Spirit Daily

A Symbol Of Easter, Claims Of Unusual Butterfly Come From Around The Globe

By Michael H. Brown

Male Karner Blue Many are the reports of a strange blue butterfly that seems to arrive at propitious or otherwise significant moments. At the Church-approved site of Betania in Venezuela are constant claims of an unusually large, nearly luminous blue butterfly that wings from the site's Lourdes grotto at the very moment of an apparition. Its strange circling of the crowds has been noted on many occasions by hundreds of witnesses -- not only during apparitions, but also during the liturgy.

Yes, there are blue butterflies in Venezuela, as well as many other parts of the world -- but attention is drawn to the timing and unusual movement, as well as the fact that some say they have seen it simply disappear into thin air.

The same has been reported in Massachusetts to a nun who was to write a book about Betania and on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje during discussion of the butterfly itself!

When it comes, it seems to come as a sign -- a punctuation point.

As writer Joan Wester Anderson of Chicago informs us, it is also one of the most beloved symbols of Easter -- a universal  sign of change and metamorphosis.

"Like Jesus Himself, there is death, and then new life!" writes Joan, recounting what happened to one woman. "As she ran errands with her children one spring day, Kaylyn Dunne was thinking about this. She had just returned from a weekend retreat that used the butterfly as its theme. The retreat had aroused her desire for a deeper spiritual life, yet worried her too, because she had been asked to be chairperson of the next retreat. Kaylyn had never been chairperson of anything, and she felt quite inadequate. With her already crowded schedule and a chronically ill son to care for, was God really calling her to do this? She needed a sign...

"'Mom, look!' her son suddenly exclaimed from the back seat. Kaylyn almost hit the brakes. Fluttering in front of her inside the car, was a huge monarch butterfly. It was a vivid yellow, her favorite color. With the car moving at 45 miles per hour and the windows open barely a crack, how had it gotten in?

"The winged visitor quivered around delicately, then landed like a little puff on the dashboard. Awed, the children stared at it. 'It must be frightened,' Kaylyn told them. 'Open the windows, and let it fly out.' They did, but despite the breeze, the butterfly stayed.

"Kaylyn pulled into the library parking lot. 'Let's leave the windows down while we're gone,' she suggested. But when they returned to the car, the monarch was still sitting on the dashboard, as if awaiting them. Bemused, Kaylyn  finished the errands, drove home, opened the car doors, went into the house with her enthralled children, and waited. Eventually the butterfly leisurely emerged, circled the house in a kind of embrace, and flew off.

"'I got to thinking of the timeliness of its arrival, right after I had prayed,'" Kaylyn says, Did God intend it as a sign that He was  near? That He had plans for her to move more fully into life, to shed her cocoon and spread her wings? Kaylyn accepted the chairperson job, and it became her path to a richer spiritual life.

"Since that day, butterflies seem to visit Kaylyn often, especially when she needs encouragement. One of the best encounters came when a friend held a prayer service in her living room for Kaylyn's son. One of the group pointed to the front window and exclaimed, "Look outside!" Everyone did. Tapping gently against the glass was a brown butterfly. Just a coincidence? Perhaps. But it came in the middle of a snowstorm. Flowers, rainbows, butterflies...nature's tender treasures. Perhaps God uses them to bridge the barriers between heaven and earth, to let us know that as He watches the sparrow He surely watches us.

"A blessed Easter - and new life! to each of you!"

Easter 2004

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