Virtue Illuminates the Soul


Jolly Hormillosa // Tales From the Trenches

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April 26  

I’m more than a bit threadbare on Easter morning – just a little under-slept and overly pregnant – the shopping, the cooking, the vigil, and baskets filled. I justify my numb heart with how much serving a holiday requires of a mama. I stand in the kitchen circling the to-do list, a little dramatic over the details yet to be done before leaving for the farm. When the gory pain of cutting my index nail off along with my finger tip stops the music, I face my underlying agonies anew. The fresh, physical pain (so bloody unexpected) cuts to the grief of my disfigured birthmarks – my old, familiar heartaches. Sure, it’s an accident and there is no one to blame directly, yet my frantic soul feels the injustice of circumstances beyond my control. I can feel all the blood in my veins boil over; my heart dissolves and my vision clouds. I feel at fault and I feel falteringly vulnerable. I can sense all the battles I’ve been waging over the past week flood to the surface. The doctor’s report we are waiting on, the problems of persistent prodigal behavior, the sibling squabbling, the calendar calling, the boundary of budget, and the venture toward soul-wholeness that looks like Everest.

Christ’s suffering passion beckons me to patience–patience with myself, with my life, with serving, with suffering. I can dream of witnessing family perfection, of mission, or of spiritual utopia, but if I do not see my personal present crosses as the way to resurrection, I tend to resist. The very cross meant to save my heart weighs me down and burdens my soul. Every single circumstance beyond my control is a beckoning to experience Christ. This means believing in the spirit of the Eucharist in all my moments. When I patiently see the passionate severities as part of the plan, instead of a grasping at a perfect narrative, I begin to see his transfiguring way: the only way to genuine wholeness. Bloody suffering can feel like a severe reality of life – and yet somehow the severity of grace breaks in, and miraculously, hope and peace materialize.

I expect our household and our children will thrive in faith and virtue today and this year; in this life into the next. I expect golden holidays and fulfilled relationships to transpire within our domestic church. I desire to be a witness – a beacon of genuine, loving faith, and I hope that looks like pure abundance to the naked eye. I pray that this season will yield a growth of more and not less. Yet Christ calls me to take hold of the force of hope so that daily circumstances do not dictate my peace and steal my joy-strength. I believe for many things, but beyond what I believe for, I believe in someone. Jesus is the constant. He is the holiday. He is the center of the holy family. He longs to be the center of my holiday; he longs to be the holy center of our family. My peace is his real presence. I don’t always know what our circumstances will be, but I must expect his provision of loving-kindness and grace in the midst of all circumstances to tether myself to hope. Hope brings a pervading peace and infuses my moments with his gracious compassionate that love I long for.

“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore he waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for him” (Isaiah 30:18).

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