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With Holy Week ending and the Easter Season beginning, it seems appropriate that the cardinal virtue of fortitude is placed before us. It is probably this virtue that sustained us during the season of Lent, to patiently persevere in whatever form of penance we embraced during this holy season. 

Personally, I have found myself leaning deeply into the virtue of courage (to bear present difficulties). I spent my recent days sitting with my mom as she suffered tremendous pain—after years of enduring spinal stenosis, to a recent major back surgery, infection, sepsis, and finally to her eternal rest. I’ve had to learn how to witness the suffering and strive to unite it to Christ. Suffering deepens our hope for eternal salvation—firmly believing that Jesus HAS saved us. 

Fortitude enabled me to move forward believing in the greater good—the meaning and purpose of suffering: to cleanse us, to purify us for a more profound openness to God’s love and mercy. We may not see or understand at the moment, but we can utter the words, “Jesus, I trust in You” and find consolation and strength, which sustains us beyond our natural willpower and opens our eyes to see the heart of God at work. My mom quietly passed away surrounded by family and friends as I read aloud Psalm 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”