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Prepare our hearts for the grace of Easter joy

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

April 12, 2023

Editor’s Note: The Following is Bishop Terry R. LaValley’s Easter Message for 2023.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

“Christ, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed His peaceful light on humanity who lives and reigns forever and ever.”

These concluding words of the Easter Proclamation that we hear at the Easter Vigil have an urgency about them these days because the risen Christ’s peaceful light seems to be shed so faintly on an unsettled world that is marked by violence, war, natural disasters and personal hostilities. Such darkness wears us down. Many find it difficult to be joyful this Easter.

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We must prepare the soil of our hearts for this gift. I heard someone offer three suggestions to help us do that. Call it GPS – God’s Positioning Service – directions to find Easter joy.

G – Gratitude. A grateful heart silences a complaining tongue. If I’m always griping or whining, how will the Holy Spirit fill my heart with joy? So, if we want more joy in our lives, we start by being grateful, being attentive to the blessings we receive. I might write down one thing every day for which I am grateful. It’s astounding after a month of doing this prayerful exercise, to see how our days are really saturated with blessings.

P – Prayer. I ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of joy. Joy is the fruit of our relationship with Jesus. Nurturing that relationship through daily prayer is critical. The Holy Spirit is the One Who makes Christ present to us. We might need to get to know the Holy Spirit better.

And S – Sharing. If I’m not feeling the Easter joy, I might try to bring joy into someone else’s life, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised to see what happens in my own heart. Call someone, smile at someone, do something kind and joy will flow from that.

So…GPS – Gratitude, Prayer, Sharing. Christ died for us, He rose for us, and He wants to bring us the joy of His Presence in the Eucharist. Joy is the best response to Jesus. Who could have imagined that death could be conquered? That’s what Easter means. Your death and my death are not the end. The world’s woes don’t have the last say. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, the faithful person will rise from the dead. Body and soul, we will live forever. Suffering does not have the last say.

The love of God, given to us in Jesus Christ has the last word. When we embrace the gift of Easter, joy becomes truly the best response. We are so blessed.


Joyful and Blessed Easter to you and your loved ones.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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