Dear Chosen Soul,
Recently, when I was working in the garden, I noticed a pretty butterfly flying around my plants. It had pale, yellow spots on its wings and a dark, orange tail. “Uncommon, yet attractive.”, I thought. I marveled at it and was happy that I managed to spot one so near to me!
A week after, I noticed that the leaves of my plants were plagued with holes. I looked around some more and saw caterpillars on my saplings and plants that had just sprouted 2 days before! The freshest and youngest leaves!! Gosh, I was annoyed and broken hearted, because I did not expect that a butterfly would bring so much harm to my plants.
Why did I not think of that??
It totally didn’t even cross my mind. I was too busy marveling at the attractiveness of the butterfly that I forgot what it could possibly bring as well… Eggs!!
Butterfly eggs are really small, and, usually, they are laid on the underside of a leaf. At times, they can also be found on the stem or on top of the leaf. These small, pale, yellow eggs, are a huge nuisance when hatched into a caterpillar. They also leave the leaves of the plant very “holey”.
It dawned on me one day as I was sitting in adoration, that our Faith is similar.
Our Faith is constantly growing, like a plant! The younger the plant, the more evidently we see its growth. Seed sprouting out from the soil, taller sprout, more leaves.. all very exciting!
As it grows and matures, we see lesser obvious changes to the plant. Until flowers and fruits appear, the plant remains alive, but we are left wondering if it is ‘growing’ and things seem a little boring. Sometimes, we even worry if it is alive when leaves start to fall!
Pests and insects (even pretty ones) are attracted to plants. Their fragrance and color draws them close. As a plant grows and matures, fruits and flowers begin to appear. Great care is needed to prevent other insects and pests, and even animals (like birds), from attacking the plant and its fruits.
Similarly, in the spiritual life, as our Faith grows, we need to protect it, like a farmer protects the harvest, like a gardener protects his garden.
Pests come in all shapes and sizes. They are easily spotted. Things that harm our Faith are obvious to us – lying, stealing, downloading inappropriate music or videos online, killing someone, etc.
But sometimes even the seemingly “good” and “harmless” things like the attractive and beautiful butterfly, can damage the plant. Likewise, seemingly “good” and “harmless” things like music, friends, books, and even movies can be harmful to our growing soul.
We need, at all times, to be vigilant of the things that can cause detriment to our souls, even if they seem harmless.
St. Louis de Montfort writes aptly in The Secret of Mary on how best to allow Mary, Our Mother, to live and reign in our lives to help us.
“Whatever is likely to choke the tree or in the course of time prevent its yielding fruit, such as thorns and thistles, must be cut away and rooted out. This means that by self-denial and self- discipline you must sedulously cut short and even give up all empty pleasures and useless dealings with other creatures. In other words, you must crucify the flesh, keep a guard over the tongue, and mortify the bodily senses.
You must guard against grubs doing harm to the tree. These parasites are love of self and love of comfort, and they eat away the green foliage of the Tree and frustrate the fair hope it offered of yielding good fruit; for love of self is incompatible with love of Mary.
You must not allow this tree to be damaged by destructive animals, that is, by sins, for they may cause its death simply by their contact. They must not be allowed even to breathe upon the Tree, because their mere breath, that is, venial sins, which are most dangerous when we do not trouble ourselves about them.
It is also necessary to water this Tree regularly with your Communions, Masses and other public and private prayers. Otherwise it will not continue bearing fruit.”
May Our Blessed Mother help us persevere and remain vigilant, as we entrust our spiritual growth to her care!!