Our venerable mother Melany the Younger of Rome set out with her husband, St. Pinianus, for the Holy City of Jerusalem in the 5th century. There she lived among the women consecrated to God and her husband among the monks. They practiced the religious life and both came to rest in a holy death.
You loved the purity of virginity and supplicated your Beloved with gracious words. You spent your fortunes for the monks and nuns, and you even built them monasteries, O blessed Melany. Now that you have retired to a heavenly monastery, do not forget us.
Your soul shone with light from the One born for us of the Virgin, and you sparkled with all the virtues, for you are worthy of all praise. You shared your worldly wealth with those on earth and stored for yourself treasures in heaven, becoming a marvelous example of ascetical life. Therefore, O holy Melany, we honor you with love.
Galatians 1: 11-19
Brothers and sisters: I assure you, the gospel I proclaimed to you is no mere human invention. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I schooled in it. It came by revelation from Jesus Christ. You have heard, I know, the story of my former way of life in Judaism. You know that I went to extremes in persecuting the Church of God and tried to destroy it; I made progress in Jewish observance far beyond most of my contemporaries, in my excess of zeal to live out all the traditions of my ancestors.
But the time came when he who had set me apart before I was born and called me by his favor chose to reveal his Son to me, that I might spread among the Gentiles the good tidings concerning him. Immediately, without seeking human advisers or even going to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, I went off to Arabia; later I returned to Damascus. Three years after that I went up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, with whom I stayed fifteen days. I did not meet any other apostles except James, the brother of the Lord.
I declare before God that what I have just written is true. Thereafter I entered the regions of Syria and Cilicia. The communities of Christ in Judea had no idea what I looked like; they had only heard that “he who was formerly persecuting us is not preaching the faith he tried to destroy,” and they gave glory to God on my account.
Matthew 2: 13-23
At that time, after the astrologers from the east had left, the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph with the command: “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you otherwise. Herod is searching for the child to destroy him.” Joseph got up and took the child and his mother and left that night for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
Once Herod realized that he had been deceived by the astrologers, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem and its environs, making his calculations on the basis of the date he had learned from the astrologers. What was said through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A cry was heard at Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation: Rachel bewailing her children; no comfort for her, since they are no more.”
But after Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt with the command: “Get up, take the child and his mother, and set out for the land of Israel. Those who had designs on the life of the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and returned to the land of Israel. He heard, however, that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, and he was afraid to go back there. Instead, because of a warning he received in a dream, Joseph went to the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way what was said through the prophets was fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazorean.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, December 30 –