Christmas Delights, Thanks to the Catechism and Romanus the Melodist

St. Romanus the Melodist

Back in October, I signed up to read the Catechism in a year. I thought it would be a daunting, thankless, task. Instead, it has been light, easy and delightful.

In fact, I’ve been amazed at how the daily selections have been dovetailing with the liturgical calendar. Whether that is by design or not, I do not know.

Today is day #77 on the schedule, and the selection is from paragraph 522 through 530. If I said the selections are centered around the Incarnation, and Christmas, I wouldn’t be very far off.  Consider The Christmas Mystery as explained in today’s selection.

Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
And the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God”. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:

O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.

Bonus! We get a little snippet of the handiwork of Romanus the Melodist in 525, followed up with Incarnational thoughts from the Antiphon for January 1st as well.

Here’s a taste of his Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ in English (rare indeed!).

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Check out Richard Toensing’s compositions built around the Melodist’s Kontakion as well. This will get you started.

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You can read a translation of the Melodist’s complete Kontakion here.


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