"I was totally amazed," Boston University biologist Thomas Kunz recalls, when he witnessed a drama among Rodrigues fruit bats. Kunz' experiences were reported in the January 1997 edition of National Geographic on page 139. He watched a female bat struggling with a difficult birth and assisted for three hours by a female helper. Although bats usually give birth in a head-up, feet-down position, this female was laboring to do so upside down. Another female approached her and repeatedly assumed the correct position, imitating contractions and straining. Finally the other caught on, and a wing and foot emerged in a breech birth---a successful one.
So what does this have to do with you and me? What does this have to do with God? Everything!
Once again we have clear evidence that the natural, God directed force of the universe is one of empathy and love---even among bats! Remember how the disciples were fearful, wavering, doubtful---even after observing the miracles Christ performed? Why did they eventually sacrifice everything in order to spread the message of God? Because God IS inside us, inside each and every one of us---even though we resist his message, it is still there trying to express the love that is God. Bats proclaim there is within us all love, empathy, and a caring spirit.
So where do the birds fit into the picture?
Manuel Marin, a professor from Louisiana State University studies the white-chinned swift. "The rare bird nests behind waterfalls in Latin American. In that soaking environment they plant pieces of moss, which then grow and reinforce their nests" (Nat. Geog., Jan. 1997, p. 106). If the tiny swift can improve its life through delayed gratification behavior, SO CAN YOU!
Bats, Birds, You and Me---all of us love, empathize with the plight of others, and want to help make this a better more loving world. This is the message of Christ from The Last Temptation of Christ, later it was the message of St. Francis as we observed in Brother Sun, Sister Moon, it was then the message of the Jesuits in The Mission, and finally it was the message from Gandhi. We have watched the lives of these wonderful people, struggling to make life better for others, who were willing to sacrifice all if need be. In each movie they gave their lives because of their love for humanity. In order to prepare yourself so that you become part of the solution instead of part of the problem, it takes preparation, study, understanding of how the world works and how you can effectively reach out. That preparation requires delayed gratification. Are you willing to make the sacrifices, to spend the time and energy in preparation, to delay the gratification of having certain material possessions or expressing expensive passions? Are you as evolved as the bats and birds?
The human spirit thrives on empathy, love, the Golden Rule, acceptance, being genuine and free, and on delayed gratification. Each of these yearnings have forces resisting them. The resisting forces are fear of change, ethnocentric we/they thinking, cynicism and resistance to trust, facades and games developed to avoid genuineness, desires and passions beckoning us, power and control luring us. Through self-awareness and observation of the worldly forces and how they work against the spirit we are able to move toward a life more in tune with our spiritual nature. The rewards of doing so are tremendous because our physical body thrives when we are more in tune with our spiritual nature.