I would like to reflect on the gifts of tongues. But before I give a biblical basis for tongues, I would first like to recount my own experience of praying in tongues. After I was baptized in the Holy Spirit my life was turned upside down. An example was one of my first masses at St Ann Parish my home parish.
Some people had gone to my mom and asked her if I would like guitars for the music at mass. My mom’s initial reaction was, “No my son can’t stand guitars at Mass.” I said to my mom, “Mom, I Love guitars!” I use this as an example of how my whole way of thinking had changed 180 degrees when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is like I became a New Person.
When I was at my first parish I was looking for someone who had a similar experience as me. I had never met a Catholic who could relate to my experience. I needed to figure out what happened to me. I started going to visit Protestant churches. I was on fire to bring Jesus and the truth of the Catholic faith to other Christian churches.
One church that I went to was an Assembly of God Church, the Word of Life in Annandale, VA. I would often attend their prayer meeting. I met people who could relate to my experience of God. At this church I got to know Pastor Wendel. Pastor Wendel was praying over people. I asked Jesus do you want him to pray over me.
Again, I opened the Bible at random and the verse I got was John saying to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him.” Jesus said, “Do not stop him. No one can work a miracle in my name and at the same time be against me.” Luke 9:49
I knew that they had worked miracles in the name of Jesus. Here I am a Catholic priest; I get on my knees, and he prays over me. Again, I felt this rush of the Holy Spirit from my head to my toes.
About 10:30 that night, I was driving back home to my parish St Michael’s. I opened my mouth and I started to pray in tongues. I was so surprised to hear myself praising the Lord in tongues. I remember sitting back and saying, “Wow I am praying in Tongues!”
It was significant that I received the gift of tongues from a Protestant minister. It showed me that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit truly is an ecumenical spirit and that the Holy Spirit blows where He wills.
Fr Stefan Come Holy Spirit