By clothing-bag, 09/04/2023

Speak in tongues

Since we recently celebrated Pentecost, I thought it appropriate to translate the following text from Saint Gregory of Agrigento, a Sicilian bishop of the VIIth century.

It is part of his Commentary on Ecclesiastes and answers a very interesting question: if we have received the Holy Spirit, why don't we speak in tongues like the apostles? At Pentecost, the Apostles preached to a crowd of foreigners from different countries and everyone understood them. In the letters of Saint Paul, it is shown how, in the first communities, the Lord was praised in tongues.

Currently, however, only in charismatic communities and in the lives of some saints can one find these two modalities of the Holy Spirit's gift of tongues. And the other Christians? Have we not truly received the Holy Spirit? St. Gregory asked him and he gave an answer of faith, while bringing to light some of the immense riches of Scripture that will help us to enjoy and understand it much better.

I have taken the text from the wonderful English blog Canterbury Tales.………………………………………………

The disciples spoke in the languages ​​of all nations. At Pentecost, God chose this way to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: those who had received the Spirit spoke in all kinds of tongues. We must keep in mind, dear brothers, that it is the same Holy Spirit through which love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that brought the Church of God together throughout the world. And, like those men who received the Holy Spirit, she speaks in the languages ​​of all peoples.

Therefore, if someone says to us: "You have received the Holy Spirit, why don't you speak in tongues?", our response should be: "Yes, I do speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the Body of Christ, which is the Church, and she speaks in all languages”. What did the presence of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost indicate, except that the Church of God was going to speak in the languages ​​of all peoples?

Hablar en lenguas

Thus the promise of the Lord was fulfilled: No one puts new wine in old wineskins. The new wine is put into new wineskins and thus both are preserved. Thus, when they heard the disciples speak in all kinds of tongues, those who said: They have drunk too much wine were not far wrong. The truth is that the disciples had become new wineskins, renewed and sanctified by grace. The new wine of the Holy Spirit filled them, so that their fervor overflowed and they spoke in many tongues. Through this spectacular miracle, they became a sign of the Catholic Church, which embraces the languages ​​of all nations.

Celebrate this feast, then, as members of the one Body of Christ. It will not be an empty holiday for you if you really become what you are celebrating. Because you are members of the Church that the Lord recognizes as his own, at the same time that he is recognized by her, the same Church that he fills with the Holy Spirit as it spreads throughout the world. It's like a boyfriend who never loses sight of his girlfriend. No one could fool him by substituting another woman for her.

To you, men of all nations who form the Church of Christ, to you, members of Christ, to you, Body of Christ and bride of Christ, the Apostle speaks to you with these words: Bear with one another with love; do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Notice that when Paul encourages us to put up with one another, he bases his argument on love, and when he speaks of our hope for unity, he stresses the bond of peace. This Church is the house of God. It is your delight to live here. Take care, then, that I never suffer to see it attacked by schism and falling into ruins.