pondering…proposes, invites, counsel and freewill

“And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force,
because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one,
but only proposes, invites and counsels.”

St. Angela Merici


(Julie Cook / 2022)

On a snowy Sunday afternoon…way down here in the deep South—
a day full of anomalies…meaning….
that the two notions of a deep South and a snowy day are not usually
found within the same sentence, it seemed to be a perfect day for pondering.

Pondering.

Merriam Webster tells us that the definition of the word ponder is:
to weigh in the mind or to think about or reflect on…

And so, on this stay inside sort of day, this day of a deep South’s
day of ice and snow, pondering simply seemed to be a perfect pairing.

To weigh, to think, to reflect…

I found the following quotes, both above and below, to be so full
of thoughtfulness..so full of deep reverberations…
so full of infinite truths…
all of which each echo within the walls of any longing soul…
so much so that each quote has caught my breath.

words spoken…

Words which speak of purpose…
words which speak of freewill…
words which speak of accepting actions…
words which speak of burdens…
words which speak of conscience…
words which speak of opportunity,
words which speak of forgiveness…

All three quotes give us much to contemplate, examine and reflect upon…
all during these dark days of winter…

Tis the season to ruminate…to ingest and to ponder…

“We have difficulty understanding this,
just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color,
but our difficulty doesn’t alter this fact:
God’s omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom.
In the core of our being we remain free to accept or
reject God’s action in our lives—-
and to accept or reject it more or less intensely.
God wants us to accept him with all our ‘heart, soul, mind, and strength’—-
in other words, as intensely as possible.
But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil,
so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace.
Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from
sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug
in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort,
every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act
of kindness to someone in need,
we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord
by putting our faith in his will.”

Fr. John Bartunek,

The more I wanted to pray for my father and could not,
the more I realized how much my hatred of him had harmed me
instead of harming him.
I can’t remember where I heard this saying,
but it came back to me then:
Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping that
the other person will die.

Derya Little
from her book From Islam to Christ

not for sissies

“Walking the streets of Charleston in the late afternoons of August
was like walking through gauze or inhaling damaged silk.”

Pat Conroy

RSCN3493
(yellow sulphur butterfly / Julie Cook / 2016)

Summer in the deep South is not for the faint of heart…

98 degree days coupled with 98% humidity…
Clothes cling to bodies like wet toilet paper dangling from a tree limb after a rain.
Hair doos are non-existent.
And sweat becomes an accessory rather than an unsightly bodily function

Then there are the…

98 degree days with low humidity which equals no rain, no moisture whatsoever…
for days and days and days and days…
Everything dries up…
the grass crunches,
green things all turn brown
and earthworms shrivel into brown sticks…

Yet there are a few among us who remain unfazed…
who actually seem to thrive, coming into their own.
The higher the temperature, the more excited they become….

And you just thought butterflies were for sissies….

DSCN3497
(clouded skipper on the butterfly bush / Julie Cook / 2016)

RSCN3216
(gulf fritillary butterfly / Julie Cook / 2016)

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10