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The Parable of the Butterfly

We are caterpillars. We go through this earthly life wingless and immature. Some of us may think we are better or more beautiful than the others, but we are not. We hunger, but like Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar we eat junk on the 6th day until it hurts, then figure out we are made for something more. On the seventh day we find that nice big green leaf and feel much better! A naive observer might see the cocoon and think it is the death of the caterpillar, and in some way it is, a death to the old self. However, it is not a tomb, but more like a womb. The chrysalis is not death, but maturation. An enthralling transformation to a new self. Not only are butterflies much more beautiful and graceful than caterpillars, but they can fly!

Death is not the end. (Do not be afraid of the cocoon!) We are made to soar in the heavens. The Catholic Church uses in its tradition the image or icon of a butterfly to symbolize eternal life. It is Christ’s love, a love that cannot be surpassed in its enormity, that transforms us. Christ is Love. Love transforms us.

Sunset Moth of Madagascar: The World’s Most Beautiful Insect. Ironic that it is Sunset?

All people have hope of heaven. If someone lived in a self-sacrificing way, they lived imitating Christ whether they called themselves Christian or not. When they loved generously they let God in, they let Good in. The opposite of love is selfishness. Sin is self-serving. I believe there are some people that are so “wrapped up in themselves” that when they die, they don’t desire to go beyond themselves with Christ. Could hell be a great loneliness? A door locked from the inside, as C.S. Lewis said?

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, is the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia. There is a soldier in heaven that did not know Jesus. He didn’t know how he got to heaven never acknowledging Jesus. But the soldier is told in effect (by Jesus) that you sought and loved the truth, and I am the Truth. Therefore, when you championed Truth you championed Me. Edith Stein aka St. Teresa Benedicta also believed this as she’s quoted, “When you seek truth, you seek God whether you know it or not.” In John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” The same goes for Love, Beauty, and Goodness. God is Love, God is Goodness. God is Beauty.  All of them simultaneously. Therefore, if it isn’t true it can’t be beautiful, it can’t be love, and it can’t be good.

“Do not accept anything as love which lacks truth”

~ St. Teresa Benedicta

I often share the parable of the butterfly in sympathy cards. Well, a shortened version. I think it is comforting to those that have lost a loved one. Because they knew their love so intimately. It seems in 2020 there have been so many that have passed away. I don’t personally know anyone that has died from the coronavirus this year; but many other things: heart attacks, cancer, car accidents. One such was my friend Catherine. We were friends from my year in Houston at the Catholic Worker. In the live-streamed-eulogy her brother said (paraphrased) that in a world obsessed with consumption, Catherine was a sower, planting seeds, nourishing and helping others grow. Beautiful! Peter Maurin co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement said instead of being a go-getter, be a go-giver. I always loved that idea and let it propel me into my own volunteer work throughout the years. Catherine was generosity embodied; she was definitely not wrapped up in herself or overly concerned with earthly material goods. I have no doubt she “has her wings,” so to speak and is enjoying what we Catholics call the beatific vision.  

As we set goals for ourselves, let us try to be go-givers instead of go-getters. May our goals be focused on transforming our lives and others’ with Love.

Beaten Black and Blue

Ever hear the Oldies song “The Wanderer?” The lyrics go, “I’m a wanderer, I’m a wanderer. I roam around around around…” For me, I’m a ponderer, and thoughts go around around and around in my head. And if they go around enough, I take it as a hint I should blog!

It is the Year 2020, I capitalize “year” because it will go down in history. The major events include a particularly polarizing election year, a coronavirus pandemic (COVID 19), and a wide spread Black Lives Matter movement that has sparked non-violent and violent protests with goals to usurp the police and the nuclear family.

In a typical election cycle the country divides itself Red and Blue. Anyone else forget which color is which? In 1976, NBC used red for Democrats taking a nod from England perhaps who also used Red for the more liberal party, and blue for the conservatives. They lit up the map red and blue while the votes rolled in for Carter and Ford respectively. In 2000, The New York Times (and USA Today) led the way of switching the colors, according to them because Republican and Red both start with’ R.’ Red has a history of being associated with revolution and change including Communism. But America is of course red, white, AND blue. So, we all hope that when the election is over, we can all remember that we are in this together. Sounds good in theory, but it seems to be happening less and less. Bad news sells better, and it seems the mainstream media (MSM) doesn’t go out of its way to report the good things going on in this country, especially when it comes to President Trump. So Republicans become tired and skeptical of the MSM and then when news that is important to our health come around there is little trust left.

