Saint Anthony writes, “The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speak in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than word; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words, but empty of actions, and therefore cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: ‘A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches.’ It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.”
Here is a little story from the life of Saint Anthony as found in the book, ‘The Little Flowers of St Francis’, “St Anthony was preaching one day…before the Pope and Cardinals in a consistory where there were men from different countries…Greeks and Latins, French and Germans, Slavs and English…and men of many other different languages and idioms. 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 every one 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 language. And in amazement 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.”
Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts so that we can proclaim, ‘Jesus is Lord’ both by our actions and our speech. Paul VI said that the world listens to witnesses more than preachers, and if the world listens to the preacher it is because he is first a witnesses. It is easy to preach. It is hard to practice. Do we practice what we preach?