Cardinal George's Christmas Letter 2013
Read Cardinal George's Christmas letter as featured in The Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic New World.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Celebrating the 50th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood this December fills my heart with gratitude to God and with countless memories of people I have met and places I have served throughout my priestly ministry...
I was ordained by Bishop Raymond Hillinger just before Christmas at St. Pascal Church, the parish in which I grew up on Chicago’s northwest side. When I became the Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, Brother Claude Lane, OSB of the Benedictine Monastery Mount Angel Abbey, created an icon for me that brought together two titles of Our Lady that he knew were significant to me: Our Lady of the Snows, patroness of the northern missions served by Oblates, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, because in Yakima the vast majority of Catholics are of Mexican descent.
In this beautiful icon, the serene nativity scene is framed by storm and snow, and Brother Claude depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe gazing at the Christ Child on her lap. A black sash that indicated in Aztec culture that she was pregnant is now tied around her swaddled baby who has the face of his mother and yet something more. It’s always more: the sash signifies it is this baby that gives birth now to a new world. It’s a world where snow falls on the Esquiline Hill in Rome in August and where roses bloom on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City in December. It’s a new world that looks like Jesus, son of God and son of Mary. It is a world in which God took on our human nature so that we could see the glory of God in an infant and so that our lives would be brightened by the truth about God and about ourselves.
Christ took our nature to his divine Person so everything we are and do is elevated; everything is graced except sin itself. If we give ourselves up to what Christ is doing to and for us, we begin to see with the eyes of Christ, to know others and ourselves at a different level, and to do entirely commonplace acts for God and with God. At our best, all of us want a world marked by truth and justice, by peace and love, for those desires are born of our redeemed nature itself. May the newborn Jesus fill your heart with joy! You are in my prayers; please keep me in yours. Merry Christmas!