Arrrrrrriba! The little butterfly that hatched on my dining room table is now well on her way to Mexico! What a journey she will be on for the next several weeks. We will not see her again, but her life is far from over.
Early in the spring, when the sun first begins to warm the Earth, the sweet smelling fir trees growing high in the Mexican mountains will begin to come alive with the sound of millions of fluttering wings. The Monarch butterflies, which have migrated all the way from the north eastern U.S. and Canada will have flown south to find their safe haven amongst the trees, embraced by their large sheltering branches, and will then awaken at the proper time from their long winter’s nap.
These are not just any butterflies—these are the fourth-generation, Danaus Plexippus, the anomalies of nature. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who lived only four to six weeks, these will live up to nine months, even though they are genetically identical to their predecessors. This long lifespan allows them to do what would appear to be impossible.
Not only have they made the 1,500-mile flight in just their lifetime, they will now take to the skies once again and head back north! These will be the creatures that make the first leg of the journey back towards Canada.
Once they awaken, soaring northward, they will live an additional four to six weeks and they will behave just like the rest of their species. At this time they will be in need of only two things: food and a mate.
They can now drink a variety of flower nectar, but after finding a mate, they are diligently searching for milkweed leaves as these will be where they lovingly and intentionally deposit their eggs. These hatchling caterpillars will go through the normal life cycle of a butterfly, instinctively heading northward upon maturity.
We, too, are like the Monarch in that we are made to pass along the life we have received from God, spreading his love far and wide.
We are told to “go and make disciples”—“bear fruit.” This could seem daunting, if it were not for the grace of God. Our Lord can inspire and enable us to do far beyond what we could ever think to do on our own, things we might deem impossible.
The butterfly so joyfully goes from flower to flower, naturally pollinating each and every one. It’s not hard work, it just comes naturally.
Pope Francis in “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) states this: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew...I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy....”
We give out from that which we receive, that which fills us. Pope Francis states: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.”
Are you full of joy? If not, perhaps you are in need of an invigorating, refilling encounter with Jesus? If so, this simple prayer may express the desire of your heart:
“Jesus I need a fresh encounter with You! Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and with this bring me your joy. By Your grace, I throw open the doors of my heart to You now. Please take my burdens and worries and give to me Yourself! Please, dear Lord, come and fill me to overflowing so that I may spread Your joy to all I meet! Thank You, Lord! Amen.”
And then pause, sitting in Jesus' loving light and presence, picturing Him filling you from the tip of your toes to the top of your head with Himself—and smiling.
Pope Francis also writes that we do not need to impose the Gospel on others, we can simply propose it in a loving and natural way. As we encounter and interact with those along our path we can invite them to lunch, just to get to know them, if the door is opened—we can genuinely and from the heart, tell them our faith story (what difference faith in God has made in your life), then perhaps invite them to Church. People need this joyful encouragement, it’s called accompaniment and it builds community and from it much fruit grows.
Or, if these blogs have inspired you, perhaps you would like to read the book and have a Born to Soar group at your Church or in your home. It’s easy! Simply buy the book (https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/born-to-soar-unleashing-gods-word-in-your-life) and then click on to view the videos (https://vimeo.com/channels/b2s). You can watch one each week and discuss what you have learned. There is a place in the book each day for you to “journal” and record your thoughts. And it is always much nicer to SOAR in a group than it is to go it alone!
Let me know how it goes. I would love to come and speak to your group if you get inspired to do a retreat day or even to kick off your group. Contact me here: http://www.melissaovermyer.com/contact-me
May you each and every day, have a joyful encounter with Jesus and then share the joy with all you meet.
Spread the love. And remember, don’t settle for creeping around, being earthbound in your ways and thinking. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind to God’s truth and love! Why?
Because you... were BORN TO SOAR!
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Wow! I feel so inadequate to make disciples! But You don’t say, “If I feel like it!” You say, “GO!” So, just like the Monarch butterfly, I will GO! Not knowing what I will encounter. I will GO, not knowing the weather or what will be out there to greet me. I will GO, not knowing if I will get blown off course, but in faith, journeying forward, knowing that You will watch over me and use all for good. I will GO, not feeling that I know enough, but sharing my own faith journey, hopefully inspiring others on theirs. Lord, here I am. Take me, fill me, inspire me, use me, and send me out soaring by Your grace! Please come and be the wind in my wings--all for Your great glory.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.