Julie was losing altitude because of the strong wind, and her wings were slowing down with the cold. Just when it seemed that her short existence as a hummingbird was over, she felt the warmth of a pair of hands, so familiar to her…
Julie was the ant that the Child Jesus transformed into a hummingbird. After taking leave of Him and the Blessed Virgin, in a burst of gratitude, she had flown off toward the mountaintop of her dreams.
Time went by, yet no idea occurred to her. Where could she build a nest along that smooth rock face? Was it really worth the effort to try to survive in such terrain? It was risk that no ant would ever take…Following a journey of several days, against torrential downpours, scorching sun and gusting winds, she finally managed to reach her destination. There were many difficulties along the way, but she never gave up hope that the long-awaited day would finally arrive. And, when, from the summit of the mountain she looked down on the landscape… Oh, how wonderful it was! It was even more beautiful than she had dreamed of!
But anyone who imagines that Julie’s life would be easier now, freed from the drudgery of the anthill, is mistaken… Although she was now endowed with beautiful and brightly colored wings, the struggle continued, and the obstacles were now much greater.
Having reached her journey’s end, Julie faced a serious problem. As a hummingbird, she had no food stored up or shelter ready for the winter, which was fast on its way. She could no longer tunnel her way through the earth, in search of a cozy nook. The mere touch of her elegant beak would be the destruction of any anthill. So, how was she to survive?
What Julie needed was confidence. She knew that she could not have endured so much and waited so long in vain. She could not imagine how, but she was sure that everything would finally come out right. With a flutter of her wings, she darted off in search of a solution.
— I am no longer an ant! – she told herself, as she flew about anxiously – I am a hummingbird, and my new condition requires that I aspire to something more than the company of potato bugs and earthworms!
Just when she decided to stop for a moment on a dry twig to catch her breath, she noticed some menacing clouds blowing swiftly in her direction… Seized with fright, she saw herself at death’s door. It would be the worst storm she had ever faced and would probably be her last. At that moment, deep down she seemed to hear a voice repeating a sinister refrain:
— Give up Julie! You’re just an ant!…
That thought sapped all of her energy. But she fought against those dark memories and tried to flee the storm, winging through the air as best she could. She was rapidly losing altitude because of the strong wind, and her wings were slowing down with the cold. She thought her short existence as a hummingbird was coming to an end. But in a twinkling she said:
—After all, even if I have to die here, I will go happily, knowing that I reached my goal!
At that moment, Julie knew that she was not alone…
She felt the warmth of the hand of a child whom she knew so well. It was the Child Jesus! He had the most serene gaze, the kindest smile, and the firmest yet gentlest hand that could be imagined!
Julie felt so relieved to find herself in those little hands once again, that nothing else mattered! She was with her Lord, God Himself; dying or not, it was there that she wanted to remain; it was there that she felt most at home.
Minutes of true bliss went by. In silence, the Child Jesus looked at her with compassion and she looked back with awe-filled admiration. Then, once again, He blew a revitalizing breath upon her.
— So it’s not all over, then? – Julia asked herself in wonder.
Filled with new energy, she beat her shimmering wings and took flight once again, ready to face whatever was necessary to live as a worthy hummingbird.
Now she was convinced that when God calls someone to greatness He gives them the strength for the mission.
As she continued her voyage, Julie noted that the air was warming up, and sensed the alluring aroma of flowers nearby. One part of the mountainside, seen from her vantage point, looked like a soft and colorful carpet, but as she got closer, she saw that the area was in full bloom with all kinds of flowers. There were yellow, pink, white and red ones, dripping with delicious nectar.
She darted back to the heights, to where the Child Jesus and His Mother stood, and they nodded their encouragement, urging her to settle there. At that signal, she flew like an arrow towards what any hummingbird would consider a paradise.
—How amazing! – she exclaimed – To come upon such a delightful place after such a frightful storm! Here I have everything I need to fulfil my purpose as a hummingbird: flowers in abundance, and soft fibres and moss to build a nest! All of this could only be the work of divine hands!
Her happiness reached new heights, when, zipping to and for gathering materials for her new home, she came upon other delicate nests, some of which contained tiny eggs. With a piercing trill, she exclaimed:
— My dear Lord, what kindness You have shown me! Here I will even have friends, who, unlike the dwellers of the anthill, will want to fly with me to the highest heights! Truly there is nothing I shall want!
Now she was fully convinced that God never calls someone to greatness without providing the necessary strength for the mission, and that those who are weak must never give up; rather, they ought to abandon themselves in His hands with confidence.
When we least expect it, He makes His presence felt in our lives in a very special way, comforting us, and giving us the certainty that He is always at our side in the battles of each day. He is there during the times that we feel surrounded by the darkness of the “anthill”, or the chill of a strong and threatening wind, or even when the weight of trials would have us believe that we are ants instead of hummingbirds.