Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus

Christmas carols in the Novitiate

24 Dec 2020

Christmas is associated with traditions and songs that evoke memories of our home countries. Each of us has chosen a song that we consider to be of particular importance. And so we have put together a playlist of Christmas songs, which we would like to share with everyone.

Below is a short presentation of the chosen song:

P. Agostino: “Din Don Dan”.
Between joy and nostalgia, a song for the whole family.

P. Iosif: “Astăzi s-a născut Cristos” (Today Christ is born).
Originally a Romanian popular Christmas song, quite old. In the video it is a postmodern elaboration, made by a composer friend of mine from Cluj, Cristian Bence-Muk. I like the way he has managed to revitalise something very traditional. The refrain goes: Lăudați și cântați și vă bucurați! (Praise and sing and rejoice!) So be it!

David: “I re magi” (The Magi).
A festive allegretto from the children’s oratorio, entitled The Christmas of the Innocents. It is composed by Nino Rota, who is particularly well known for the soundtracks of films by Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini. But he is also a prolific composer of sacred music. The piece is taken from the Gospel of Matthew, the scene of the Magi arriving in Jerusalem.

Raul: “Florile dalbe” (White flowers).
A well-known traditional Romanian song, which young people sing during the Christmas holidays, going to the homes of relatives and acquaintances, to announce the coming feast, the birth of the Messiah.

Pasquale: “Venite pastorelli alla capanna” (Come shepherds to the hut).
I choose this song because it recalls, with the sound of bagpipes, the traditions of southern Italy, for a time that is always nostalgic. The nostalgia that comes with waiting for Jesus.

Christian: “Natale a Pavana” (Christmas in Pavana).
It’s one of Francesco Guccini’s last songs, written and sung in the dialect of his childhood. I like the sense of memory and the music which is both sweet and full of nostalgia.

Péter: “Romanian Folk Dances”.
Béla Bartók is able, with the instruments of classical music, to present you with a piece of raw Romanian and Hungarian folk music. Thus making Christmas a lively experience, similar to the evening when the shepherds go to see Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Daniel N.: “Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå” (Baby Jesus lay in a manger).
It’s a traditional Danish song that I like a lot. The text is by Hans Christian Andersen and the music by Niels W. Gade, who composed it in 1859.

Guglielmo: “Angelus ad pastores ait” (The angel said to the shepherds).
It is an original chant. The performance by eight voices, in harmony with each other, reminds me of our differences, united in a single song, before the tenderness of a defenceless child, born out of love.

Dániel T.: “Boldogságos Szűz” (Blessed Virgin).
In this piece, two different worlds, two different traditions meet: a Hungarian folk lullaby for the infant Jesus and a 13th century song about a miracle of Mary.
I like encounters of this kind, where diversity does not separate us, but enriches us. For me, Christmas means something similar: contemplating the incarnation of God and giving myself to others as I am.

Gellért: “Betlehem kis falucskában” (In the small village of Bethlehem).
Two voices are enough for the great proclamation: “God the Son became man”. A traditional Hungarian song, presented by two musicians from my country.

Through this playlist you can feel a little more united with us. We wish you all a Merry Christmas.


by Gianluca Severin

Non coerceri a maximo,
contineri tamen a minimo
divinum est

This ancient verse from an anonymous young Jesuit could be translated:

Not to be constrained by the greatest,
To be contained by the smallest,
this is God’s own

Advent calls us to await filled with hope; over the centuries men have walked tirelessly looking for that place to feel at home, countless nights they have stayed awake searching for that light that could brighten their days, they have raised loud cries to the sky trusting in an answer, they have dug to the boundaries of the soul, wholeheartedly they have searched within themselves to meet Someone. The man felt called out of himself, as a restless wayfarer, to meet Who had always been waiting for him. In our desire to meet him fails to constrain us the greatest.

Advent calls us to await filled with praise; so many moments of our days, so many things of our daily life, so many acts of our relationships pass fragile, humble, ordinary and even dull. Yet in our lives we have those special moments, those dear objects, those meaningful acts that often come to us unexpectedly, suddenly. When we tell them to others, full of memories and emotions, they listen to us, carried by our warmth, but can they fully understand why that afternoon in the mountains, that worn-out shirt, that tear lit up our existence? Maybe not, but they too have a precious fragment and they too can figure that joy. To find Him the smallest is enough for us.

In his life as a pilgrim and as a companion of Jesus, saint father Ignatius learned to contemplate the revelation of God in human and earthly realities. In the last leg of his journey, whenever he wanted to find God, he found Him.

Christmas, God who chooses to become man, gives us a chance to contemplate these realities: in the upheavals of history, in the vastness of geography, the Spirit descends, delicate and full of affection, on the womb of a young girl. In a marginal village of Galilee, the Lord, the God of the Universe, the Awaited for the centuries, became a tiny embryo of human flesh.

In these days of Advent, let, in peace and silence, grow within us the promise of love and of a new life.

And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth. (Jn 1, 14)

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