The Devil divides. God unites. I remember learning this truth long ago. The division that has been created between Black Lives Matter and the police reeks of evil. The devil is using this to literally beat us black and blue. Black lives do matter, seems like most people can agree to that?! BUT sadly, Black Lives Matter is more than just a statement it is a group with an extreme agenda including defunding the police and enucleating the family. To enucleate the eye, is to completely remove the globe or eyeball. The BLM “vision” to destroy the nuclear family, sounds more like blindness to me than vision. But don’t take my word for it.

Here is a 14 min interview Raymond Arroyo did with Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality Niger Innis that I found very helpful:

The 30 sec summary is that while many well-meaning people want to protest racism and police brutality the Black Lives Matter movement does not perhaps have the “family values” of most Americans. Here is a part of the BLM manifesto directly from their webpage:  

https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe

In light of this news, is it a good idea for the NBA to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on courts in Orlando? Marcellus Wiley answers that question on the FOX Sports 1 June 30th episode of “Speak for Yourself” in this MUST WATCH 3 min video segment.

Is there room for differing opinions?

The devil knows your name and calls you by your sin. Christ knows your sin and calls you by your name. The BLM movement has inspired many people to turn on each other calling others “racist.” Bullying people to act and agree or else you are labeled as “part of the problem.” I agree with the sentiments Raymond Arroyo explores through his journalism on The World Over.

Raymond Arroyo had another great interview (10 min) with Pastor and Attorney Marc Little:

 Is this a systemic/corporate sin or a personal sin? Either way, derogatory blanket statements telling people “what they are” will never solve problems. It just stirs up more hate. What is the answer to all this division? Subsidiarity and the Prayer of St. Francis. The people closest to a problem are the best people to solve the problem (subsidiarity). If your neighbor has a problem, YOU may be the one to help solve it! If your town has a problem, YOU may be called to help solve it! Your office, your household, you have a sphere of influence. My 10-year-old daughter told me she is not a leader. I told her she is, by her example. When the teacher wants the class to be quiet and get to work, when she is quiet and gets to work-she is a leader! Whether the problem is hunger, fatherlessness, racism, or pollution. You can be a leader too. I agree with Pastor Marc, we have to look at our hearts, but that doesn’t mean we are all going to see the sin of racism.

 The police officers I know have big hearts.  Hearts to serve the community, to help people on the worst day of their life, and to protect even when the cost is high. Blue lives matter. When I see how these riots have raged in anger and fire taking lives like David Dorn’s and so many businesses, I know the devil is having a heyday. Per Pastor Marc Little, the BLM reaction is akin to stubbing a toe and stabbing someone. He means not to minimize the death of George Floyd, but to give due attention to the unproductive havoc and many deaths these riots have produced. We can only wonder how much longer God will permit it.

Sink or swell? As a parent, there are many little moments that make your heart swell. To see your kids show love and affection to each other just makes your heart sing. When an older child reads to a younger one or they offer to help a sibling with a chore. It is so refreshing! And I feel like such a good mom! Now, the worst feeling is when you overhear your children being nasty to each other. Calling each other hurtful names, one overreacting to an accident with violence, the screaming and tears that surround what always boils down to selfish behavior by one or both parties. It makes your heart sink and sometimes your blood boil in frustration. If you’re not a parent you may see, but with my mother’s heart I can feel the pain in an allegorical sense that God feels seeing his children tear at each other the way we do. The near constant Us vs Them. It makes my heart heavy sometimes to be on social media and I learned long ago you cannot read the online comments- too much vitriol! I don’t think that was what Jesus meant when he said for us to be like children! Respect, if not love, must reign in all hearts! Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, ….all  the colors, red, blue, black, white, and rainbow.

The Prayer of St. Francis was prescribed to me as a daily companion recently by our priest for a week. So, I printed it off and the kids said it too. What a treasure to find again! Written in St. Francis’ spirit of peace (not division!) It is a prayer for humility among other admirable things! The last pondering going around and around in my head is about masks. Don’t let the masks divide us! It is not Us vs Them, “seek to understand” and remember we all have so much more in common than what separates us. We are all on the same team, part of the same human race.