A Prayer for Monarch Butterflies

Spirituality and Practice
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Original Print: March 18, 2013



In an article in The New York Times, Lincoln Brower and Homero Aridjis note the winter monarch colonies near Mexico City have shrunk considerably. Between 1993 and 2003, they covered an average of 22 acres; this year’s area hit a record low of 2.3 acres. Like the loss of bees, the decline of the monarch butterflies has many causes, including the destruction of breeding habitats in the United States from toxic herbicides and genetically engineered crops and illegal logging in Mexico’s fir forests. Other factors are ecotourism, extreme weather, and diversion of water. What this means is that the very future of these beauties of the sky is in danger.

And so we pray this news . . .

When we behold monarch butterflies,
we know that God loves beauty.

We are so thankful for these astonishing creatures
who bring our senses alive with their
brightly colored wings and their fluttering
movements that quicken our hearts.

Monarchs are daring explorers who travel
great distances to reach their wintering spots.
Monarchs born east of the Rockies head to Mexico.
Those born to the west settle on the California coast.
Scientists are still mystified by this migration
where monarchs travel 44 miles a day and
somehow end up year after year at the same spot.

They must survive harsh weather and
the threat of predators such as cows and mice.
And these days, they are victims of human
agricultural practices, including the use of
toxic pesticides and the cultivation of
genetically modified, toxin laden crops.

We pray for these beautiful butterfies.
We pray for the few that are now clinging
to trees in Mexico and California and
preparing for their return flight home.

May they be safe and strong and
fly safely through the air.
May their beauty be an inspiration to all
who witness the miracle of their migration.
May they inspire humans to find ways
to protect their species for future generations.
So be it.

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