How I Can Speak All Languages?

Lenten Reflections 2016

What do you think, brothers and sisters: because someone who is baptized today and believes in Christ but doesn’t speak in the languages of all nations, are we to think that he did not receive the Holy Spirit? We shouldn’t even be tempted by such a falsehood! We’re sure that everyone has received the Spirit, but one is filled in proportion to the size of the vessel of faith that one brings to the fountain. “But if the Spirit is also received today,” someone may ask, “why isn’t anyone speaking in all the languages of nations?” But the Church herself speaks in all those languages. The Church existed before in a single nation, when it spoke in the languages of all nations. Her speaking all languages was a sign of the future when she would grow and speak in them all. Anyone who is not in this Church does not receive the Holy Spirit. Cut off, divided, from the unity of members which does speak all languages, he should admit it himself: he does not have the Spirit. If he has it, let him show the sign that the Spirit was given to him. What does this mean? Let him speak in all languages. He replies to me, “What, do you speak all languages?” Yes, I do, because every language is mine, that is, it belongs to his Body of whom I am a member. Spread throughout the nations, the Church speaks all languages. The Church is the Body of Christ, and in this Body you are a member. If you are a member of his Body, which speaks all languages, believe that you too speak all languages. The unity of the members is united by charity, and that unity speaks as a single person once spoke. (In Ioannem Tr. 32, 7; PL 35, 1645)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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