Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Friday, September 03, 2004

Glossalalia: Your Word for the Day 

Sanctificarnos posts the following:

In particular, I remember "camp-style" meetings where people were expected to speak in tongues to "prove" that they were "filled with the spirit." There was an incredible amount of pressure in these meetings, which were often announced ahead of time as being meeting where one would become filled by the spirit. Often, the result was that people, myself included as a very young child, did speak in tongues. But what caused this to happen? Was it a form of mass hypnosis, where the atmosphere was conducive to creating a desired effect? Are children more vulverable to this (I must have been in 5th grade?)? Is it harmful?

This post isnĀ“t related to the theology of "speaking in tongues," rather it - and the other - was related to how do we discern the "spirit" behind such manifestions? And perhaps as a side note, can "mass hypnosis" also be a positive thing? Or can it be explained away by claiming that "one has to be in the know," to understand such things.

I remember reading an interview with a priest who, asked by a skeptic about glossalia (i.e., the gift of tongues of Acts 2:4), replied 'Oh, I think speaking in tongues is great!' The interviewer reacted with some surprise, and asked him why he thought so. The priest replied with something along the lines of the following: 'Oh, you know, when you're just so enraptured with the joy of being in love with God, and that natural enthusiasm just sort of 'bubbles over' into unintelligible jibberish, I just think it's wonderful!'

Now, I don't know too much about speaking in tongues, but I know that's not it. If there is a gift of tongues, it is not a natural 'bubbling over' of religious enthusiasm. It is a supernatural gift. I know, I know, 'grace builds on nature' and all that - my Church history teacher told me that St. Theresa of Avila's flights of ecstasy were actually epileptic fits, and this was no big deal, because 'grace builds on nature' - but I find it hard to imagine either spontaneous jibberish or epileptic fits being described as 'gifts of the Spirit.' Similarly, putting psychological pressure on someone to respond in a certain way, then creating a hyper-suggestive, emotionalistic environment, is not the way to get a gift of the Spirit. Whatever might be produced by this sort of environment may be a 'good' or a 'bad' thing - and who knows, there's nothing to stop the Spirit from choosing such an environment in which to bestow Himself, no matter how incondusive it may be - chances that a genuine supernatural gift is being received seem dim. Probably not harmful, though, except for the possibility that the emotional 'let-down' which inevitably follows such a psychological peak experience is bound to create disillusionment, which may, in turn, be destructive to the spiritual life.

# posted by Jamie : 1:36 PM


Under the Patronage of
St. Augustine of Hippo

Contact me:

Ad Limina Apostolorum: An ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchres of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome, i.e., to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles and to the Basilica of St. Paul "outside the walls".

"Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic"
(illuminated manuscript,
13th century)

"Jamie . . .
I could kill you in three seconds.
-Bishop Sheridan

Books Recently Read or Currently Reading

John Milbank's Theology & Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (next in stack)

Colson Whitehead's Zone One (reading)

Michael Wyschogrod's Body of Faith: God and the People Israel (reading)

J. B. Schneewind's Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (reading)

Paul Hacker's Ego in Faith: Martin Luther and the Origins of Anthopocentric Religion (finished: 3 stars)

Edward Peter's Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering this Often-Ministerpreted Teaching (finished: 1 star)

Blogs I Read

Blogroll Me!


Missale Romanum
Parallel Text of Latin Mass
Order of the Mass
Today's Mass Readings
Collect of the Day
Mass Times
Liturgical Calendar
Liturgical Year
Catholic Calendar Page
Liturgy of the Hours (Universalis)
Liturgy of the Hours (Apostolate)
Parallel Latin/English Psalter
Psalms in Metre
Pope's Commentary on Psalter
Gregorian Chant
More Gregorian Chant
Schola Cantorum Bogotensis
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music
Monks of Adoration
Catholic Liturgical Library
Treasury of Latin Prayers
Thesaurus Precum Latinarum
Litany Collection
Novena Prayers
Real Presence Association
Liturgy Q&A (Zenit)


Bible Gateway
Unbound Bible
New Testament Gateway
NT Gateway (Greek)
Latin Vulgate
More Vulgate Resources
Nova Vulgata


Patron Saints Index
Doctors of the Church
St. Thomas More (Litany)
Saint Bonaventure
St. Josemaria Escriva
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Saint Padre Pio
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Queen Isabella of Spain
John Henry Newman


Catholic Answers
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (Dave Armstrong)
Cor ad cor loquitur (Blog)
Nazareth Resource Library (Akin)
Surprised by Truth (Madrid)
Catholic Outlook (Hoge)
Scripture Catholic (Salza)
Defenders of the Faith (Ray)
Envoy Encore (Blog)
Peter Kreeft
Mark Shea
Catholic Apologetics Bible Concordance


Holy See
Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club Catholic Hierarchy
Bishops of the United States
Diocese of Arlington


Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ecumenical Councils and Decrees
Papal Encyclicals
Church Documents (New Advent)
Code of Canon Law
Academic Theology Links (Georgetown)
Modern Theologians (Wabash Center)


03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012

Buy my Wife's Cabbage Patch Kids!

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

St. Blog's Parish Hall

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

This site is certified 61% GOOD by the Gematriculator

This page designed by Christopher Blosser
© 2003-2004 Jamie