The Legend of the Butterfly

by Lucy Portzer, friend of MH Roanoke

Now you may think that the caterpillar was always changed into a butterfly, but this is not so.

When the world was created, the caterpillar was just a small fuzzy insect; there were no such things as cocoons or butterflies. And so it was for thousands of years. Then, at one point, everything changed, and it all happened with one caterpillar.

At first, like every other caterpillar, he spent his days crawling up trees, eating leaves, and trying to stay away from people. He was afraid of being stepped on.

Then one evening, as he was crawling through a garden, he saw four men. He recognized one, who had come there often.

This man was different from other people. Many times, the caterpillar had witnessed his deep and gentle love, which he had shown to even the smallest of creatures.

As the caterpillar watched, he saw the man fall to his knees as if in agony. Then the caterpillar heard the man speak. This time it was different; the words were broken. Then tears and drops of blood fell from the man’s face.

The caterpillar was so moved with pity that he felt a great desire to comfort the man. He began to crawl closer. He heard the man say, “Can you not watch one hour with me?”

The small heart of the caterpillar was enlarged with grief. He tried to crawl faster, to show the compassion and love he so felt for this man.

But just as he got within a few yards of him, he heard an awful commotion. Several more men had come, and one asked for Jesus of Nazareth.

Before the caterpillar knew what was happening, the men all started to move away, and they were taking the man with them.

So the caterpillar followed as fast as his little legs would go. It took him the rest of the night, and when he could no longer see the man, he thought he had lost him forever. But he kept on going, on and on, and suddenly the next day, he caught sight of him again.

This time, the man was red with blood, and on his head was a crown of thorns. The little caterpillar was filled with rage.

Then a renewed desire to show love and compassion filled him. Though he was exhausted, he tried to hurry.

As he neared, some men placed a heavy wooden cross on the man’s shoulders, and they forced him to carry it up a steep hill.

Filled with indignation, the little caterpillar followed. As his exhaustion grew, many times, he almost turned back. Then he would come upon a drop of blood and that would spur him on.

As he neared the top of the hill, he looked up and saw three crosses, each one with a man hanging on it. He crawled as fast as he could. As he reached the foot of the cross in the center, he heard the man call out, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

Then he saw the body of the man slump.

Grief so filled his little heart that it could take no more. It burst, leaving the tiny fuzzy body dead at the foot of the cross.

As God the Father looked at his Son, he caught sight of the little fuzzy body at the foot of his Son’s cross. He was moved and made a promise:

“Because of your love and faithfulness in following my Son and dying with him, so shall you rise with him.”

The lifeless body of the man was pierced with a spear, and blood and water poured out. A small drop fell on the caterpillar and formed a protective bubble around him.

On the third day after the caterpillar’s death, the sun began to shine, the bubble burst open, and out stepped the caterpillar. But he no longer looked like a caterpillar. His legs were long and slender, and instead of a fuzzy body, he had a smooth one with a great pair of wings extending from it.

He flapped them a few times, then decided to try them out. Up he soared, exalting in a new feeling, a feeling of joy and freedom.

The caterpillar wished he could have had these wings a few days ago. Of course, he could not have changed what happened, but perhaps he could have offered some comfort, no matter how small.

He flew near an opened tomb. Suddenly, his heart skipped a beat. A man was standing at the entrance. It was that same gentle man, alive again!

The butterfly circled once and lighted on the man’s shoulder. The caterpillar’s desire to show love was fulfilled.

The man turned his head and smiled a beautiful understanding smile. And the butterfly’s heart swelled with a joy he had never known before.

Ever since that day, caterpillars are turned into butterflies, living symbols of the Risen Christ.