Speaking in Tongues -A supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit

The Gift of Tongues -Speaking in ones native language while being understood by those of various languages.

Concerning the gift of speaking in Tongues, in the Acts of the Apostles we read:
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and E'lamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" (Acts 2: 1-14)

And so the gift of Tongues we will refer to in this article is not the Charismatic gift of Tongues that is practised by some today, but the Apostolic gift of Tongues as related in the Scriptures, whereby a person speaks in their own native language, but is heard and understood by those of various languages.

St Anthony and the Gift of Tongues
The book “The Little Flowers of St Francis” was written by Brother Ugolino about 100 years after the life of St Francis of Assisi and St Anthony of Padua, the details of which are based on original documents of the Franciscan Order. In Chapter 39 of this book we read:

"St Anthony of Padua, one of the chosen disciples and companions of St Francis, whom the latter called his Vicar, was preaching one day before the Pope and the Cardinals in Consistory, there were therefore present at that moment men of different countries- Greeks and Latins, French and Germans, Slavs and English and men of many other different languages and dialects.

"And being inflamed by the Holy Spirit and inspired with apostolic eloquence, he preached and explained the word of God so effectively, devoutly, subtly, clearly and understandably that all who were assembled at that Consistory, although they spoke different languages, clearly and distinctly heard and understood everyone of his words as if he had spoken in each of their languages. Therefore they were all astounded and filled with devotion, for it seemed to them that the former miracle of the Apostles at the time of Pentecost had been renewed, when by the power of the Holy Spirit they spoke in different languages.

"And in amazement, just like in the Acts of the Apostles they said to one another: "Is he not a Spaniard?' How then are we all hearing him in the language of the country where we were born-we Greeks and Latins, French and Germans, Slavs and English, Lombards and foreigners?"

It was not only at this consistory that St. Anthony's gift of tongues was utilized. It is written that while preaching in Italy he spoke in perfect Italian, and while in France he preached in French, although he had never studied these languages. Also remarkable is the fact that "the simple-minded and the most ignorant listeners were capable of fully comprehending all he said; and his voice, though gentle and sweet, was distinctly heard at a very extraordinary distance from the speaker."

The gift of Tongues in the preaching of St Paul of the Cross
The grace of being heard at great distances was also documented on at least three occasions in the life of St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the holy founder of the Passionist Order. Because of his extraordinary reputation for holiness, people would come from great distances to hear the man of God preach his missions, and to witness the remarkable miracles and cures that often accompanied his preaching. Therfore the crowds that gathered during his missions were often immense. On at least three documented occasions, his voice could be heard by all those present, even amdst the usual noises of such a great crowd, extending even those who were literally several miles away. This extraordinary grace took place in the three locations of La Tolfa, at Civitacastellana, and on the Isle of Elba, where he was heard a full five miles away.

Also, as stated above with the Apostles and also St Anthony, it was also documented on several occasions that his Italian language was understood by members of different foreign nationalities and languages who had come to listen to him.
[For those interested, the webmaster has a website devoted to the extraordinary life of St Paul of the Cross here.]

The gift of speaking in Tongues in the life of St Dominic
And then there is also another holy Founder, St. Dominic (1170-1221), the founder of the Dominican Order and the great promoter of the Holy Rosary, who was given the gift of tongues when he was one day on a journey to Paris with his companion, Bertrand of Garrega, and a number of other friends and disciples.

While on the road they visited the sanctuary of Rocamadour, where they spent the night praying before a miraculous image of Our Lady. The next day, as they journeyed along, they sang litanies and recited psalms and the divine office, which attracted the attention of two German pilgrims, who began to follow them. When they came to the next village the two German pilgrims, being greatly attracted by the devotion of the little band, made motions to them indicating that they should sit down and dine with them. It was somewhat of an awkward situation since the Germans could not understand the Dominicans, nor could the Dominicans understand the Germans. This continued for four days, with the Germans sharing their food with the Dominicans.

On the fifth day St. Dominic addressed Bertrand in this manner:
"Brother Bertrand, it grieves me to reap the temporal things of these pilgrims without sowing for them spiritual things: let us kneel down and ask God to grant us the understanding of their language, that we may speak to them of Christ." Accordingly, they knelt down and prayed. When they rose up, they were able to converse with the Germans in their own language and did so without difficulty for the rest of the journey.

As they drew near Paris, the Germans, now filled with spiritual consolations, departed from them. The earthly food which the Germans had provided had been exchanged by Dominic for spiritual food which nourished their spirits and was beneficial to their eternal salvation. St. Dominic, for his part, charged Bertrand to keep silent about the matter and to keep it secret until his death, "lest the people should take us for Saints who are but sinners.'"

