From the beginning of time, human beings in every culture have found a connection to nature and a higher power greater than themselves. I believe people yearn deeply within to unite with the Creator, God. Nature, in all of its forms, offers this awesome opportunity to find inspiration and meaning in our relationships in the natural world and with the Almighty.
Even the simplest of creatures can inspire our sense of connectedness with God. I find such inspiration in dragonflies which remind me of the Holy Spirit. This lovely, iridescent insect has been recognized for thousands of years, depicted often in paintings, on pottery or re-created in jewelry. In Japan, the dragonfly symbolizes courage, strength and happiness. In China, dragonflies bring good luck, and are associated with prosperity and harmony. Native Americans believe dragonflies are symbols for happiness, speed and purity. For others, especially due to the quality of its changing color, the dragonfly symbolizes transformation and deep awareness of self-realization.
As we enter into this season of Lent, we too are called to transformation. Prayer, fasting and generosity are meant to help us focus on the real purpose of Lent, which is conversion. These practices shouldn’t be reduced to outward deeds and superficial intentions.
Pope Francis reminds us of what true conversion is. He instructs us, “We are invited to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. To give up our own will and seek His. To open our eyes, our ears and our hearts to what Jesus is asking us to do. We are summoned to a deeper level of prayer which requires less talking and more listening, for it is in the silence of our hearts that God will speak to us. We are called to fasting which requires a sober lifestyle; a way of life that does not waste, nor throws away. We are challenged to generosity, to give something to someone without expecting anything in return which leads to the freedom from the obsession of possessing.”
The dragonfly will be a reminder for me this Lent of how I wish to be transformed. Its form reminds me of a cross which is a fitting symbol of the sacrifice Jesus made for us all. And hopefully, the work I put into my own Lenten transformation will not be shallow or just scraping the surface, but one that brings about a real and lasting conversion of heart…the heart of a disciple.
Travel well on your own Lenten journey.