On Ash Wednesday, We enter into the season of Lent. A season when God desires to restore our relationship with him. It is a period of transformation and conversion. This season begins our 40 days’ journey of not being comfortable but preparing us to receive new life in Christ as we journey with him through his passion, death, and resurrection.
We are entering a moment of grace when God invites us to transform, and remain open to His grace. Sister Susan once shared an interesting story when she observed a caterpillar transform into a beautiful butterfly in her bedroom. She said. One day I found a caterpillar in my room. I decided to leave it and observed it as it began changing from a caterpillar into a pupa encased in a protective covering. It was hidden inside its cocoon. I watched it every day, morning and evening. I waited to see how it comes out of its cocoon. Finally, one day I observed the cocoon opening, and what emerged out of it was amazing! I saw a nice-looking butterfly! It looked nothing like the original caterpillar that went into the cocoon. Instead, it was a lovely, elegant, vibrant butterfly. With gorgeous colors. We always see lovely butterflies and even admire their coulors. But, the metamorphosis is not only some beautiful physical transformation but also inner change.
On ash Wednesday, we enter into our cocoons as we receive the ashes on our foreheads. In our cocoons, we go through the caterpillar experience. The Lord offers us a chance to make an inner journey to grow in our interior life. Thomas Merton once said, “interior life is an important element in our life.” Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, a Dominican priest, gives us the dynamics of our interior spiritual life as the one thing necessary, as referred to by Jesus when speaking with Martha and Mary.
We enter into our cocoons to make up our minds to grow closer to God through our daily prayer, mortification, and controlling our intellect. Our goal should be, to work towards coming out of our cocoons on Easter when we have experienced a conversion of heart as Prophet Joel invites us. “Return to God with all your hearts” (Joel 2:12). We can do this in our little ways and grow in friendship with the Lord and with one another. When we give our lives to God, His Spirit transforms us gradually and we become the persons He intends us to be.
May God’s longing to restore us to his image be realised as we keep listening to his voice each day. With great trust in His grace to transform us, let us have the willingness to enter onto this Lenten season, ready to shed our former ways of living and grow in our interior life. May we break out of our cocoons on Easter Sunday ready to embrace the new life that God expects us to be, transformed with greater freedom, greater joy, and deeper desires for love and service.
Maria Gorreth Nabulya RSCJ