-See also the German Mystic and Stigmatic Therese Neumann and the supernatural gift of speaking and understanding ancient Biblical languages.


onukogu judemary said...

YO̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅h God as U̶̲̥̅̊ granted st dominic n st anthony d gift of tongues, grant mε̲̣̣̣̥ also diz same gift so dat I may witness Fø̲̣̣я̅ U̶̲̥̅̊ among d many natives I̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ my country whom I can not preach due to language barrier. I ask diz thru d intercession of st dominic n st anthony n d blessed vigin mary my queen thru Jesus Christ Our Lor
d Amen. O̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅o̶̲̥̅h my guardian angel present my prayers to diz persons I v invoked

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this article. I found it very interesting that there is a distinction between the charismatic gift of tongues and the apostolic gift of tongues. Can you point me to a resource to where I can learn more about this distinction?

Anonymous said...

+JMJ Dear Unknown: The Apostolic Gift of Tongues is the True one Gift of Tongues, given by God, for the benefit of souls, for their salvation. Sts. Maximilian Kolbe and Padre Pio had this Gift, among many others. The "Charismatic Movement" as it is known today is NOT Catholic in origin, but protestant, brought to Dusquesne University in Pittsburgh in the late 1960s, and "promoted" as Catholic. Hysterical laughter, people falling, and gibberish are not fruitful gifts that lead souls to Christ. Faith is not feelings, and Love of Christ is not feelings only, although sentiments are a product of Faith and Love. Rather, they are Gifts from God and firm resolute decisions we must make to do daily to live the Will of God so that we might love Him better,know Him better, follow Him better, and serve Him better, so that, hopefully, one day, through His Grace, we might merit heaven. Everything - the 10 Commandments, the Church, it's Dogma, Doctrine, encyclicals, sacraments, Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy, edifices, organizations, works, orders, dicasteries,and especially clergy, must all lead to God, to Christ, to the Blessed Trinity. When something or someone violates that, as the current "charismatic movement" because it is self-focused ("me, me, me"), it fails in that mission to know, love and serve Christ and should be rejected.God bless you, Precious Soul of God!

Unknown said...

Can you provide a source for the story about St. Dominic? I need it for a paper.

Admin said...

You are biased in your explanation. The Pentecost is not the only place that speaking in tongues happed. It also happened in the house of Cornelius, in Samaria where Philip preached and in Ephesus.

What are you talking about? There is nothing like Apostolic or charismatic tongues. 1Cor.14:18 Paul who is also an Apostle spoke in tongues. So what are you talking about dude?

Unknown said...

Practice hospitality for by doing so some have entertained angels

Anonymous said...

Hi! Cool article. Acts 2 is not the only reference to tongues in the Bible; Corinthians also talks about incorporating tongues and interpretations (the implication being that it's a regular event) into worship services. So I also think the gift of tongues as practiced in the Charismatic movement is legitimate.

Pheebster said...

Amen. Though not understood and often times frowned upon the Charismatic movement is not non-Catholic. See 1 Cor. 14, "For those who speak in a tonguedo not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit."

Anonymous said...

Hard to accept reality and facts like literal gift of tongue.....this is whst happens when you belong to a church that teach partial truth.....i am not judging and or blaming we are all Gods children and he loves us equally. It doesnt mean that Jesus is not here in person that all his miracles ended and his gifts to us. I am a catholic and i have witnessed priest that can heal...exorcist....the posessed case. I met also someone that can read your hearts....and a very holy priest also told me once that another priest can speak multiple language including language he did not know at all. My point is Catholic is the church founded by JESUS and up to date when you are catholic the bible becomes real...including the host turning into body blood soul and divinity of our Lord. But for our brothers and sisters in christ that belong yo other denomination they are not aware coz they have been taught differently. Please do a research.....saints and miracles are real and the gift of God is contineous. My two minor children and I also saw A saint appeared behind us....while praying thr rosary. Dont expect you to believe you might laugh think im crazy but i cant blame you.....you have not experience it but i can tell you it was real. The best thing please once in your life read a saints life....ask God which saints he will give you a sign...usually this saint that God will want you yo read is close to your personality and you will learn more about the mysteries of our faith and the invedible world.

Anonymous said...

All this miracles are given to the apostles .....heal the sick....cast out demons...receive without pay give without pay... thats including the gift of knowledge to speak different languages and the gift of reading your heart... even raising the dead.....yes i know one priest who did. He was holy priest but it was all through Gods will.

Ben A said...


Ben A said...

Absolutely. This is what the scriptures say. Why Catholics ignore it?