Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Time magazine recently named "the protester" the Person of the Year 2011. This reflects the unsettled state of our world: uprisings in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and violence at every turn.
Our schools and social media promise personal growth. Sadly, they are also places where bullies find victims, with tragic results. Life in the womb is threatened by abortion. The end of life is menaced by demands for euthanasia.
People long for a message of hope, yearn for joy, and deeply desire peace. This is precisely what God offers in the mystery of Christmas. He sent His Son into our world to draw us into His own divine life.
The entire Bible tells of God's tender compassion for His people. It is the story of His reaching out to us. God did this most supremely by taking on our human condition, taking human form in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
He chose to live among us, to experience first hand poverty, hunger, thirst, temptation, betrayal, and even death of the most painful and degrading kind. He showed us that the way of love, pardon, and devotion to others, is God's way of doing things.
In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola invites believers to imagine the condition of the world-war, turmoil, disasters, and sins of every kind against justice fand human dignity-that led God to intervene.
This wise spiritual guide invites us then to imagine a conversation within the Trinity; God decided that His Divine Word would enter the human condition to draw all of humanity back to Him and to eternal life. The first part is theoretical: the big picture. The second part is the practical application: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, to save you, to save me.
Pope Benedict XVI recently issued a letter called |Porta fidei (the "Door of Faith"). The letter points out that God is always setting before us an open door through which we can enter into His presence. We can marvel at the ready access He gave shepherds and astronomers to the Christ Child. There was no castle wall or palace guard to keep them from the King of Kings. God wants to draw you close, too. You can go to Jesus without fear or hesitation.
So, please take time during these holy days to stop before the Christmas crib wherever you see one, be it in your home, at your parish, in front of or inside our Notre Dame cathedral.
There, pray silently before the Lord. Imagine Mary offering to let you take the Christ Child in your arms. Speak to your Lord and Saviour the deepest longings of your being. Listen to God tell you, as He surely told the shepherds and the magi, how to share the Good News with those who are struggling to believe, to find hope, and to live in joy. We can live fully in God's kingdom and share His treasure.
May Mary, who delighted in showing her Son to everyone from shepherds to kings, intercede with her Son and obtain for us the Christmas blessings of joy and peace.
Merry Christmas!
+Terrence Prendergast, SJ
Archbishop of Ottawa
source: http://www.archottawa.ca/documents/NewsReleases/ArchbishopsChristmasMessage2011FINALENG.pdf

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