I was reading a sermon my St. Bernard to give a reflection on it for the church. I was taken by his words as he was talking about three comings of Christ. The first being the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The last being the final coming of Christ where we will be united with him in heaven. Then, he started talking about a middle coming where the Holy Spirit came to help us in the transition or transformation where we are prepared for the final coming.
I thought about this and I picture it kind of like a Caterpillar who will one day become a butterfly. The key is that he must spend time in the cocoon if he is going to be able to transform into a butterfly. Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have been born to eternal life. We have been born and now we must grow and mature if we are to spend an eternity with him in heaven. Out goal, then, is to become the butterflies that God created us to be but we have to be willing to let the Holy Spirit transform us within the safety of the cocoon of His love.
In Isaiah chapter 2, the prophet talks said that we will “beat our swords into plowshares”. He did not say they would be gently changed or magically changed. No, he said they would be beaten. True transformation comes when we are beaten and broken down so that we can truly be recreated into something greater. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit and the real work happens at our places of greatest vulnerability., those places where we are wounded and weak.
I have been reading about the conversion, read transformation, of St. Augustine. He had places of vulnerability in his life that kept him from being transformed even though he wanted to. It was not until he was finally able to let God into those places of shame and woundedness that the transformation was made possible. I see so many parallels in my life to that of St. Augustine. I know I still have places that I don’t really want God to change me but I pray that you and I will both be able to open ourselves up enough to let God changes us in a real and sustaining way.