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.

He came to live among us

by Gianluca Severin

The night looms dark and silent over the world. Men, living in darkness and in the shadow of death, ask themselves: who am I? Why was I born at this time? Why do I love? Why do I suffer? Why will I die? While a profound silence enveloped all things, and the night was halfway through its course, God responds, becoming man. The star shines: darkness remains, but the light pierces it, does not allow itself to be buried and shows the way. It is a single celebration, on earth as it is in heaven: the peace promised to all men has arrived because He loves them.

Scattered everywhere are the shepherds; there are those who waited, those who feared what would happen, those who didn’t care: all of these, first, receive the news, suddenly in the tiring boredom of a cold and lonely night. Some come running, amazed and hopeful, the first witnesses of God-with-us; others remain at their occupations; some don’t listen, others fear deception and danger, others don’t believe it’s worth it. There are all of them in the nativity.

The Magi come from afar. Wise and thirsty for the infinite, they faced, following the star, a journey of desires and doubts, hopes and fears, they arrive in Bethlehem. In that stable they kneel, in front of that naked child on the bare rock the joy is immense, they open their treasure chests, offer gold, incense and myrrh: God, whom the greatest cannot contain, now inhabits the smallest.

In the background here is Jerusalem, majestic and crumbling, which rejects those in need and kills the prophets who are sent to it. What do you fear, O Herod, at the announcement that the King has been born? You make your choice: a God who is not reflection or prop of your glory must be destroyed; power reasserts itself by shedding innocent blood. You want to kill the Life that, lying in a manger, makes your throne totter. He did not come to be served but to serve! You decree, to eliminate that one, the extermination of many children: heartbroken mothers don’t make you hesitate, the lament of fathers doesn’t move you, the moan of newborns doesn’t stop you.

To the announcement of the angel asking her to become the Mother of God, Mary responded with confidence.

Joseph, a righteous man, had entrusted himself to the will of God, had taken charge of the mystery surrounding that child and his wife.

Now they flee, alone in a foreign land, His promise of a new life is followed by dangers of death. They leave everything, keeping everything in their hearts, with a child in their arms who, when the time has come, will leave them in order to take care of the Father’s affairs, to fulfill His will and travel the path that, from that cave, leads to the tomb and…

The nativity scene narrates the love of God who emptied himself by choosing the condition of every human being, in whatever condition. He came into our truth because He loves us, He exposes Himself to our rejection but He is always here, a gift without conditions. Put everyone in your nativity scene, your whole life, all your traditions and tastes, and in a corner, even if it is poor and hidden, put baby Jesus.


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