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Fr Paddy: A Time To Hope

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives too. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, we would not be as strong as what we could have been.

I asked for strength, and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom, and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity, and God gave me a brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage, and God gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for love, and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favours, and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I asked for but everything I needed.

This Holy Week we have an opportunity to engage once again with the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A sacred and grace filled time. A time to embrace hope and light which truly conquers fear and darkness.


Take time to ponder on the many rituals and moments Holy Week offers to us all. Holy Week. Seven days, filled with Religious Symbolism and Rituals, from Washing Feet to Venerating the Cross.

Holy Week, is indeed a true gift to embrace. Holy Week, tells the very hopeful story of Jesus’ great love and resilient compassion. A free love, given in an absolute fashion. A love, told powerfully by a God who “lay down his life for his friends”.

For this reason, the days of Holy Week resonate with many emotions felt within all our hearts. The joy and intimacy at a family meal, the pain of not knowing our future, the emptiness, because of a loved one’s death and the transforming hope and joy on Easter Sunday; Jesus risen from the dead.

This is a powerful story, a story that through the symbol of a cross continues to offer inspiration and hope.

As we prepare to celebrate Easter may the new light of Spring allow you all to grow in faith, hope and love….

Fr Paddy Byrne

SEE ALSO – Fr Paddy: Holy week: a new day dawns

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Fr Paddy is a curate in the hugely vibrant Portlaoise Parish. From Carlow town, he was educated in Carlow CBS and studied Business and Politics in Trinity College Dublin before training to be a priest in Carlow College. He is the youngest priest in the Kildare & Leighlin diocese and writes for a number of media outlets. He has almost 14,000 followers on Twitter.