Sing a New Song Unto the Lord

Below is the text of the homily given by Father Dan Dorsey at the Final Oath Mass for Crispine Adongo, Aaron Wessman and Brother Craig Digmann on May 28, 2011. 

Sing to the Lord a new song. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote a beautiful Easter sermon with this title addressed to the newly baptized. It is also an appropriate theme for the three of you—Crispine, Craig and Aaron—on this occasion of your Final Oath.

I urge you today to sing a new song to the Lord, as new men who have learned a new song. Sing a new song of mission and ministry, of community and covenant, fidelity and love.

A song is a thing of joy. Your lifelong commitment to the missionary life and the people that you will serve is a song of joy and, more profoundly, it is a song of love.

You are new men with a new song founded on the new covenant of Jesus Christ. You are new men who will sing a new song. Your missionary lives will reflect the fact that you belong to the new covenant. You will sing this song in the mission areas of the United States.

Father Bishop and all Glenmarians who have gone before you, as well as those of us who share this day and journey with you, have learned to love the new life Christ called us to. And in turn we learned to sing a new song. (Glenmarians as a group sometimes do not sing well but we do sing loud!) The challenge of community is to sing in harmony with your brothers. Even as you grow older the song you sing each day will remain fresh and new and will remind you of your new life.

Sing to the Lord a new song.

There is not a human being that does not love something, but the question is, what to love? The Scriptures instruct us on what to choose as the object of our love. In a few moments you will publicly declare the objects of your love: Jesus Christ, the people of the home missions and your brother Glenmarians.

You are able to love God only because he first loved you. It is God who has given you, us, Jesus as the object of our love, and he has also given us its source. The apostle Paul tells us:

The love of God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate ourselves; it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

Sing to the Lord a new song.

At times when you are singing a new song there will be difficulties and discouragement. Let the fact that you did not choose God but God chose you be a source of comfort and consolation during these times. Your identity is rooted in the fact that God chose you, you were called from the womb to serve.

  • The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name. (Isaiah 49:1)

God is love, and whoever dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. Where there is love there is God.

Love is from God and our God of love dwells in you Craig, Aaron and Crispine.

Sing to the Lord a new song.

You might say to me, "I am singing." Yes indeed, you are singing. Over these past years in Glenmary I can attest that you are singing clearly. I can hear you. However a note of caution: make sure that your life does not contradict your words. Sing with your voices, your hearts, your lips and your lives: Sing to the Lord a new song.

How do you, we, sing the praises of our God of love? It is in you Aaron, Crispine, Craig. You will embody the song. If you desire to sing a new song then live what you express. Live good lives and your very person will be the instrument that sings the new song of Christ's praise.

What are the words of this new song of the new covenant of our God of love? They are words and notes taught to us by the apostle Paul-words of kindness, patience, humility and forgiveness. Yours is a song "that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Each and every time you sing this song with your lives something miraculous and divine will occur. You will show to the world the face of our God of love, you will reveal to the world the divine. What a gift that will be in a world often shrouded in darkness, hatred and division. And so my wish for you, my hope for you, my challenge for you is

Sing to the Lord a new song....

(At this point in the homily, Father Chet Artysiewitz began singing "Sing a New Song Unto the Lord" and eventually asked the three men, and then the congregation, to join in.)

Father Dan Dorsey
28 May 2011