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Keeping room in our hearts for God, others

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

December 22, 2021

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

At our Christmas Vigil Mass, we will hear St. Luke tell us that God was born in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior this year, it is fitting that we ask ourselves: Is there room for God in my heart?

Today, there is so little room in our hearts for many—the unborn, the poor, those suffering from mental illness, the migrant, the victim of unjust discrimination, the elderly, the addict, the lonely, the imprisoned, indigenous peoples, the abused, the terror-stricken refugee. So many women, men and children are hurting. They are members of our families. They are us!

We enter this Advent Season, preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, grateful for blessings received, but also keenly aware of our Christian duty to be the hands and tender heart of Christ to those who currently warrant scarce attention from us. This Christmas, let us resolve, inspired by our own time spent with Jesus, to see His Face in our sisters and brothers who we too often neglect. We yearn to make room in our hearts and in our lives for the hurting. Their human dignity demands it. Our Christian dignity impels us.

We pray that the beautiful acts of generosity that characterize the Christmas Season, will be transformed from seasonal gestures of charity to lifelong acts of justice and mercy. Such personal transformation will give tangible evidence that we are Christ-led, Christ-fed, and Hope-filled. We can do great things in Christ Jesus, the Savior whose birth we celebrate with such joy and gratitude. Our God’s unconditional love and boundless mercy became flesh and bones in the Person of Jesus Christ so that we might extend God’s compassion and love.

May the Christ Child bring you and your loved ones the Gift of Love, the Blessing of Hope and the Promise of Peace. A blessed Christmas and joy-filled New Year!

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg


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