December 16, 2012 - January 5, 2013
Cardinal George extends his Christmas wishes to faithful
Dear Friends in Christ, Filled with awe and wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation, how do we welcome God Incarnate? Filled with awe and wonder at the mystery of the Eucharist, how do we approach its celebration? During this Year of Sunday Mass, it is fitting to point out that the world is different because Mass is celebrated and we participate in that celebration. Not just we individually, not just the Church, but the world as a whole would be a very different place were the Holy Eucharist not celebrated.
Since the first Christians in Jerusalem discovered their identity around the altar of the Lord on his day, Catholics have known that without the Mass they cannot live fully in Christ. By inviting us to a new life and shaping our attitudes toward this life, the Eucharist does not merely express who we are and what we believe; it helps us discover who we are and what we can become in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Full and active participation in the liturgy leads us to embrace the truth, to take up the cross, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus throughout every dimension of our lives in praying for life eternal.
Through the Eucharist, the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us into the living Body of Christ, set to transform the world. Moreover, it moves us to express in action what it is that unites us to God and therefore to one another. When we are faithful to the image of God stamped upon us through baptism so that we are like Jesus Christ and when, in the celebration of the liturgy, our actions are witnesses to God’s own transcendence, our lives are holy. When we live in the world with Christ’s love, spreading his peace and justice, we are God’s instruments. This in its entirety is the spirit of the liturgy. Liturgy is not about us except to the extent that we are in Christ.
As Mary eloquently expresses in the Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior,” may you go forth from Mass “glorifying the Lord by your life.” You will be remembered in my Christmas Masses and prayers. A blessed and Merry Christmas to all!
— Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.,
Archbishop of Chicago