A couple of months ago Bradley and I created a butterfly garden. Soon after its completion, we found eleven Monarch caterpillars devouring our one milkweed plant. After eating all the leaves on FOUR milkweed plants (we made a few trips to our local nursery), we caught several caterpillars forming their chrysalises.
Then, one morning after Mass, God gifted us with the chance to watch four Monarchs emerge from their cocoons. A fifth one waited, its chrysalis still green and motionless hanging from a leaf on the only milkweed plant with a few remaining leaves. We watched the beginning of new life transfigured. Perfect. Beautiful. Then they flew away. Exactly the way it should be.
The experience reminded me of God’s perfection and His constant presence. That same day was my final night as catechist of a group of Confirmandi that I have been with for two years. My heart and prayers have been with this class. Together, we have worked to grow in faith and letting them go was akin to watching our butterflies leave–bittersweet. Now Confirmed, their own Pentecost imbuing them with the gifts of the holy Spirit, my students are Catholics by their choice. I began this journey with them by saying, “I want YOU to know why you are Catholic and I want YOU to choose Confirmation in the Catholic Church.”
God is good and all around us are miracles of His presence waiting to be seen. As I entered the classroom that night, I noticed that the number of students present was the exact same as the number of chrysalises Brad and I watched transform, five.
(Of the eleven original caterpillars, we found one butterfly one day earlier in our Florida room. It must have found privacy among the plants. The fifth one emerged the following day and others transformed outside in our garden. Now, after transplanting the three additional milkweed plants, a group of new baby Monarch caterpillars have arrived, and one chrysalis hangs on a fence post in our backyard.)