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Lowering Ourselves to Lift Up Jesus

Dear Friend,

Father Manuel Dorantes carries Yeilen, a Mayan toddler. Father Dorantes visited her Guatemalan village in July.

Father Manuel Dorantes carries Yeilen, a Mayan toddler. Father Dorantes visited her Guatemalan village in July. Photo by Robyn Fieser/CRS

In its essence, the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of the most profound mystery of the Christian faith: the Incarnation. We celebrate the fact that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, emptied himself and became a vulnerable little child. And we celebrate the greatest act of solidarity in history: Out of love for us, God took on our flesh. He took on our hopes and joys, but also our burdens and sufferings. He lived in solidarity with us.

In July, I had the opportunity to travel to the remote Mayan village of Tuilelen in the Comitancillo region of northwestern Guatemala. Comitancillo is the poorest province in the country. Its people are affected by high rates of infant mortality, malnutrition, scarcity of health and education services and soaring unemployment.

After traveling for 4 hours from Guatemala City, we finally arrived in Tuilelen. Mayan women, along with their children, stood in line to receive a 2-month supply of beans, rice and oil from Caritas of the Diocese of San Marcos, our CRS partner. One of the women approached me and said, "Thank you, Father, and thank all the people in America who help us. In your person, we are reminded that God has not forgotten us."

The woman was accompanied by her children, 8-year-old Fernando and, strapped to her back, 9-month-old Yeilen. As she waited in line, the woman unstrapped Yeilen and placed her on her brother's back so she could help with the distribution. After about a half-hour, I approached the frail-bodied Fernando and, through a translator, asked him what it felt like to carry his sister on his back. He responded, "You want to know what it feels like? You carry her! Lower yourself!" So, I bent down on my knees and he and his mom strapped Yeilen to my back.

Friends, Fernando invited me to live out the mystery of the Incarnation by asking me to lower myself and take on the weight of his sister. We are all called to do that for each other. This Christmas, I am grateful for all that you do to take on the weight and suffering of the most vulnerable through your support of Catholic Relief Services.

Reciba un fuerte abrazo Navideño de mi parte y de todo el equipo de CRS.
¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!,

Father Manuel Dorantes


Niñito Jesús, Tu que quisiste nacer pobre y en un portal de Belén haz de mi corazón Tu hogar en esta navidad. Tómalo y recíbelo, para que sea posada de aquellos que nacen hoy en nuestro mundo en las mismas condiciones que Tu hace dos mil años. Dame Tu amor y Tu gracia, y ayúdame a ser solidario con los demás especialmente con los que mas lo necesitan.



Child Jesus, you who wished to be born poor and in a stable in Bethlehem, make my heart your home this Christmas. Take it and receive it, so that it may provide hospitality to those born today in our world under the same circumstances as you 2,000 years ago. Give me your love and your grace, and help me to be in solidarity with others, especially those who need it most. Amen.

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