for you. Hang on and get ready, because you were born to soar!
This is part one of a six-part series.