A New Song

On a post below I quoted from Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil Homily. Kathy grumbled (gently and politely) that I had not quoted the final section of the homily in which the Pope speaks of "song." So I thought to go back to one of the sources of Benedict's theology and homiletic art: Saint Augustine. Here is a segment from Augustine's exposition of Psalm 95:

Sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord, all the earth.If all the earth is singing a new song, it is being built up even as it sings, for to sing is to build provided, that is, that its song is not the old one. The desires of the flesh sing an old song, but the charity of God sings a song that is new.If your song springs from earthly lust, you are singing an old tune; and even if the words in your mouth are those of the new song, praise is unseemly in the mouth of a sinner. It is better to be a new person and keep quiet than to sing that old ditty, because if you are new in yourself, then even if you remain silent and human ears catch no sound from you, your heart is not silent. The new song your heart is singing reaches the ears of God who made you a new person.You love and are silent, but your love is itself a voice that sings to God; your love itself is the new song. Do you want proof of this? The Lord tells us, A new commandment I give you: that you love one another (Jn 13:34).

One scholar has said that the Enarrationes in Psalmos is the longest and least read of Augustine's major works. Thanks to Maria Boulding, O.S.B.'s fine translation in the New City Press volumes of the Expositons on the Psalms that lack may be remedied.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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