Paul says that our spiritual formation is as radical as dying and being recreated. I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on what this means. Do you know what’s going on in a cacoon? Death. Yes, scientists tell us that transformation in the insect world (as in our spiritual life) begins with death—the caterpillar’s tissues have to be broken down because they won’t work for the butterfly and then those resources are used to form new organs…the caterpillars cells are actually digested into a kind of biological soup and then those resources are recycled to become the pathway to a whole new, different kind of life. That’s what’s going on in the cocoon. When the butterfly emerges, it is a truly new creature with a new heart, new brain structure, new antennae, new eyes, new connections between the brain, eyes and antennae; new legs, and new digestive system that nourishes the butterfly on nectar instead of leaves. This process is not a minor mutation but a massive, major renovation of every aspect of the creature, changing it from a plant-eating bug that crawls on its belly from leaf to leaf, to a beautiful Monarch soaring across the United States. What a window for us into the revolutionary changes that take place during the spiritual process of our spiritual transformation. It’s worth reflecting on.
As we engage in Christian devotional practices, we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit as he orchestrates this mysterious and wondrous process of dying to ourselves and being raised to new life.