20 December 2007


St. Cyril of Jerusalem says that the sign of Christ’s resurrection is the descent of the Holy Spirit:
In the words of the Prophet that follow in the same context, He says plainly, For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language (Zeph. 3:9): since, after the Resurrection, when the Holy Ghost was sent forth the gift of tongues was granted, that they may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord. (Catechetical Lecture 14:7)

“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Cor. 14:22) Those who do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead will be convinced because He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit as a witness.

The “tongues of angels”, the heavenly language, is given as a sign to those who surrender to the Holy Spirit. It is a reversal of Babel according to many Church Fathers. Where God once brought confusion and discord, He now brings unity (Eph. 4:4).

Salvation is confirmed with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will (Heb. 2:4). The Holy Spirit is a sign that Christ abides in us (1 John 3:24).

When we don’t know what to pray the Spirit can call on the name of the Lord (1 Cor 14:14). “For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) Speaking in tongues is speaking to God (1 Cor. 14:2). Through the Spirit we cry “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6) and we have access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).

Again, hear what St. Cyril says about the Holy Spirit:

A mighty ally and protector, therefore, have we from God; a great Teacher of the Church, a mighty Champion on our behalf. Let us not be afraid of the demons, nor of the devil; for mightier is He who fighteth for us. Only let us open to Him our doors; for He goeth about seeking such as are worthy (Wisdom 6:16) and searching on whom He may confer His gifts. And He is called the Comforter, because He comforts and encourages us, and helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26.), that is, makes intercession to God. (Catechetical Lecture 16:19-20)

“And may the God of peace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, count all of you worthy of His spiritual and heavenly gifts—To whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.” (C.L. 16:32)

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