Incredible! It is all true! The Monarch caterpillar we found after Mass three weeks ago (pictured) did exactly as I expected. It went through all of the appropriate stages of the life cycle that a Monarch should, but funnily enough, it all happened so quickly and it caught me by surprise! It is one thing to read about something in a book and another thing altogether to experience it first hand.
Have you ever found that to be true? Any mother can attest--reading about having a baby and actually having a baby are NOT the same thing! Words cannot accurately describe miracles. Experiencing what only God can do is somewhat overwhelming and yet it is all around us everyday.
My prayer is that as you read this, the Lord will open the eyes of your heart to the wonder of Himself and what He may be trying to transform, even today, in your own life. That the truths written here will go from head knowledge to actual lived experiences...
In only four to six days after being deposited on a milkweed leaf, a Monarch caterpillar hatches from its shell. It is very, very hungry!
What it eats is of utmost importance. It can only eat on one thing, milkweed. And what is so mind-boggling about that, is this: milkweed is poisonous to most of the caterpillar’s predators.
That means that as the caterpillar feasts on crunchy milkweed leaves, it is not only becoming bigger and fatter, it is actually becoming impervious to its enemies as well.
Did you know that we, too, have a God-given hunger inside of us? The world has done its best to numb us to the rumblings in our souls, but, try as we may, we just can’t find that One thing that will truly satisfy.
We have experimented with all kinds of things to try to stop the gnawing, attempting to fill the empty spot inside. We have gone to extreme lengths: excessive shopping, exercising, working, educating, volunteering, drinking, drugging, consuming, consuming, consuming—you name it, we’ve done it. But the hunger just does not go away. Why?
Because there is only One food that will satisfy our souls, make us grow properly, and stop the hunger pains. The most amazing thing is this: it, too, makes us impervious to our enemies, the thieves that come to rob us of a blessed life— namely dissatisfaction, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and the like. When we finally start eating healthy, we, too, become strong and unstoppable.
Want to know what the much longed for soul food is? It’s our bread from Heaven—Jesus. When we intentionally take Him in—body and blood, soul and divinity—through the Eucharist, then, by God’s grace, the aching subsides. When we prayerfully read His word, which is Jesus Himself on every page, our eyes are once again opened by grace and our hearts set ablaze with an all new feeling of satisfaction.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this: “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life" (1324).
And in 103-104 it states: “For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's word and Christ's body.
In sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, ‘but as what it really is, the word of God.
‘In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.’”
Brilliant! God speaks to us and feeds us . . . Himself—true perfect food.
But because God is mindful that we are “but dust” (Psalm 103), and often make poor choices about what we feast upon, in His great loving kindness, God has made a way for us to rid ourselves of poisonous soul toxins.
We are able to receive this “juice cleanse” of the soul each time we engage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Beautifully, it not only destroys the toxins, it brings on the graces!
The CCC states this: “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship” (1468).
Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation “is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation.” Indeed, the sacrament of Reconciliation brings about a true "spiritual resurrection," restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.
Are you hungry? Feast upon the only One who can bring you true life.
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’” John 6:35
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6
Binged on a tasty temptation? Go to Reconciliation and be restored to the fullness of life and health, God, himself.
“Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long...Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress.” Psalm 32:3, 5, 6
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us.” Psalm 103:12
And then—by God’s grace, continue to embrace your transformation, because you were BORN TO SOAR!
I confess, perhaps in my deepest core I “hunger and thirst for righteousness” but in reality, I don’t give it that much thought in my everyday life. I am guilty of doing my own thing and trying to make my life work in the same ways I see others trying to make their life work. I am guilty of pushing You aside in favor of the world. But You God, offer a much better way--You offer me Yourself! Lord, please transform my mind and heart. Please give me a taste of You and Your sweet love and goodness so that I can see that nothing in this world will truly satisfy me. I need Your grace Lord. Open my eyes and heart to You and fill Me, even now I pray.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.