Cardinal Tagle tells what the Year of Faith can contribute to the Christmas spirit

By N.J. Viehland

In his second Christmas message as Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle connected the spirit of Christmas to  the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013.

Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle blesses the faithful who joined the Mass last November launching the archdiocese's commemoration of Year of Faith at San Fernando de Dilao Church in Paco, Manila. (N. J. Viehland photo)

Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle blesses the faithful who joined the Mass last November launching the archdiocese’s commemoration of Year of Faith at San Fernando de Dilao Church in Paco, Manila. (N. J. Viehland photo)

Cardinal Tagle highlights God’s action of coming to believers and initiating the relationship with them both as faithful, as well as in the Christmas story. Jesus’ invitation to a relationship, and one’s acceptance of the invitation carries a commitment and responsibility to share in God’s saving mission, Cardinal Tagle said.

Following is the text of Cardinal Tagle’s message emailed to journalists by Manila archdiocese’s office of communication on Dec. 20.

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

This year we celebrate the Christmas Season within the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit? Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us. Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation.

Children join a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary's search for a room in the inn carrying streamers that plead, "Christmas, stop demolitions" of shanty homes built by migrant settlers on government of privately-owned land. (Ed Gerlock photo published with permission)

Children join a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for a room in the inn carrying streamers that plead, “Christmas, stop demolitions” of shanty homes built by migrant settlers on government of privately-owned land. (Ed Gerlock photo published with permission)

In a real sense, Christmas is all about faith. To remove faith from Christmas is to empty it of its meaning. It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith. On the one hand, Christmas vividly recalls the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes as one like us except in sin, because as the Savior he cannot participate in humanity’s rejection of God. He opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way.  On the other hand, every Christmas season invites us to receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit. Faith in God leads us to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor whom Jesus loves. Faith makes us sharers in Jesus’ saving mission and heralds of true freedom from all that enslaves us.

Children in impoverished communities around Manila survive with very little food and other basic needs. (Ed Gerlock photos published with permission)

Children in impoverished communities around Manila survive with very little food and other basic needs. (Ed Gerlock photos published with permission)

I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for his great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give. Only pure divine love can save us! I wish all you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

+ LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE

Archbishop of Manila

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