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Followup: Charismatic Gifts at Mass (1 Corinthians 12) John Monday, January 23, 2012


Hi, Mr Slavek -

Further to my last post concerning charismatic gifts at Mass. In 1 Corinthians 12, what is the context (liturgical or otherwise) in which St Paul envisages these charismatic gifts (vv.8-11) being used? Further in chapter 14 St Paul refers to these gifts occurring "when you come together" (vv. 28-33) and this would suggest the context is a liturgical one - but following the Canon of the Mass. Note usually in Mass there is a time for "anouncements" between the Canon and the final blessing - and this doesn't interrupt or interfere with the eucharistic liturgy (it's over by now). In charismatic Masses I've attended (the most beautiful and reverent) time for the Lord to speak through the charismatic gifts of prophecy/tongues and interpretation/words of knowledge etc. have taken place here (not during the main body of the Mass) and this has had episcopal approval. Secondly, these gifts have been exercised in an orderly fashion. Thirdly, and most importantly, the prophetic revelation gifts have been carefully discerned before being shared publicly to the congregation.

Is this the scenario referred to by St Paul in 1 Corinthians - where he emphatically states that these gifts are to be manifested in an orderly way during - or immediately following - the liturgical celebration while everyone is still assembled?

Note that at the beginning of chapter 12, St Paul emphasises the importance of these gifts (v. 1) and in 1 Thess.5:19-20 again he says that these gifts (prophetic utterances) are not to be despised, but tested and discerned. This seems to indicate that - unless we err on the side of the cessationists/dispensationalists - these gifts are indeed still with us today. The Catechism says these gifts are to be welcomed but discerned (paragraphs 800-801). Historically - where - and how - were these charismatic gifts manifested?

Thanking you for your insight into the above.

God bless you -

Question Answered by Mr. Jacob Slavek

Dear John,
I know that many bishops and popes have recently showed great support for the Charismatic Renewal and to being open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but I don't think liturgically speaking there is a mention of a time and place for speaking in tongues during the actual Liturgy.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  Now there IS time allowed during the Mass for brief announcements of course, but remember this is more for a practical reason.  If there is a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit being made manifest,  it shouldn't crammed into a specific 2-minutes time slot just because it is convenient to have it then.  One thing that disappoints me about Catholics today is that it seems that the only time we gather is for Sunday Mass, and then leave as soon as possible.  I'm not a historian, but it seems to me that in the early church Christians gathered much more frequently and for reasons other than the Lord's supper.  Remember that most people were illiterate so a great deal of time must have been spent gathered in groups teaching and "speaking".  I see no reason why we can't get back into that habit today and gather with our fellow Christians weekly for prayer and discernment, and if so called, speaking in tongues.
Regarding the history of speaking in tongues the Catholic Encyclopedia has articles about charismata and glossolalia.  I also checked out the Wiki on it and many of the early church fathers, as expected, commented or wrote about it.  Nothing I saw though gave a specific time on WHEN it happened (such as, after the canon)
Sorry that's the best I can do, but I still welcome any follow-up discussion since I'm learning as well :-)
Mr. Slavek

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