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a butterfly by Paul Kroll.

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  • a butterfly by Paul Kroll.

    By Paul Kroll

    What happens in a chrysalis?

    Have you ever thought of a butterfly as a caterpillar with wings? Think again. What happens inside a chrysalis is a wonder of creation, and a striking analogy for the transformation from mortality to immortality that is the hope of all Christians.

    When the caterpillar has eaten enough, it finds somewhere safe and spins itself a cocoon. It then molts its outer skin, secreting a new covering that is much thicker and stronger. In this form it cannot eat, excrete and usually does not move. To all outside appearances it looks dead. But it is far from lifeless. Inside, a miracle of transformation begins to take place.

    The first thing that happens is that most of the caterpillar’s old body dies. Enzymes are released that digest all the caterpillar tissue, so that the caterpillar is converted into a rich organic soup. It actually digests itself from the inside out—a process called "histolysis." However, not all the old tissue is destroyed. In a number of places in the insect’s body are collections of special embryonic cells, called "imaginal buds" or "histoblasts." Until now they played no part in the insect’s life. These cells start developing early in the caterpillar’s life, but then they stall, remaining inert in the caterpillar’s body. As soon as metamorphosis gets under way, these cells start growing again.

    The job of these imaginal bud cells is to supervise the building of a new body out of the soup that the insect’s digestive juices have made of the old larval body. One will become a wing; others form the legs, the antennae and all the organs of the adult butterfly. In this way, the entire internal contents of the caterpillar—the muscles, the digestive system, even the heart and nervous system—is totally rebuilt.

    What eventually emerges out of the chrysalis is not just a caterpillar with wings. It is a new creature, no longer confined to crawling around and preoccupied with eating. Although the potential to become a butterfly is inherent in the caterpillar’s old body, the change cannot happen until the old creature in effect dies. Then, and only then, the wonderful process of metamorphosis begins to unfold, until eventually, a totally new kind of creature emerges from the "tomb."

    Borne aloft on its beautiful wings, the butterfly can experience life in a way a caterpillar could not begin to imagine.
    By Paul Kroll

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    butterflies~! can we become one?
    a new creature~! can we become One?
    <*]]]]><
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