Buttered Fly

Linnaea Radley

Set to Appear in the April 2021 Edition

This is an essay about pride and vainglory supplemented with examples from humility.
These two groups will be represented by the fly and butterfly. The life of each insect will be
portrayed in stages, on in each paragraph. In each paragraph, the fly will show pride’s path of
development and how it ruins its victim. Then humility will follow, countering pride with an
example. And so I shall propose my argument: In basic terms, pride appears to be picking and
raising us up when in reality it is using our actions to keep us down and away from God. To
really go upwards, one must find humility, the fertile ground we can grow up from.

Scene one: Vainglory and Detachment. Right now, the fly of pride is a maggot of vainglory.
Vainglory revels in the praise and attention from this world, nullifying one’s gained virtues. A
maggot is no different as it too grows off of trash and refuse. As it grows larger, it demands more
and more to quench its ever growing wants. It seeks for more and wastes virtuous acts for the
immediate reward of worldly glory. But what does one afflicted with this vice do after receiving
the buoying yet ephemeral praise? Searches for more. As more is searched for, one meets others
who are not amused by your deeds, so one attempts to please then and by doing so angers one’s
first fans and it escalates into a very messy hole indeed.

On the other hand we have our butterfly of humility who is currently a caterpillar of
detachment. Detachment does not try to be connected to this world but rather separates or
detaches from it to easily be transferred to God and heaven when called. This caterpillar follows
the pattern as it feeds upon the plants raised above the earth that are grown by God. Not affected
by the world and its whims, the caterpillar grows and thus forms its foundational pillars for what
stages will come next.

Scene two: Blasphemous thoughts and Meekness. Now our little maggot has turned into a
pupa. Some may breathe a sigh of relief hearing that as pupae don’t seem to do much anything.
Nothing but develop, and little things can sometimes be the deadliest. These blasphemous
thoughts whisper little lies and sly excuses to distract us from our task or to have us think
wrongly about someone or something or to convince us to take a break from hard spiritual work
and do whatever. Their goal is to excite us from our task so that we never grow but instead
inwardly rot.

Shift back to our caterpillar and it is found to have formed into a chrysalis. It’ll just hang
there until it’s ready inside to move on. Meekness is similar to that. Instead of whispering
pestilences to excite and distract someone, it rather is an open ear sympathetic and/or unmoved
by others’ excitement or that of the world. It is like a cliff which is unmoved, but rather
smoothed and tempered by the chaos around it.

Scene three: Pride and Humility. Finally we’ve reached the final stage. The pupa has
morphed into an adult fly. It buzzes here and there, eating in the most disgusting way and
avoiding the swatter in a flashy way that is quite irksome. Pride is the culmination of the past
stages and then some. Instead of doing certain actions solely to please others (instead of God),
pride moves on to getting others’ praise for oneself, being focused only on oneself when doing
‘virtuous’ deeds and generally turning into a solipsist. Pride is the generator of the vices, creator
of hateful tensions, and the devil’s surest way to keep us far from God.

And for a breakaway, we’ll turn to our now fully fledged butterfly. It dips and soars, drinks
the nectar from God’s flowers, and flutters away to a peaceful spot if disturbed instead of
alighting on a spot just out of reach like the fly. Humility is the base of all virtues and a pure, low
spiritual angle to grow from and understanding how unworthy we are of God’s gifts and
appreciating them all the same.

All in all, pride, vainglory, and blasphemous thoughts have many sly and complex tricks up
their sleeves while humility, meekness and detachment all have a pure, simple aura about them.
If you are unsure what to do, remember that we are attempting to follow in God’s example and
path, and should base our decisions around that. [And a little disclaimer, flies and butterflies aren’t

as black and white as I made them appear for the purpose of conveying my point. Flies are
very useful pollinators and some caterpillars (like those of the cabbage butterfly) eat plants
important to us.] God be with you!

Want to hear about our upcoming courses?

Join our email list to received the latest news from St. Raphael School.

You have successfully subscribed!

Share This