May 11, 2008

Why do you not speak in tongues?

More than one thousand, four hundred years ago, St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, said:

The Church, united by the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people.
Therefore if somebody should say to one of us.
“You have received the Holy Spirit,
why do you not speak in tongues?”
his reply should be,
I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men,
because I belong to the body of Christ, that is, the Church,
and she speaks all languages.
What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost,
except that God’s Church was to speak in the language of every people.
” [Cf. “Sermo 8 in Pentecoste” 1-3: PL 65, 743-744]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to ask Father, what do you think of the carismatic Catholics?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

If a Catholic participating in the "charismatic movement" (or any kind of movement) is properly catechized in the teachings of the Church, is obedient to those teachings, I don't have negative criticisms to offer.

I have met "odd" individuals who participated in "charismatic movement" experiences. However, I have also met individuals who are quite devout, even saintly.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Doogie said...

Speaking as somebody who was a charismatic Protestant but became a Catholic, charismatic spirituality is not incompatible with Catholic belief.

What must not be permitted is the sense that many charismatics get that they are hearing the voice of God loud and clear and that everybody should listen. Such "prophetic" words are not necessarily invalid, but they must be taken with a great deal of salt.

I'm reminded of a fellow I knew in my youth who was being prayed over by a host of charismatics, and they said they wouldn't stop until he started speaking in tongues. After several minutes of this and nothing happening on his part, he wanted to get them off his back. Being of Ukranian heritage, he recited the Our Father in Ukranian as it was taught to him in his childhood.

The ones praying over him rejoiced that their mission had been accomplished.

Too often the charismatic influence is one of peer pressure, which can lead to inauthentic outbursts of self-inspiration.

But my experiences with these charisms inside the Catholic Church has always been tempered with obedience to magesterial authority. Catholics really do do everything better.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

I once had great admiration for a fundamentalist televangelist until I went to one of his revivals. I offended quite a few folks within earshot when, after an unbelievable comment he made regarding the relationship between reading scripture and illness, I said to the wifey "This is absolute cr@p!" of his directions to all of us in attendance was to go home that evening and pray and read scripture until we were given the "gift of tongues". No sleeping, no eating until we got the gift.

What cr@p.

I wonder how long it would have taken to receive the "gift of tongues" if I had spent the whole evening meditating and praying upon 1 Cor 12:4-11?

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Father, I have to admit that whenever I am in the presence of anyone speaking in tongues I am creeped out.
I've always read the Gospel passage to mean that when the Apostles spoke, those listening heard them in their own native language. Most tongue-speak I've heard has been babble and baby talk.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I was a guest at a special ceremony in a protestant church where a man...I guess he was sort of a deacon, because I know he wasn't the pastor... rambled on and between allelujas exhorted the congregation to listen for the call to speak in tongues.
I had to bite mine in order to not break out in liturgical Latin, just so we could get on with the program. Pater Noster, qui est en coelis...

10:56 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

As you know Fr. but as some of your readers may not know I am a former Pentecostal minister of many years and was pleased to be welcomed home to the Roman Catholic Church in January of '05. I sometimes, rarely, speak in tongues, privately during prayer. In fact the first time I spoke thus after many years of silence was while announcing the third mystery of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary; The Decent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

I do not consider myself a "charismatic" Catholic but an orthodox Catholic who now sometimes speaks in tongues during private devotion. I am more at home now with this gift of the Spirit than during all my years as a Pentecostal minister but then I no longer required to attend charismatic styled services and side shows.

Interestingly, I serve as a Lector and as the schedule would have it, happened to be the reader for this Pentecost Sunday. Oh the homilies I could have given ;-)


10:22 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I have observed mothers humming to their babies, or singing "La, la, la," to their babies, no intelligible words, just "La, la, la..." and the like. I can accept that speaking in "tongues" for some persons might be something like that, a wordless way of "sounding out" ones disposition before God.

Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that what took place among the apostles on the first Pentecost involved intelligible, known languages.

2:09 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

"Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that what took place among the apostles on the first Pentecost involved intelligible, known languages."

No argument there. That was what was truly miraculous. And, I believe, it was the same kind of miracle that happened in some of the early church meetings (not the Mass) that Saint Paul writes about to the Corinthians where tongues followed by interpretation resulted in conversion; people heard the gospel in their own language, spoken by people they knew could not know.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

I think that, as a whole, the charismatic movement of the Catholic Church needs to read "The ascent of Mount Carmel" by St. John of the Cross.

5:41 PM  

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