The Animals Will Teach You

Praying mantis
Praying Mantis

By Fr. Stephen Young

There on the low hanging branch of the maple tree, hidden, but not hidden, stood the mantis. Brilliant green and statuesque, it appeared to be caught in deep prayer as it faced into the early morning sun; a mysterious and intriguing expression of God’s beauty.

Then, almost out of nowhere, another praying mantis materialized on the same branch and in a moment they began an ancient courtship ritual.  To be privy to this intimate act of creation was both humbling and even embarrassing.  Like Mary being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, the female was overshadowed by the male, the egg within being brought to life by the acceptance of the seed.  Like the Word becoming flesh in Mary, a miracle!!  New Life!  New Birth!

Completed, the gift given, the womb was made alive.  And then came the shock.  A scene too hard to witness, visual words too hard to listen to!!  She who had received the gift proceeded to consume the gift giver; an act of supreme sacrifice, providing the food needed to ensure that the life begun would be the life fulfilled.  Eucharist!!

“………Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of His blood, you have no life in you.”  John 6:53

“But now ask the animals, and they will teach you;…”   Job 12:7

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